Insurance fraud occurs when someone misrepresents information to an insurance company, usually for monetary gain or to get an insurance policy they would otherwise be declined for. As a white-collar crime, insurance fraud occurs when someone of status makes that misrepresentation. It is a violation of California Penal Code PC 550.
That could be someone in the community that wants to make money from an insurance company. In some cases, the violation could be perpetrated by a member in the insurance company community that is misrepresenting information for monetary gain for themselves or their business. However, that is out of the purview of California Penal Code PC 550 and a different crime entirely.
If you are facing an insurance fraud allegation or charge in California, you will need help from an L.A. criminal defense attorney to mount your defense. The defense to insurance fraud can be complex, as often there is a paper trail used to dispel reasonable doubt.
Understand insurance fraud and its implications here.
Fraud is a crime that occurs when someone is knowingly deceptive in order to gain something that they normally wouldn't be able to get otherwise. In California, this crime can be charged and prosecuted under the following circumstances:
· The accused meant to defraud an insurance company, or insurance customer.
· The act occurs.
· The act and the intent occur together.
· Loss is not required for fraud to have occurred.
It is the Fraud Division of law enforcement that seeks to enforce these crimes. These are often investigated as felonies under both the Insurance Code and Penal Code of California. Every investigation will begin with a suspect claim that is referred for investigation. Not every claim that appears suspect will result in a charge.
The California Penal Code PC 550 is a law that stipulates it is a crime to make false representations to an insurance company. The law also stipulates circumstances under which this can happen:
· Multiple claims presented for the same loss
· Accidents are staged to claim losses
· False information is provided to support a claim
· False statements are made to submit a claim
When someone is accused of a violation to California Penal Code PC 550, there are a number of possible defenses. With the right defense established by an L.A. criminal defense attorney, you may get the charges dismissed, deferred, or reduced.
The most common defenses to insurance fraud or Penal Code PC 550 violations are:
· Not knowing it happened (not, not knowing it was a crime)
· False accusations
· Commission under duress
Under Penal Code PC 550, it is not fraud unless the individual knows they were committing the fraud. If the accused can show that they did not know what they were doing, there could be an acquittal or dismissal.
False accusations occur in many criminal charges, whether the accused is falsely accused, or doing so as a defense. In this case, a defense to white-collar insurance fraud is that the accused is falsely accused.
It is a fair defense to say that you confessed under duress or were coerced to confess. In many cases it is law enforcement that could be accused of a coerced confession.
The consequences for white-collar insurance fraud are the same for any type of insurance fraud. In many cases, it is charged as a felony. That entails up to a five-year prison term and up to $50,000 fine.
Where it is charged as a misdemeanor, the consequences are prison for up to one year and potential fines up to $10,000.
Factors that will go into that determination include a prior criminal history, the circumstances of your case, and the quality of the defense that an attorney will build.
When you are facing a white-collar insurance fraud allegation or charge, the weight of the problem can feel insurmountable. That is not the case. There is always a defense to every crime, and insurance fraud is no exception.
At H Law Group, we fight for your rights and work with you to build the most solid defense. Call the H Law Group for a review of your case today.