February 28, 2007                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton


      Defendant Could Face Up to 10 Years in Prison and a $50,000 fine
      Montana State Auditor John Morrison announced today that felony insurance fraud charges were brought against Clancy resident Vern A. Nardi. The Lewis and Clark County Attorney filed charges against Nardi based on an investigation conducted by the investigations team of the State Auditor’s Office.
      “Everyone pays the price when it comes to insurance fraud,” said Morrison. “Offenders of insurance fraud are basically stealing from every law-abiding Montanan who pays insurance premiums.”
      Nardi’s charges stem from an insurance claim he submitted to State Farm Insurance where he alleged that his car was hit while it was parked in a Helena parking lot. However the Auditor’s Office investigation revealed that Nardi was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision when he hit a parked car along a road in East Helena. Because Nardi fled the scene after the accident, he also faces a charge of Hit and Run. Nardi is ordered to appear in Montana First Judicial District Court on March 8, 2007.
      “This case is a good example of how effectively and quickly law enforcement agencies can work together and cooperate on a state and local level,” said Morrison. “Cases like this are about sharing information and resources in an effort to enhance our abilities to investigate and shut down white collar criminals. I want to commend the hard work of those individuals and agencies involved in this investigation.”
      Felony insurance fraud is a criminal offense that carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. Insurance fraud costs Americans at least $80 billion dollars per year, or nearly $950 per family, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
      Since many important cases have begun with anonymous tips from the public, Morrison encourages Montana residents who are concerned about insurance cheating and who may have information about insurance fraud to contact the Investigations Division of the Montana State Auditor’s Office at 1-800-332-6148.