The number of defendants sentenced to jail for insurance fraud in New Jersey nearly tripled and the amount of restitution they were ordered to repay doubled in 2004, according to an annual report from the state insurance fraud prosecutor’s office. The office, created in 1998 to deal solely with fraud schemes that drive up the cost of auto and other insurance policies, also had a 100 percent conviction rate during a year when it prosecuted an increasing number of highly complicated scams, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.
The report bolsters the state’s reputation for fighting insurance fraud. Last year, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, an independent Washington D.C.-based insurance fraud monitor, reported that New Jersey logged nearly nine of every 10 civil actions reported nationwide and opened more investigations annually than any other insurance fraud unit. It also spent more money per capita on fighting fraud than any other state. In 2004 the state investigated more than 1,000 cases related to schemes targeting companies dealing with auto, health and life, Medicaid and property insurance, according to the report.