ARRESTED? INVESTIGATED? ARRESTADO? INVESTIGADO?
Insurance fraud is a serious white collar crime and anyone convicted of this crime faces a long period of imprisonment in a state penitentiary as well as a large fine. It is vital that you seek assistance from a Miami criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, even if you believe that you are under suspicion of committing fraud.
There are different types of insurance fraud, as follows:
lighting a fire or causing a flood in order to defraud an insurer;
making a false or fraudulent claim to an insurance provider;
making a false or fraudulent application for auto insurance;
providing a false affidavit with the intention of defrauding an insurer;
using a false invoice with the intention to defraud an insurer.
Penalties for insurance fraud
Insurance fraud is a felony crime (Florida statute 817.234), but the actual severity of the crime depends on the amount of the alleged fraud in money terms. It could either be a third degree, second degree or first degree felony offense.
If the amount of money involved is less than $20,000, then the crime is a third degree felony, with up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Between $20,000 and $100,000 could mean a second degree felony, with up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Any more than $100,000 involved could mean a first degree felony, with up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
There may be additional penalties depending on who has allegedly been defrauding. For instance, professionals such as health care practitioners, lawyers and other professionals could lose their license or have it suspended for a specific number of years. For example, if a doctor is found guilty of insurance fraud relating to a PIP claim, he or she could lose their license for 5 years and lose any PIP benefits themselves for up to 10 years.
Possible defenses against a charge of insurance fraud
The main defenses that can be used to combat an allegation of insurance fraud include the following:
The claim or information used to make a claim, e.g. an invoice, was not fraudulent.
There was no intention to defraud or deceive an insurer.
There was a ‘mistake of fact.’ For example, in a case of a claim for a home destroyed by fire, there was no knowledge that the fire had been lit intentionally by a third party.
You will need effective legal representation
Insurance fraud is a very serious crime in this state. You cannot risk losing your job, your freedom, or your future because of a crime you did not commit or because there is insufficient evidence that you committed it. Remember that you cannot be convicted of fraud unless prosecutors can prove your guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Contact Albert Quirantes, Miami criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if arrested or believe that you are under suspicion of insurance fraud at 305-644-1800.