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Merced County gets $144,000 to combat insurance fraud

Valley prosecutors will get some financial muscle to fight insurance fraud, which will help prevent businesses from leaving California, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced today.

Poizner said he chose Fresno to announce the awarding of anti-fraud grants because District Attorney Elizabeth Egan’s staff has done “an excellent job of cracking down on insurance fraud.”

Fighting insurance fraud is a priority, because companies lose about $15 billion yearly from it. These companies then pass on the loss to consumers by charging higher premiums, Poizner said.

That translates to “a $500 hidden tax on every man, woman and child in California,” he said. The grant awards to Valley counties are: Fresno, $1,096,200; Kings, $279,108; Madera, $48,000; Merced, $144,000; and Tulare, $279,939.