Los Angeles Insurance Fraud Attorney
Experienced Defense Against Insurance Fraud Charges in California
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 criminal attorney. Your decision to contact an attorney immediately may be critical in securing a favorable result to your insurance claim.
Have you been accused of insurance fraud? Call Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners today at (213) 481-6811 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our insurance fraud lawyer in Los Angeles.
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 the 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).
Defenses Against Insurance Fraud Charges
While every case is unique, some common defenses against insurance fraud charges may include:
- Lack of Intent: One of the key elements in many fraud cases is intent. If you can show that you did not have the intent to commit fraud and that any misrepresentation or omission was accidental, it may be a defense.
- Mistaken Identity: If there is evidence suggesting that you were mistakenly identified or that someone else committed the fraudulent act using your identity, this may be a viable defense.
- Insufficient Evidence: You may challenge the evidence against you. If the prosecution cannot prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, you may have a strong defense. This could include disputing the accuracy or reliability of documents or witnesses.
- Duress or Coercion: If you can show that you were forced or coerced into committing the alleged fraudulent act under threat or duress, it might be a defense. However, this can be a complex argument and may require strong evidence.
- Entrapment: If you can show that law enforcement induced you to commit the fraudulent act, and you would not have otherwise done so, you may have an entrapment defense.
- Statute of Limitations: Ensure that the prosecution is within the statutory time limit for bringing charges. If the alleged fraudulent act occurred outside the specified time frame, it might be a defense.
- Inadequate Investigation: If you believe the investigation was not conducted properly or that evidence was mishandled, you may challenge the reliability of the evidence against you.
- Consent: If you can demonstrate that the other party was aware of and consented to the actions in question, it may be a defense against fraud charges.
Contact Our Los Angeles Insurance Fraud Lawyers Today
The experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at 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.
Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners today to get started with our Los Angeles insurance fraud attorneys.
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