Editor's Note: This article has been contributed by Dennis Jay, the executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF). For more information, visit the CAIF website, www.insurancefraud.org.

Mikhail Zemlyansky was nothing if not ambitious. The Russian native masterminded a sprawling crime empire that bled New York auto insurers with seeming impunity. His gang made at least $400 million in dirty crash-injury claims, federal prosecutors say. That audacious money haul is nearly the team value of the Baltimore Orioles. It was the largest auto-fraud scheme in U.S. history until the gang was broken open this past winter. 

If the federal RICO charges hold up, then Zemlyansky will be an ominous signpost of the looting power of organized crime kleptocracies that keep infiltrating the insurance industry. Alpha gangs are setting up efficient corporate-quality theft machines that are adroitly exploiting seams in the insurance system with increasingly seismic heists.

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