Have You Been Charged With Insurance Fraud?
Our Hayward Insurance Fraud Attorney Has the Experience to Help
When you think of white-collar crimes, you often picture a nonviolent offense committed by businesses, executives and government officials. However, there is a type of white-collar crime that affects ordinary people on a regular basis. Insurance fraud is very common here in California and across the country. This crime increases insurance rates for people everywhere, and the government takes it very seriously. If convicted, you could face life-altering penalties. This is why you must handle charges of insurance fraud with the utmost concern and care.
At the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman, our insurance fraud lawyer has over 30 years of experience defending people facing criminal charges. He also has experience as a former Alameda County Deputy District Attorney. That means he understands how prosecutors and law enforcement think when it comes to criminal cases. When you are facing serious charges, do not face the criminal justice system alone. Our criminal defense attorney has the experience you need to help get your charges reduced or dismissed.
What Is Insurance Fraud?
California law defines insurance fraud as any action that seeks to defraud an insurance company. This can include filing a false insurance claim, double filing a claim or feigning an injury to receive compensation. To prove fraud, prosecutors need only prove two things:
- You intended to defraud an insurance company, and you knowingly did so.
- You acted on your intent by filing a fraudulent claim.
It does not matter if the insurance company incurred a loss or not due to the false claim. If these elements are present in your case, the authorities can charge and convict you for insurance fraud.
What Are the Penalties for Insurance Fraud?
The penalties for committing insurance fraud are often very steep. However, these penalties can vary depending upon the type of insurance fraud committed.
- Filing a fraudulent insurance claim can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, charges involving less than $950, you may face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. For a felony, a charge involving over $950, you could face two to five years in jail and a fine of $50,000 (or double the amount of the fraud if that amount is greater).
- False medical claims are misdemeanors under California law. You could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- If prosecutors convict you for fraudulent damage of insured property, you will face two to five years in state prison. This felony also carries a fine of $50,000.
An insurance fraud conviction will also most likely require you to pay restitution. This means you will reimburse the insurance company for the fraud. This is in addition to the penalties and fines a conviction will incur.
What Are the Different Types of Insurance Fraud?
The term insurance fraud encompasses a broad range of fraudulent claims and actions. This is due to the fact that there is such a wide variety of insurance types. What charges you face will depend upon what type of insurance company reported a fraudulent claim. Here are some of the most common insurance fraud types:
- Automotive Insurance Fraud. This often involves someone buying auto insurance after getting into an accident and then making a claim under that policy. Filing a false claim after damaging your own vehicle or arranging for its theft is also fraudulent.
- Life Insurance Fraud. This type of fraud happens if someone stages their death or files a claim when the policyholder did not die. Lying about your health while applying for life insurance can also qualify as fraud.
- Medical Insurance Fraud. This happens when you purposefully injure yourself, exaggerate your injury or otherwise misrepresent your health to make a claim.
- Workers’ Comp Fraud. You have committed fraud if you file a workers’ comp claim for an injury that did not happen. Inflating expenses or claiming an injury that did not happen while on the job are also fraudulent acts.
- Property Insurance Fraud. This fraudulent act is the result of faking a theft or damaging your own property.
- Unemployment Insurance Fraud. Recently, this has become a complex area of claims. This makes unemployment insurance (UI) a field fraught with the opportunity to make fraudulent claims. The California Employment Development Department (EDD) takes fraudulent claims very seriously. Certifying to the EDD that you are not working when, in fact, you are working and collecting unemployment funds could lead to felony charges.
How Can an Insurance Fraud Attorney Help?
Insurance policies cover so many types of circumstances. The paperwork involved can be confusing and lead to errors on your part. It is easy to make a mistake and file a claim that authorities could misconstrue as fraudulent. Do not let failure to consult an attorney be among those mistakes.
An experienced insurance fraud attorney knows what prosecutors must prove in order to convict you. They can help you sort through the evidence and help you avoid making further mistakes. Remember, the consequences of an insurance fraud conviction are jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
Do not talk to an insurance investigator, the police or the District Attorney’s office before speaking to an insurance fraud lawyer. If they call you, politely tell them that you would like to speak with an attorney before speaking with them. This is your right.
If you have any questions whatsoever, please contact us at (510) 582-9090 to discuss the best tactics and strategies for moving forward.