Coalition Against Insurance Fraud Honors Prosecutor

July 8, 2008

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud awarded Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Albert H. MacKenzie its inaugural Prosecutor of the Year award, based on his courtroom strategy that prosecutes insurance swindlers using Al Capone-style tax fraud.

“This creative courtroom strategy is a silver bullet in many insurance fraud cases,” said Dennis Jay, executive director of the coalition. “Suspects often quickly plead guilty when confronted with airtight tax charges. This produces more convictions, and faster, than often-lengthy insurance investigations and trials.”

According to Jay, MacKenzie has helped to investigate and prosecute
crooked attorneys, physicians, chiropractors and clinic owners. He heads the Fraud Interdiction Program, which began in 2006 in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. It’s a partnership with California’s tax agency — the Franchise Tax Board — plus numerous insurers and law-enforcement agencies.

MacKenzie compares the income that suspects have reported to the tax agency against the claims money insurers have paid them. Usually suspects have received far more insurance money than they’ve declared on their tax returns, thus triggering tax-fraud charges. Many suspects don’t file tax returns at all.

MacKenzie’s program earned 15 convictions in fiscal year 2007 involving swindlers who made more than $20 million in bogus claims. His conviction rate was 100 percent. He also has opened investigations of, or has identified, more than 200 other suspects who’ve made at least $300 million in bogus claims in health, auto and workers compensation insurance.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is an alliance of insurers, consumer organizations and government agencies combating all forms of insurance fraud.

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