Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Shayne Jones, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Cochran, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael J. Lynch, Ph.D.


Mafia, No-fault, Personal Injury Protection, Risk Management, White-Collar


The growing trend of insurance fraud continues to cost US consumers billions of dollars a year through increased premiums. In 2015, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimated the cost of insurance fraud as being at least $80 billion dollars a year. Even though an increasing number of criminals are drawn to the low risk, high reward of insurance fraud, little criminological literature has explored this topic and the public remains relatively unaware of the extent of the problem.

One alarming aspect of insurance fraud is the involvement of organized criminal groups. These organized criminal enterprises are formed for the sole purpose of defrauding the insurance industry. Often, these enterprises are believed to have ties to traditional organized criminal groups, such as the Italian Mafia or the Russian Mob. In order to combat these criminal organizations, it is important to understand the behavior and motivation of such groups.

The present study aims to analyze the generally held belief throughout the insurance industry that organized insurance fraud rings are more likely to operate in states with mandatory Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policies. This analysis was conducted by examining staged automobile accidents reported to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The results of this analysis were mixed. Although a larger percentage of states with mandatory PIP displayed higher staged accident rate, some mandatory PIP states did not, and multiple non-PIP states also demonstrated a high staged accident rate. In an attempt to better understand this crime, further criminological research is needed.