Car insurance fraud convictions up
Advertiser Staff and News Services
The number of people convicted of motor vehicle insurance fraud increased sharply in 2008 for the second year in a row, according to the insurance fraud investigation unit of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Convictions rose to 55 in 2008 from 34 the year before, an increase of 62 percent. That followed an 89 percent increase in 2007.
Felony convictions can bring a prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
One of those convicted last year was Beverly Medeiros, an educational assistant on the Big Island who was investigated in five separate cases. Medeiros had said she was unable to work because of injuries from an auto accident.
Medeiros defrauded three different insurance companies. In January 2008, Medeiros was sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to the DCCA. She also was ordered to pay restitution of more than $103,000 and court fees of $1,380.
Insurance fraud is estimated to cost each Hawai'i household $200 to $300 in increased premiums every year. To report insurance fraud, call the Insurance Fraud Hotline at 587-7416.
STOCKHOLDERS SUE HORIZON LINES
Horizon Lines Inc., the second-largest shipper of goods to Hawai'i, said it has been named as a defendant in a securities class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of investors who bought the company's common stock from March 2, 2007, through April 25, 2008.
The complaint alleges, among other things, that Horizon Lines made material misstatements and omissions in connection with alleged price-fixing in its shipping business in Puerto Rico in violation of antitrust laws.
"The company believes that it has appropriate disclosure practices and intends to vigorously defend against the lawsuit," Horizon said in a news release issued yesterday.
DEDICATION SET FOR LANA'I SOLAR FARM
Castle & Cooke CEO David Murdock and government officials will be on hand Tuesday to dedicate a solar farm on Lana'i that will provide as much as 30 percent of the island's daily peak energy needs.
The La Ola solar farm, with 7,400 photovoltaic panels spread over 10 acres, is the state's largest solar-power generating facility, according to Castle & Cooke.
The farm has a maximum generating capacity of 1.5 megawatts, but normally will be producing about 1.2 megawatts, the company said.
Tuesday's dedication will include hula performances and a ceremonial throwing of the switch.
FLOOD-ASSISTANCE FARM LOANS SOUGHT
Gov. Linda Lingle is appealing to the federal government to give low-interest loans and other assistance to O'ahu and Kaua'i farmers affected by damage from the heavy rain and flooding that struck the two counties Dec. 10 to 16.
Lingle recently sent a request to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer for an agricultural disaster declaration, which would allow farmers to apply for assistance to cover crop and other farm losses.
The governor earlier applied for a federal disaster declaration that would provide assistance to local governments, individuals and nonprofits to repair storm-related damage to buildings and infrastructure.
The state Department of Agriculture said that more than 500 O'ahu residents have reported damage to their homes or vehicles, and that estimated damage on Kaua'i exceeds $2.5 million.