Motorcycle Thefts Increase Two Percent in 2016

Honda’s were the most stolen motorcycles in 2016.

DES PLAINES, Ill. – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a report on motorcycle thefts in the United States for 2016. A total of 46,467 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2016 compared with 45,555 reported stolen in 2015—an increase of two percent.

Although 2016 delivered another slight increase in motorcycle thefts, motorcycle thefts are down considerably since 2006. They have dropped from 66,774 in 2006 to 46,467 in 2016—a decline of 30 percent.

The top 10 states with the most reported motorcycles thefts in 2016 were California (7,506), Florida (4,482), Texas (3,692), South Carolina (2,057), North Carolina (1,847), New York (1,731), Indiana (1,397), Georgia (1,296), Missouri (1,195), and Nevada (1,177).

The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2016 were New York (1,209), San Diego (849), Las Vegas (818), Los Angeles (760) San Francisco (616), Miami (610), Houston (607), San Antonio (411), Phoenix (347), and Austin, Texas, (343).

The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2016 by manufacturer were American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (9,052 thefts), Yamaha Motor Corporation (7,723), American Suzuki Motor Corporation (6,229), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (5,221), Harley Davidson, Inc. (4,953), Taotao Group Co. Ltd (2,673), KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (762), Ducati Motor Holding (521), Genuine Cycle (463), and Kymco U.S.A., Inc. (453).

The most motorcycle thefts occurred in August (5,251) and the fewest in February (2,547) which continues to reflect a weather-influenced pattern that is consistent with previous years. Download the complete report here and an infographic here.

Fraud Files: Colorado Contractor Arrested for Scamming the Elderly

A Denver, Colorado contractor has been charged with several counts of felony theft after allegedly scamming elderly homeowners through his roofing and restoration business.

Jonathan McMillan, 41, is the owner of Lifetime Roofing and Restoration. According to Jefferson County court documents, McMillan hired sales people to go door-to-door soliciting roofing business from homeowners with houses damaged primarily by hailstorms. Those employees were instructed by McMillan to have the homeowners sign contracts and collect as much insurance claim payments as quickly as possible.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

NICB Celebrates Healthiest Company in America Award

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is proud to announce national recognition as one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health, a national leader known for its personalized wellness solutions. NICB is one of 156 companies across the country being recognized for helping employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health. This is the second year NICB has won the award.

With the help of strategic and flexible wellness initiatives, the Healthiest Companies in America recipients have accomplished tremendous success, achieving participation rates in excess of 70 percent and a low-risk health score for their total population, based on rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.

“This is the 10th year we’re honoring the Healthiest Companies in America and it continues to inspire us how successful the winning companies are in building and sustaining employee engagement and inspiring positive health outcomes,” said Interactive Health President and CEO Cathy Kenworthy. “It is possible to improve health through the right workplace initiatives, and it is smart business. In addition to this year’s 156 winners, there are dozens more that are extremely close to obtaining the designation, or have met the criteria in the past, set an even higher bar for their program, and will meet that bar again in the future. We looking forward to inviting more companies into the winner’s circle next year as our technology and service enhancements make it even more possible for organizations to improve employee health.”

Participants in Interactive Health’s wellness program receive a thorough health evaluation to identify risk and learn about their health status. Through a combination of rapid outreach, connection to personal physicians and tailored resources, a personalized course of action is delivered to the participant resulting in improved or maintained health, leading NICB to this achievement.

For more information on Healthiest Companies in America, visit http://interactivehealthinc.com/client-success/healthiest-companies/.

As Storm Season is Underway, NICB Urges Texas Lawmakers to Help Stop Scam Artists

The spring storm season is underway in the Southwest where Texas bears the brunt of the most hail storm damage during the active months of March through June.

Tornadoes, violent windstorms and hail pummeled the Dallas area in late March, setting off warnings to consumers about scam artists and calls for statewide legislation to combat the problem. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), working with a task force from the state Department of Insurance, the Texas Department of Public Safety, local government officials and police agencies quickly responded to the storms to warn victims of storm chasers invading the area.

Watch the video:

In Austin, state lawmakers are currently considering SB 10 and HB 1774 aimed at hail litigation reform and HB 3293, which would allow for a voluntary certification program for roofing companies issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. While those debates proceed, local officials, aware of the influx of out-of-state and unregistered contractors who showed up last year following severe storms in the area, have taken matters into their own hands for now. In cities like Rockwall, contractors began going door-to-door before the rain had ended soliciting business.

Heavily damaged areas in the city of Rockwall were cordoned off by police to keep potential scam artists from going door-to-door to solicit repair work.

One local homeowner in Rockwall said he was surprised to get knocks on the door from three different contractors in the middle of the night before the rain had stopped falling through his damaged roof. He took the advice of the police and rejected the unrequested solicitations. He worked instead with a reputable local contractor and his insurance company to make temporary repairs and begin the rebuilding process.

Within a few hours, police had cordoned off the heavily damaged areas and only allowed roofers and contractors to enter if they were invited and escorted by the homeowner.

The mayor of Rockwall, Jim Pruitt, says his community learned from the response to storms over a year ago in nearby Rowlett. He welcomed the support of the task force in spreading the word about potential scam artists before the storm, and the quick response to assist local police in the neighborhoods in the aftermath of the recent damage.

NICB and Texas Department of Insurance Fraud Investigators assisted local officials in warning residents of potential fraud scams.

The Rockwall County District Attorney, Kenda Culpepper, says statewide laws that would make it tougher on unscrupulous contractors would be beneficial to consumers. But in the meantime, anyone who criminally takes advantage of storm victims will face prosecution if they can be identified and located.

NICB suggests you consider these tips before hiring a contractor:

  • Get more than one estimate
  • Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed
  • Demand references and check them out
  • Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and their vehicle’s license plate number
  • Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later
  • Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code
  • Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier
  • Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them
  • Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language
  • Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company

Billboards Aim to Reduce Vehicle Theft Rate in Albuquerque Area

Billboard messages are popping up along Albuquerque freeways urging people to report vehicle thefts and suspects in an effort to put a dent in the local crime rate. According to the latest “Hot Spots” report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the Albuquerque metropolitan area had the second highest vehicle theft rate per capita in the nation in 2015.

Working with the New Mexico Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, NICB provided funding for the messages which will run through April on digital billboards at major locations along I-25 and I-40.

The organizations discussed collaborative efforts to help reduce the theft rate during a fraud summit held in Albuquerque last fall. The metro area was improving from the eighth spot nationally in 2008. Using bait cars provided by NICB and its member companies, law enforcement efforts moved the area down to the number 20 spot in 2012 and 2013. However, reduced funding for auto theft prevention and other issues resulted in an upswing, and 2015 saw the area rise to number two on the Hot Spots list.

The number to call for vehicle theft activity or to report suspected thieves is 505-827-9359. The line is staffed around the clock.

“We urge citizens to call us if they see something,” said Fraud Bureau Chief Roberta Baca. “The community’s assistance is essential in helping law enforcement stem the tide on this unacceptable crime rate.”

NICB Warns New Orleans Tornado Victims of Scams

As the New Orleans area recovers from the damage caused by a string of powerful tornadoes, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reminds consumers that in the weeks ahead, homeowners in disaster areas should be alert to the potential for fraud by unscrupulous contractors and home repair businesses.

After a disaster, contractors often go door-to-door in affected neighborhoods offering clean up and/or construction and repair services. Most are reputable, but many are not. One common scheme is to pocket a down-payment and then never show up for the job, or never complete a job that was started. Another scheme is to use inferior materials and perform shoddy work that is not up to code in order to increase profit.

NICB has personnel in the affected areas assisting our member insurance companies and a video of the area is available here.

“If you didn’t request it, reject it”

Almost all of these scams are unsolicited—they begin with a visit from a contractor who seeks to help victims rebuild. That is why NICB recommends that “if you didn’t request it, reject it.” Before hiring any contractor, call your insurance company. Your insurance company will honor its policy so there is no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits your repair work—especially when you did not request it. NICB suggests you consider these tips before hiring a contractor:

* Get more than one estimate.

* Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed.

* Demand references and check them out.

* Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and their vehicle’s license plate number.

* Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later.

* Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code.

* Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier.

* Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them.

* Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language.

* Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company.

Consumer Resources

* For a free brochure with tips to avoid post-disaster fraud, click here.

* For useful checklists, including how to spot flood and salvage vehicle scams and post-disaster contractor repair schemes, click here.

* For free consumer access to the vehicle salvage records of participating NICB member insurance companies who collectively provide 88 percent of the auto insurance in force today, access NICB’s VINCheck.

NICB Agents Receive Investigation of the Year Award

Courtesy: San Diego County DA

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) recently presented its 2016 Investigation of the Year Award to NICB Supervisory Special Agent Tom Downey and Special Agent Malisa Trimble of the West Region. The Agents received the award for their “Operation Backlash” investigation, which resulted in the indictment of eight defendants in November of 2015, 13 defendants in January of 2016, and federal indictments against three individuals and four corporations.

“Operation Backlash” was an extensive 4-year multi-agency undercover operation initiated to combat entrenched corruption in the California Workers’ Compensation System (CWCS) private insurance program. The loss to CWCS was in excess of a half-billion dollars. The sheer scale of this fraud makes it one of the largest insurance bribery schemes in workers’ compensation ever uncovered in San Diego County.

The case aggressively targeted a vast web of multiple conspiracies involving doctors, attorneys, and chiropractors working with patient call centers, ancillary service providers, and medical marketers. The targets all paid and received several million dollars in illegal kickbacks.
To date, a total of 22 individuals and 10 corporations have been indicted and plea agreements have been secured with 6 individuals and 3 corporations tallying over $2.1 million in forfeitures. As a result of these actions, 13 criminal organizations have been disrupted and 3 criminal organizations have been dismantled.

SSA Tom Downey and SA Malisa Trimble with their NHCAA Investigation of the Year Award

Fraud Files: Multi-Million Dollar Health Care Fraud

In this edition of Fraud Files we focus on a multi-million dollar scam in south Florida. Seven defendants including owners, doctors, a manager, and a laboratory representative of sober homes and alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers were charged for their participation in a health care fraud and money laundering scheme that involved the filing of fraudulent insurance claim forms and defrauded health care benefit programs.

Mississippi Legislature Tackles Cargo Theft

The Mississippi legislature is considering two bills that would create a specific offense for cargo theft. House Bill 722, introduced by Representative Steve Massengill (R-District 13), and Senate Bill 2184, introduced by Senator Dennis DeBar, Jr. (R-District 43), recognize the impact that cargo theft has across the entire socio-economic spectrum. The proposed legislation creates law specific to cargo theft from a railcar, commercial trailer, semitrailer, fifth wheel or container and includes substantial penalties upon conviction.

Cargo theft is a major national crime problem which adds to the cost of merchandise, food and transportation. Stolen food and pharmaceuticals pose a real health hazard and these commodities, along with electronics, continue to be the favorite target among cargo thieves.

Just consider the health implications for innocent consumers who, believing that they are getting safe and secure products, unknowingly buy stolen food or drugs which have been improperly stored or exposed to contaminants as they moved through the illicit commerce stream. Individuals who feed their greed through potentially deadly acts of cargo theft deserve the special attention that these two bills provide.

To help educate the public, NICB produced a public service announcement describing the impact of cargo theft and it has been airing on radio and television stations across the nation. It is available here.

NICB urges the Mississippi legislature to pass HB 722 and SB 2184 to provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the legislation necessary to address the public health threat posed by cargo theft.