The South Carolina Department of Insurance is reminding people that it has taken over responsibility for investigating and prosecuting suspected cases of insurance fraud in the state.
Until July, the cases were handled by the state attorney general’s office. But the SCDOI created its own fraud bureau this year and will work closely with the attorney general and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Insurance Department Director Ray Farmer said in a bulletin. Citizens and stakeholders should report suspected fraud to the DOI now.
“Insurance fraud is a big problem for South Carolinians and the problem is only getting bigger,” said Joshua Underwood, who heads the new bureau. “Our state currently ranks 8th in the nation for staged car accidents, which ultimately drives up the cost of insurance for law-abiding citizens, not to mention these fake accidents tie up valuable first responder resources as well.”
The fraud bureau prosecuted its first criminal case in October, resulting in a conviction. Nia Polidore, along with several co-defendants in Orangeburg County, conspired to stage an accident with injuries. As a result, USAA Insurance paid the co-defendants more than $43,000 and Polidore received about $5,000, the DOI reported.
Polidore pleaded guilty to presenting false claims and was sentenced under the state’s Youthful Offender Act to no more than six years, suspended upon the service of three years’ probation, and was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution.
The department also announced that license renewals for pharmacy benefit managers must be done by Feb. 15. A renewal application window will be included on the DOI website starting Dec. 1. PBMs issued an initial license within 90 days of the renewal deadline are not required to renew until next year, the agency said.
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