When you get home from work one day, you discover your home has been broken into while you were away. You start counting the lost things after contacting the cops so you may file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance carrier. You start to believe that the insurance company has no idea what you have and what was taken. What if you added a couple additional things to increase the claim’s overall value?
As a fraud defense attorney in Anaheim CA, I can tell you that doing so might result in insurance fraud charges. For this sort of behavior, you might be prosecuted with filing a false insurance claim under the California Penal Code. While it may be tempting, making a fraudulent insurance claim can lead to jail time.
The burden of proof is on the prosecution
A prosecution must show the following to prove a false insurance claim: You knew the claim was false or fraudulent, and you made the false statement or claim with the purpose to deceive.
A false insurance claim is a wobbler offense, which means that depending on the type of claim and the amount at risk, it can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor. You can be convicted of this offence even if the insurance company did not pay out on your claim. It is punished as a felony by up to 5 years in prison, a $50,000 fine, or up to double the amount of the fraud. You may face up to a year in county prison and/or a $10,000 fine if it’s prosecuted as a misdemeanor.
Intent is essential in insurance fraud cases
Importantly, insurance fraud is classified as a crime with a particular motive. This implies the prosecution must show that you made the fraudulent claim with the intention of defrauding the insurance company.
A knowledgeable fraud defense attorney in Anaheim CA may be able to prove that your claim was not submitted with the purpose to deceive. For example, if you reported that your expensive jewelry was taken during a house invasion but subsequently discovered that your spouse had relocated the item to a safe deposit box, you may be able to defend yourself against a charge of submitting a false insurance claim.
Insurance fraud may take many forms, including faking vehicle accidents in order to collect money from a car insurance policy, falsely claiming that you are unable to work while on workers’ compensation, and healthcare fraud.
You need an experienced fraud defense attorney in Anaheim CA to defend you. Feel free to call the experienced attorneys at Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 to request a consultation.