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In an effort to promote fraud awareness, detection and prevention in Western New York, State Insurance Department Superintendent Gregory V. Serio yesterday delivered a Proclamation from Governor Pataki to Erie County Sheriff Patrick Gallivan declaring August 5-11 Fraud Awareness Week in the Empire State.

At a ceremony outside the Erie County Jail, Serio stated, "Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime – it is one of America’s largest criminal industries, and one way or another, honest premium paying consumers end up paying the price for this criminal activity. Governor Pataki has directed the Department to work with the Erie County Sheriff’s office and other local law enforcement agencies to marshal efforts and pool resources as the best way to protect New Yorkers from insurance fraud."

"I am proud to deliver the Governor’s Proclamation to the Erie County Sheriff Gallivan as a token of the hard work that is done in Erie County and Western New York and our continued commitment to fighting the crime of insurance fraud," added Serio.

The Proclamation reads:

"Whereas fraud is an increasingly expensive burden on the citizens and economies of New York State and the United States costing both taxpayers and businesses; and…in recent years, the New York State Insurance Department has undertaken measures that address the issue of fraud as it specifically affects the insurance industry…I, George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York, do hereby proclaim August 5-11, 2001 as Fraud Awareness Week in the Empire State."

"Fraud Awareness Week provides us with an opportunity to call attention to the crime of fraud, to educate businesses and consumers about the threat of fraud and to raise awareness about the impact fraud has on society," said Sheriff Gallivan.

Superintendent Serio was in Buffalo as a first stop in a Department initiative to bring Insurance Department services to consumers in cities across the State. While in Erie County the Superintendent met with consumers, area business leaders, elected officials, insurance agents, insurance company representatives, doctors and various fraud fighting agencies to discuss Western NY issues and how best to work together to provide insurance services to New Yorkers.

In addition, Department specialists were in Buffalo to provide Western New Yorkers with an opportunity to ask questions concerning health, life, automobile and homeowners insurance, as well as obtain publications and brochures and submit consumer complaints. Meetings were also held with various local officials, including Senator Patricia McGee in Dunkirk to discuss the health insurance issues facing employees and retirees of Empire Steel.


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