Insurance fraud occurs when a person uses dishonesty or a material misrepresentation in order to get a payment from an insurance company that they don’t really deserve. People can try to use any type of insurance to commit fraud. Consumers can submit false claims on homeowner’s insurance, automobile insurance and medical insurance, to name just a few.
Even public insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare are subject to fraud. Insurance fraud costs honest consumers because it raises the premium rates for everyone. This is why courts take insurance fraud seriously.
Examples of insurance fraud
Fraud can occur on a homeowner’s insurance policy when a person commits arson. After the arson, they make a claim for the value of their home, even though the insurance policy excludes arson from their coverage. Another homeowner’s insurance fraud occurs when a person claims that a thief stole items when the items aren’t really stolen.
In automobile insurance, fraud can occur when a person claims that damage occurred in a crash when the damage really occurred at a different time. A person might also claim damages for physical injuries when the person didn’t really suffer the injuries in the automobile crash. A person might even claim that a crash occurred when it really didn’t even happen.
Types of insurance fraud
New York law aims to punish people more severely if their insurance fraud involves greater amounts of money as opposed to lesser amounts of money. For this reason, there are several different degrees of insurance fraud under New York law. You might face a charge of insurance fraud in the third degree if you attempt to cheat an insurance company out of more than $3,000 but less than $50,000.
Insurance fraud in the third degree
Insurance fraud in the third degree is a violation of New York Penal Code 176.20. It is a class D felony. A conviction can send you to up to seven years in prison. You also face a potential term of probation of up to five years. You have to pay restitution in the amount of the fraud.
All felony charges are serious, so it’s crucial that you speak with an NYC criminal attorney if you’re facing this type of charge. The attorneys at Spodek Law Group have years of experience defending clients from insurance fraud claims. An attorney can help you evaluate potential defenses. If it’s appropriate, they can help you approach the state’s attorney with your defenses. Your attorney might be able to get your charges dismissed before trial or help you reach a non-trial resolution that works for you.
If you’re charged with insurance fraud in the third degree, the state has to be able to prove that you intended to cheat someone else. In some cases, the state might not be able to prove your intent. It’s possible that you didn’t plan to cheat the insurance company at all. You might have had honest misconceptions about a situation, or it might be a situation where reasonable minds can differ. Any misunderstanding of this nature can serve as a defense to the charges against you.
You can also attack the amount of the fraud. Although it might seem technical, insurance fraud is charged by degrees. It might be worth your while to argue that the alleged fraud didn’t amount to $3,000. Because it’s an element of the charge, the amount of the fraud is something that the state has to prove. If the state can’t prove the amount, it can serve as a viable defense to the charges.
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