Real Talk w/CJ: Thomas A. McCormick, Insurance Fraud Section Chief

Real Talk with CJ

Mon Feb 10, 2014
2 - 3 P.M.
CJ Courtroom

Thomas A. McCormick has fought crime and injustice as a Justice Advocate General (JAG) in the U.S. Air Force and as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Louisiana.

Thomas McCormick, Louisiana Assistant Attorney General
Thomas McCormick, Louisiana Assistant Attorney General.
McCormick is the Insurance Fraud Section Chief for the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, part of a multi-agency task force that investigates and prosecutes a wide variety of insurance fraud cases in the state, including theft, arson, fictitious policies, health care fraud, home and auto repair fraud, phony slip and falls, phony auto theft, premium avoidance, staged auto accidents, money laundering, workers’ compensation fraud, unemployment fraud, forged insurance cards, public bribery, and filing false public records.

“We are very diverse and do not do just one thing,” said McCormick. “We have the flexibility to do all types of fraud cases. We have found that if they lie and cheat with the insurance companies, they probably lie and cheat on their taxes too.”

McCormick is part of a task force that include State Police and the Department of Insurance.
McCormick is part of a task force that include State Police and the Department of Insurance.
Insurance fraud costs Americans at least $80 billion a year, nearly $950 for each family. To combat the issue, Louisiana formed a task force in 2000, which includes the State Police, the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Insurance. The Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section has seven prosecutors, who offer ongoing legal support, assistance and consultation to law enforcement and prosecute cases ranging from basic claim frauds to high dollar money laundering and fraud cases.

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Fraud Section handles more than 1,000 cases a year. Among his most notorious cases are insurance fraud from Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav involving both consumers and insurance agencies; the prosecution of former hockey star Eric Cloutier, who pled guilty to tax evasion charges for manipulating sales tax receipts at two popular Lafayette bars he owned; the conviction of a Louisiana fire chief for falsifying fire reports used to determine fire ratings for homeowner and business insurance, resulting in millions of dollar in loss in insurance premiums.

In addition to fighting insurance fraud in Louisiana, McCormick is the current elected South Central Regional Director of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), representing Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. At NW3C, McCormick supervises almost 100 employees with an annual budget of around $20 million. The center provides training, investigative support and research to more than 5,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies involved in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of economic and high-tech crimes.

McCormick (center) with Attorneys General Jim Hood of Mississippi (l) and James D. McCormick (center) with Attorneys General Jim Hood of Mississippi (l) and James D. "Buddy" Caldwell of Louisiana (r).The center aided in the multi-state investigation into Arthur L. Copes, who owned and operated the Scoliosis Treatment Recovery System Clinic, and purported to have developed a back brace and treatment system for the medical condition. In 2006, he was convicted of insurance fraud for practicing medicine without a license and using chiropractors to bill for his services.

Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Capt. McCormick was an active duty JAG with the U.S. Air Force, where he provided defense services for active duty personnel at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida; served as the Deputy Staff JAG at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma; and prosecuted more than 800 misdemeanor cases as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma and Middle District of Florida.

Capt. McCormick also served as a JAG in the U.S. Air Force.
Capt. McCormick also served as a JAG in the U.S. Air Force.
In 2005, Captain McCormick was deployed to Iraq as a special prosecutor assigned to the Central Criminal Court, where he prosecuted more than 325 Iraqi detainees and insurgents responsible for attacks and crimes against coalition forces. He prosecuted the case of an Iraqi family accused of killing seven members of a Marine sniper unit. The case resulted in two death penalties and two youth who received 20 year sentences.

“There was no justice system in Iraq,” said McCormick. “They put a 12-year old in prison for 20 years. With their death penalty, they are dead within 30 days. It was mentally draining. It was very eye opening for a happy, go lucky kid from Louisiana.”

Capt. McCormick has always gone above and beyond the call of duty in his various positions, which have earned him numerous awards, including the Air Force Sergeants Association General Douglas MacArthur Award, USAF Robert Lowery JAG Award, Tyndall Airman of the Year in 1996 and 1997, Vance AFB Officer of the Year in 2002 and 2003, four Air Force Commendation Medals, four Outstanding Unit Awards, two National Defense Medals, Iraqi Freedom Medal and Global War on Terrorism Medal.

“I believe you don’t just do you job; you should always do more than your job,” said McCormick. “You should be a sponge and know the mission. You should also know why your boss is asking the question and understand what the bosses’ boss is asking too.”

McCormick (center) was a national legislative leader with the American Legion.McCormick (center) was a national legislative leader with the American Legion.McCormick has other advice for up-and-coming criminal justice professionals. He said it is imperative to readjust to change and important to have situational awareness in your professional and personal life.

“You have to look at the big picture, don’t look at what you are doing right now,” said McCormick. “See what you want to be doing in 10 years and have a short and a long term plan to get there. Also have situational awareness. You have to know what is happening around you at all times.”

McCormick is the twin brother of Lt. Col. Robert McCormick, the new chair of the Military Science Department at Sam Houston State University. Lt. Col. Robert McCormick is equally accomplished in his career, a decorated career military professional who served most recently as the Deputy Commander for the Maneuver Enhancement Bridge at Fort Polk in Louisiana. Lt. Col. Robert McCormick has been a constant source of competition and inspiration for his twin brother throughout his career.

Twin Brother Robert McCormick in Iraq.
Twin Brother Robert McCormick in Iraq.
Reflecting back on growing up in south Louisiana, Capt. Thomas McCormick said, “We were too big to play football, too tall to play basketball and too poor to care.”

In 1994, Captain Thomas McCormick married the former Candy Morales of Plaquemine, LA. They have two daughters, Skylar (18) and Ashley (15), and a 10-year-old son named Matthew.

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