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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Insurance Commissioner John Doak today announced plans to revamp and streamline how insurance fraud is investigated and prosecuted in Oklahoma.
"Fraud of any kind is a very serious matter in Oklahoma. We are very pleased these discussions embody an increased level of cooperation and shared responsibility between our two offices to investigate fraud," Pruitt said.
"Our two offices are statutorily bound together when it comes to investigating fraud," Doak said. "By working together, we can improve the investigation and prosecution of those who perpetrate fraud and better protect insurance ratepayers."
Pruitt and Doak’s offices have begun analyzing how best to coordinate resources and refine the process by which both offices initiate, prepare and complete claimant fraud investigations for prosecution.
The Insurance Department intends to focus on higher-level fraud and other insurance crimes committed by agents and company executives that costs Oklahoma’s ratepayers millions of dollars annually. The Attorney General’s Office will expand prosecutions and investigations of claimant fraud.
"I want to make Oklahoma a dangerous place to be an insurance criminal," Doak said. "If you are an agent or a company executive who is violating the trust of Oklahoma’s insurance consumers and the laws of this state, you can expect to be investigated and prosecuted by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and the Attorney General’s Office."
As the cornerstone in building his anti-fraud crime team, the Attorney General has hired former prosecutor Vincent Antonioli to head the Workers’ Compensation and Insurance Fraud Unit, and plans to hire additional investigators and prosecutors to begin vigorously pursuing and prosecuting claimant fraud in workers’ compensation and insurance at large.
Michael Copeland has joined the Oklahoma Insurance Department as a fraud attorney. Copeland will develop and direct investigative procedures that deliver on Doak’s promise to better protect Oklahoma consumers from insurance fraud. Copeland previously served as an assistant attorney general and later as special prosecutor for the Republic of Palau, a former United States Protectorate.
"Mr. Copeland is an intelligent lawyer with a lot of backbone, and he isn’t afraid to go up against high-profile offenders. He has the knowledge, experience and resolve to win," Doak said.
"We are confident our plan will result in increased prosecutions of high-level fraud committed by a few bad actors in the industry and reduce everyday fraudulent claims that are driving up the cost of insurance and doing business in our state," Pruitt said.
Contact: Diane Clay
(405) 250-8792 cell