When people are struggling financially, the temptation to find a short-cut or simple solution can be overwhelming. White collar crime such as insurance fraud has been on the rise over the years. It is important to understand what the New York Penal Code says about insurance fraud, examples of what insurance fraud could include, and defenses that your attorney might raise if you get charged with a white collar crime such as insurance fraud.
Insurance Fraud in the Fifth Degree
Every crime starts with a basic statue. Fraud in the fifth degree is the starting point and the base level for insurance fraud. Basically, this is defined as any insurance act that is fraudulent in nature. The statue itself is fairly vague so it is important to understand the key elements. There are 3 parts to proving insurance fraud.
1) Insurance fraud must involve a written statement as either part of an application or in support of an application for an insurance claim.
2) The person must know that the statement will be presented to an insurer with the intent to file an insurance claim.
3) The person must know that the statement has false or misleading information with the intent to conceal the truth.
Insurance fraud in the fifth degree is considered a class “A” misdemeanor and carries up to 1 year in jail. However, this is the base statue and is rarely the only charge that is filed. Additional charges could include theft if there is monetary gain. If there is more than 1 person involved, there could be additional charges related to organized crime.
Examples of Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud covers a wide range of activities. Some of the more commonly seen crimes could include:
– Auto insurance fraud where people sell their cars and report it stolen to collect the insurance money
– Personal injury fraud where people fake an injury on the job to collect workman’s compensation
– Health insurance fraud where people falsify information on their health insurance applications or fail to disclose other health insurance coverage
– Personal insurance fraud where people claim their insured personal possessions were stolen or valued at a much higher amount than they are actually worth.
– Nuisance insurance claims where people fake injuries or plant foreign objects in their food to try to get insurance companies to settle to avoid the bad press or just get rid of the “nuisance” claim
There are defenses a good attorney can use to help protect you if you get charged with an insurance fraud crime. A good attorney will thoroughly investigate each claim looking for weak spots or holes in the prosecutor’s case. They can get illegal evidence thrown out of court. They can file motions to dismiss or drop certain charges if the prosecutors “overcharge” a case. They might be able to prove that there was no intent to defraud which could led to a complete dismissal.
White collar crime hurts everyone, and prosecutors and Assistant District Attorneys have been aggressively prosecuting claims of insurance fraud. In addition, judges have have been more willing to impose the maximum sentences to send a message and try to stem the rise of white collar crime such as insurance fraud. There are defenses if you get charged with insurance or healthcare insurance fraud in the New York area. The most important thing to do is hire a New York attorney that is experienced in these types of claims and can present a case that will you a chance to defend yourself.