The California Department of Insurance announced $3.6 million in grant money today to help the Orange County District Attorney's office investigate and prosecute workers' compensation insurance fraud.
Neighboring L.A. County's district attorney will get $5.9 million as part of $32 million in grants awarded statewide by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
In 2010, the state conducted 2,888 investigations that led to 666 convictions for fraudulent claims, under-reporting or under-payment on behalf of workers worth more than $251 million, according to the Insurance Department.
Jones said workers' compensation fraud places a "significant" added burden on the insurance system at a time when the state is facing a $15.7-billion budget deficit.
"We have an obligation to provide protection to injured workers who require both care and compensation so they are able to get back to work as quickly as possible, while also rooting out fraud perpetrated by those seeking to game the system," Jones said.
The grants are awarded annually based on the offices' applications and previous year's performance.
Riverside County received $1.5 million and San Diego County was awarded $4.5 million.
-- City News Service