Insurance exists to compensate a person when they suffer an unexpected loss or injury. In some cases a person might try to get money from an insurance company when they haven’t suffered a loss. This is insurance fraud, and it’s against the law in the state of New York.
There are different types of insurance fraud
The crime of insurance fraud in New York is actually several different crimes. The state divides insurance crimes into different degrees. These degrees depend on the severity of the offense. Insurance fraud in the first degree is the most serious of the insurance fraud crimes.
Insurance fraud in the fourth degree is a violation of New York Penal Code § 176.15. It involves insurance fraud in the amount of at least $1,000 but less than $3,000. That means you must have committed insurance fraud in an attempt to get an amount of money in that range. If you tried to obtain more or less money, you can face insurance fraud charges of a greater or lesser degree.
What happens if you’re convicted
Insurance fraud in the fourth degree is a felony. It’s a class E felony, so you can spend up to four years in prison if you’re convicted. The court can also order you to pay a hefty fine in addition to paying restitution for the amount that you cheated the insurance company. You can serve as many as five years on probation for the offense. Talk to an NYC criminal lawyer at Spodek Law Group for more information about potential penalties for a charge of insurance fraud in the fourth degree.
Other similar charges
There are a few similar charges under New York law. One of them is health care fraud. Another is life settlement fraud. If you’re facing insurance fraud, you might face these related charges in addition to or instead of insurance fraud charges.
One example of insurance fraud is a false worker’s compensation claim. For example, Nia gets hurt at work. She works in a department store, and a heavy piece of furniture falls on her foot. Nia files a worker’s compensation claim. She asks for payments because she can’t work.
Nia’s application for worker’s compensation asks if she works anywhere else. She says no. In fact, this isn’t true. Nia continues her other job as a bank teller. She decides not to report her second job because she doesn’t want the state to deny her worker’s compensation claim.
Nia eventually receives $2500 in worker’s compensation payments. She wouldn’t have received these payments if she had been honest about her employment. She purposefully chose not to tell the truth so that she could get payments that she didn’t really deserve. In this case, Nia comitted insurance fraud in the fourth degree.
Defenses to the charge
If you’re facing a charge of insurance fraud, you can evaluate each part of the charges to see what evidence the state has against you. For the state to prove insurance fraud, they have to prove that you tried to cheat the insurance company on purpose. If there’s an innocent explanation for what happened, the state might not be able to convince a jury that you’re guilty of the charge against you.
The state has to prove that you tried to get at least $1,000 using dishonest means. If the state can’t prove any part of the case against you, you might be not guilty of the offense. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate and defend the insurance fraud charges against you.
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