Schemes that defraud individuals, the government and businesses cost the residents of Riverside County millions of dollars in taxes,
higher insurance premiums, and higher retail prices.
Unscrupulous business practices erode consumer trust and create unfair competition for legitimate businesses. Environmental crimes poison our most valuable natural resources and endanger the community. Crimes committed by elected officials or others operating within the public trust violate individual rights and undermine the very foundation of our democracy.
The Special Prosecutions Section
The Special Prosecutions Section consists of specially trained prosecutors and investigators dedicated to ensuring that fraud and corruption is vigorously prosecuted, and that our valuable natural resources are protected. The attorneys in this division prosecute their cases vertically, which means that one Deputy District Attorney handles a case from beginning to end.
This section of our website will introduce you to the following units: Major Fraud, Computer Crimes, Workers' Compensation Fraud, Auto Insurance Fraud, Life And Annuity Fraud, Welfare Fraud, Consumer Fraud, Environmental Protection, Real Estate Fraud, Professional Standards, and Elder Abuse. This section also contains tips on how to protect yourself from fraud and on how you can report fraud to the proper authorities. An engaged and vigilant community is an effective defense against these devastating crimes.
Real Estate Fraud
The Real Estate Fraud Unit investigates and prosecutes crimes involving recorded real estate documents. Criminal real estate fraud may involve home equity fraud, securities fraud tied to real estate, and loan fraud. Victims of criminal real estate fraud and predatory lending schemes are often senior citizens and people with limited English speaking abilities. Real estate fraud strikes at the heart of the American dream, where a sophisticated criminal can victimize dozens of people by stealing their life savings and their home.
A healthy economy where businesses thrive benefits everyone, but businesses should not succeed on the backs of defrauded consumers. Tactics such as false advertising, price-fixing, and deceptive sales pitches hurt many people – both consumers and legitimate businesses alike. The District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit investigates and prosecutes unfair or dishonest business practices so that consumers get a dollar’s value for their dollar spent. Through jail sentences and lawsuits which levy heavy monetary penalties for fraudulent practices, the Consumer Protection Unit strives to uphold consumer protection laws.
Identity theft is a crime in which the criminal can apply for credit in your name and then default on the credit, leaving creditors to believe that it was you who defaulted on the credit obligation. Or, the criminal can take over one of your accounts and make changes to it - like ordering additional credit cards or adding names to your account.
Some criminals prey on seniors, who often have more assets, are more willing to trust others, and may be vulnerable because of loneliness or diminishing physical or mental facilities. Criminals may attempt to exploit that trust, steal a senior’s money, or physically abuse or neglect them. The Elder Abuse Unit consists of specially trained and dedicated attorneys who prosecute both financial and physical elder abuse.
Cases prosecuted by the Major Fraud Unit are characterized by lengthy pre-complaint investigations, complex schemes, significant dollar loss, and aggravated felony conduct. Local law enforcement agencies are responsible for the initial investigation of these crimes, which are then submitted to the Major Fraud Unit to determine whether the investigation supports the filing of charges. Due to the complicated nature of major fraud cases, the cases must be ready for preliminary hearing before a felony complaint is filed. The key evidence in these cases is usually in the form of physical evidence, such as documents and records.
Computer Crimes Unit
The Computer Crimes Unit prosecutes cases in which a computer is a significant instrumentality of the crime. The Computer Crimes Unit enjoys an active and collaborative partnership with the Computer and Technology Crime High Tech Response Team (CATCH), a multi-agency task force.
Life and Annuity Fraud
Some agents and insurers concentrate their marketing efforts on senior citizens. Unscrupulous agents and insurers abuse the senior citizen customer by over selling, misrepresenting and selling unneeded or inappropriate insurance products to them. This misconduct is addressed by the Life and Annuity Fraud Unit, which prosecutes criminal misconduct in the sale of life and annuity insurance, which results in theft, the use of false documents, and confidence games.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit has pursued an aggressive campaign to identify, investigate, and prosecute workers’ compensation fraud. This crime – which is committed by doctors, lawyers, employers, insurance company employees and claimants – occurs in both the private and public sectors. The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit partners with investigators from the Department of Insurance to identify and combat workers’ compensation fraud.
Automobile Insurance Fraud
It is estimated that automobile insurance fraud results in losses in excess of $8 billion a year. Because losses are passed to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums, everyone bears the financial burden. The District Attorney’s Office recognizes that with the growing sophistication of automobile insurance fraud rings, an equally sophisticated and aggressive law enforcement effort is required to combat them. To that end, the District Attorney’s Office has established an Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit with specially trained staff to investigate and prosecute this costly criminal activity.
The District Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the unique environment of Riverside County through the aggressive enforcement of environmental laws. Specially trained prosecutors and investigators work to enforce environmental and workplace safety laws.
The District Attorney’s Welfare Fraud Unit prosecutes individuals who commit fraud to receive CalWORKs (AFDC) money or food stamps. The unit, comprised of specially trained prosecutors and investigators, aggressively prosecutes those who cheat the system.
Grand Theft Auto
The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) Unit prosecutes auto theft and carjacking. Vehicle theft is one of the most costly property crimes and remains an epidemic throughout the United States. In addition to handling individual cases investigated by local law enforcement, the GTA Unit also works actively with the Riverside Auto Theft Interdiction Detail (R.A.I.D.), a multi-agency task force comprised of various Riverside law enforcement agencies, as well as the California Department of Insurance.
Tribal Unit Mission Statement:
“Serving the Native American Communities within Riverside County to ensure we safeguard the rights of our community members.”
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office Tribal Unit has developed a partnership with all 12 Sovereign Native American Tribes in Riverside County of which nine are tribes. It is the function of the Tribal Unit to work closely with all tribal councils, casino gaming commissions, tribal public safety agencies and state, federal and local law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes that occur on casino property and to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law when necessary.
The Tribal Unit has a strong commitment to ensuring that justice is served on tribal land and reinforces that commitment by maintaining strong relationships with the Riverside County Indian Tribes and staying up-to-date with the law through relevant training.
The Tribal Unit investigate and prosecute crimes emanating from the tribal casinos and reservations within Riverside County. Some of the investigations will stem from criminal complaints accepted and filed with our office. In addition, investigators can be tasked with criminal investigations beyond the capabilities of the local policing jurisdictions for the tribal casinos. Tribal Unit investigators attend regular meetings with Tribal Council Members, Tribal Police Chiefs, Tribal Casino Public Safety Managers and Tribal Gaming Commission Agencies. The Tribal Unit collaborates with the Native American communities to ensure casino criminal trends are identified and patron safety at the casinos.
RSO website tribal unit link: