Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud may seem like easy money, but a conviction for insurance fraud in Los Angeles can land you in state prison for up to five years. Have you been contacted by law enforcement or a fraud investigator regarding an insurance claim and suspect there is a possibility of fraud charges? If so, contact our office to schedule a free confidential consultation to speak to an experienced Los Angeles defense attorney. Your decision to contact an attorney immediately may be critical in securing a favorable result to your insurance claim.

California Insurance Fraud Law

Insurance fraud can be defined as knowingly presenting an insurance claim containing false or misleading information with the intent of obtaining some benefit from an insurance company. The insurance fraud laws can be broadly interpreted to include such activities as faking auto accidents or participating in staged car accidents; faking auto collision injuries for insurance benefits; faking an auto theft; disposing of the vehicle; making false health care disability claims; and exaggerating damage caused to a car that has been in an accident.

The California Insurance Fraud Laws are primarily found in California Penal Code Sections 548-550. The more commonly charged insurance offenses are summarized below:

Defrauding Insurer (Penal Code 548)
It is a felony in California to injure, destroy, hide, abandon, or dispose of property insured against loss or damage from theft or embezzlement or any casualty (other than fire), with the intent to defraud an insurer. It does not matter whether the defendant or someone else owned or possessed the property. This is punishable in state prison from two to five years and a fine of up to $50,000. An additional two year sentence is added for each prior insurance fraud conviction.

Solicit or Refer for Insurance Fraud (Penal Code 549)
It is unlawful to solicit, accept, or refer business to or from an individual or business knowing they intend to make a fraudulent insurance claim.

This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony punishable by up to a year in county jail or by 16 months to 3 years in state prison. Subsequent convictions are charged as felonies and carry a state prison sentence for up to three years.

Present False or Fraudulent Claims (Penal Code Section 550 (a))
It is a felony in California to knowingly and intentionally assist or plan any of the following:

  • Submit a false insurance claim, or any documentation that supports it

  • Submit multiple claims for the same loss or injury

  • Cause or participate in an auto accident for defrauding the insurance company

  • Submit a false claim for theft or damage of a vehicle

  • Prepare a writing or submit a claim to support a fraudulent claim

  • Present a false or fraudulent health care claim (Fraudulent claims for health-care benefits are prosecuted as misdemeanors if the total the claim is $400 or less).

Penal Code Section 550(a) is a "wobbler," meaning that it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony punishable by up to one year in county jail (misdemeanor) or by two to five years in state prison (felony).

Prepare False Statements to Support an Insurance Claim (Penal Code 550(b))
It is unlawful in California to knowingly and intentionally assist or plan to:

  • Present any false or written statement to support an insurance claim;

  • Conceal or fail to disclose the occurrence of an event that affects any person's initial or continued right to an insurance benefit or payment;

  • Make a false residence statement to obtain an insurance policy.

This crime (P.C. 550(b)) is a "wobbler," meaning that it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony punishable by up to one year in county jail (misdemeanor) or by two to five years in state prison (felony).

Los Angeles Insurance Fraud Attorneys

The experienced Los Angeles criminal defense team of Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners has successfully defended individuals charged with all types of insurance fraud. We provide smart and practical criminal defense solutions to those charged with insurance fraud. If you or someone you know is being investigated or charged with insurance fraud in Los Angeles, call us for a free and confidential consultation. We will answer your questions and give you the advice you need.