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D.A. Receives State Grant for Workers' Comp Probes

August 03, 1994|LILY DIZON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi announced Tuesday that his office has awarded $1.17 million to the Orange County district attorney's office to continue to investigate and prosecute workers' compensation fraud.

The grant is part of $11.9 million in grants to 28 district attorneys' offices in the state, according to Garamendi's office. Los Angeles County received the largest amount, $5 million.

Orange County will use the grants to pay the salaries and benefits of employees in the workers' compensation group of the district attorney's major frauds unit, said Supervising Deputy Dist. Atty. Pete Huelsenbeck. That unit prosecutes embezzlement and security cases as well as automobile insurance and workers' compensation frauds.

"We're delighted to be able to be so active in the prosecution of these crimes," Huelsenbeck said.

This is the third year the insurance commissioner's office has awarded funds to finance the workers' compensation anti-fraud group, which has to reapply for the grants annually, Huelsenbeck said. The first year, his group received about $200,000 to launch its office.

"I don't have the exact numbers of cases right now, but these crimes have risen steadily in the past three years as you can tell," by the grant increase, Huelsenbeck said.

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