Insurance fraud is a crime whether it's a collision claim inflated to cover a deductible, or a professional operation staging phony accidents. It's a crime and it happens here more than in most places.
Brent Walker, with the Texas Association of Special Investigation Units says Houston isÎ¾number oneÎ¾in Texas for the number of questionable claims.
"Also Houston is #1 in the state for staging accident activity and owner give-up schemes."
The latter is most often an individual crime in which someone wants to get rid of a car or boat they can no longer afford, the former is much more elaborate.
"These are very sophisticated criminals — a wide range of networks from body shops, law firms, medical clinics and individuals, the street level recruiters who recruit individuals who participate in these staged accidents."
It's estimated that insurance fraud costs $80-billion a year nationally, every penny coming from people who pay insurance premiums.
As always, if you phone a tip to Crime Stoppers, you can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a $5-thousand reward. The number is 713-222-TIPS.