Virginia Fraud Investigators Group Honors Three Individuals

June 4, 2010

The Virginia Association of Special Investigation Units (VA IASIU) has recognized three individuals for their contributions to combating insurance fraud in the state.

Lee Rothgeb of Allstate Insurance Co. has been named Investigator of the Year for his efforts in bringing an end to a “jump-in” injury fraud ring operating out of northern Virginia.

Rothgeb worked a suspicious case for Allstate Insurance, which eventually denied the claims associated with the three “jump-in” suspects because of inconsistencies in interviews with the people involved. He also made a referral to the Insurance Fraud Program with the Virginia State Police and to National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Due to Rothgeb’s involvement with the FBI on a Medical Fraud Task Force, the FBI took an interest in the case and conducted a criminal investigation. Following interviews with the adult claimants, Rothgeb was able to provide the FBI with information related to their identities, which led to the discovery that all entered the United States illegally. The FBI, Virginia State Police, Immigration Customs Enforcement and Alexandria Police Department were able to locate and arrest the three suspects. Federal charges were filed, which included Fraud against Insurance Providers, Mail Fraud Attempt and Conspiracy Fraud.

Rothgeb continued to work with the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, and was instrumental in assisting them in building their case. As a result of Rothgeb’s efforts in assisting the FBI with this case, the three defendants entered into a plea bargain in exchange for signing deportation agreements. Once the perpetrators complete their sentences, all parties will be deported.

The VA IASIU also recognized the longtime service and contributions of Virginia State Police Lieutenant W Roger Rector Jr., who was honored with a Lifetime Membership in the group. He started with the Insurance Fraud Program shortly after it was established by the Virginia State Police over 10 years ago. Rector has been with the VSP almost 40 years, beginning his career as a trooper and working in areas of arson and bomb, narcotics, white collar crime and conspiracy investigations.

The VA IASIU also awarded the Robert J. Covington Distinguished Service Award to Wade Wickre, Special Investigation Unit (SIU) director for Nationwide Insurance. The Covington Award recognizes an individual’s contributions to the insurance industry, their insurance company, the community and the VA IASIU.

Wickre has been a leader in anti-fraud training and networking his entire career. As one of the founding members of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Fraud Investigators in 1992, he helped lay the foundation for what would eventually become the Virginia Chapter of the IASIU. He has held leadership roles in the in the VA IASIU serving as treasurer, vice-president and president.

During this time, Wickre worked tirelessly to help pursue a potential fraud statute in Virginia. Although failing to pass, his efforts led to increased awareness of insurance fraud and to the development of the Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program.

Source: VA IASIU

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