Authorizes peace officers designated by the superintendent of insurance/financial services to execute arrest warrants and search warrants.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to authorizing peace officers designated to investigate insurance frauds to execute arrest warrants and search warrants and repealing certain provisions of such law relating thereto
PURPOSE: To facilitate the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud in New York State by authorizing insurance fraud investigators to execute arrest warrants and search warrants.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill amends sections 2.20 of the criminal procedure law to authorize investigators of the insurance frauds bureau of the new department of financial services to request and execute arrest and search warrants.
JUSTIFICATION: Auto insurance premiums are rising, particularly downstate, and insurance fraud is a principal cause of the increases. Insurance fraud - auto, medical and property - costs New York consumers over $1 billion per year in increased premiums and it continues to grow. The state has an obligation to ensure that criminals profiting from insurance fraud are brought to justice; and this bill will further this goal by ensuring that insurance fraud investigators of the DFS are able to fight insurance fraud without being hindered because they lack the authority to independently execute search and arrest warrants.
The mission of the frauds bureau of the DFS is to investigate allegations of insurance fraud and assist in the prosecution of offenders. Penalties for insurance fraud range from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony. In addition to enforcing penal law provisions relating to insurance fraud, investigators regularly identify other violations of laws perpetrated by persons under investigation. Most insurance fraud investigators are former police officers with significant law enforcement investigative experience. Despite these qualifications, under current law, fraud investigators as peace officers are unable to arrest felons for whom they have obtained warrants, losing time and effectiveness by relying on municipal police or sheriffs' departments to provide available officers to execute warrants.
Under current law, insurance fraud bureau investigators are designated as peace officers and are unable to act independently in the execution of search and arrest warrants. Rather, investigators are currently required to coordinate with other law enforcement agencies to execute these functions, resulting in delays and hindering their ability to apprehend individuals committing insurance fraud. Insurance fraud may not be a priority of local police departments who
may already be understaffed, which may result in delays and deter the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud. This bill would give fraud investigators the authority to independently execute search and arrest warrants, thereby facilitating their apprehension of criminals engaging in insurance fraud.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.3054 of 2009-10; S.2453 of 2007-08.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 90 days after becoming a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2377--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 19, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. SEWARD, LARKIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes -- commit- tee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recom- mitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to authorizing peace officers designated to investigate insurance frauds to execute arrest warrants and search warrants and repealing certain provisions of such law relating thereto THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 2.20 of the criminal procedure law is amended by adding a new paragraph (k) to read as follows: (K) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, EMPLOYEES OF THE INSURANCE FRAUDS BUREAU OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE DESIGNATED AS PEACE OFFICERS BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF INSURANCE SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO (I) APPLY FOR AND EXECUTE WARRANTS OF ARREST AS SET FORTH IN ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY OF THIS CHAPTER, AND (II) APPLY FOR AND EXECUTE SEARCH WARRANTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE SIX HUNDRED NINETY OF THIS CHAPTER, WHENEVER ACTING PURSUANT TO THEIR SPECIAL DUTIES. S 2. Paragraph (k) of subdivision 1 of section 2.20 of the criminal procedure law, as added by section one of this act, is REPEALED and a new paragraph (k) is added to read as follows: (K) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES DESIGNATED AS PEACE OFFICERS BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO (I) APPLY FOR AND EXECUTE WARRANTS OF ARREST AS SET FORTH IN ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY OF THIS CHAPTER, AND (II) APPLY FOR AND EXECUTE SEARCH WARRANTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE SIX HUNDRED NINETY OF THIS CHAPTER, WHENEVER ACTING PURSUANT TO THEIR SPECIAL DUTIES. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law; provided however that section two of this act shall take effect on the same date and in the same manner as section 1 of part A of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011, takes effect.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05752-02-1