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§33-41-4. Authority of the commissioner; use of special assistant prosecutors.

(a) The commissioner may investigate suspected criminal acts relating to the business of insurance as authorized by the provisions of this article.

(b) If the prosecuting attorney of the county in which a criminal violation relating to the business of insurance occurs determines that his or her office is unable to take appropriate action, he or she may petition the appropriate circuit court for the appointment of a special prosecutor or special assistant prosecutor from the West Virginia prosecuting attorney Institute pursuant to the provisions of section six, article four, chapter seven of this code. Notwithstanding the provisions of that section, attorneys employed by the commissioner and assigned to the insurance fraud unit created by the provisions of section eight of this article may prosecute or assist in the prosecution of violations of the criminal laws of this state related to the business of insurance and may act as special prosecutors or special assistant prosecutors in those cases if assistance is sought by the prosecuting attorney or special prosecutor assigned by the institute to prosecute those matters.

(c) Funds allocated for insurance fraud prevention may be dispersed by the commissioner, at his or her discretion, for the purpose of insurance fraud enforcement as authorized by the provisions of this code.

(d) The Insurance Fraud Unit authorized by the provisions of section eight of this article may assist federal law-enforcement agencies, the West Virginia state police, the State Fire Marshal, municipal police departments and the sheriffs of the counties in West Virginia in investigating crimes related to the business of insurance.

(e) The commissioner may conduct public outreach, education, and awareness programs on the costs of insurance fraud to the public.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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