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How can I fight a charge of insurance fraud in New Jersey?

March 21, 2024

 

How can I fight a charge of insurance fraud in New Jersey?

Getting charged with insurance fraud can be really scary. I know from personal experience. My name’s Alex and I was charged with insurance fraud last year in New Jersey. Long story short, I exaggerated some injuries from a minor car accident to try and get more money from the insurance company. Dumb mistake, I know. Thankfully, I was able to get the charges reduced by working with a good lawyer who knew how to navigate the complex insurance fraud laws here in Jersey.

So if you’re in a similar boat, don’t panic. There are things you can do to fight the charges. I learned a ton about the process and want to share what I know here so it can maybe help others avoid some of the mistakes I made.

First Steps After Being Charged

Okay, so you got charged with insurance fraud. That sucks. What should you do first? Here’s my advice:

  • Don’t talk to the police or investigators without a lawyer present. Anything you say can be used against you. So keep your mouth shut until you have legal counsel.
  • Hire a lawyer asap. Look for someone with experience specifically fighting insurance fraud cases in NJ. This area of law is super complex so you need an expert.
  • Ask your lawyer about getting the charges dismissed or reduced. This may be possible depending on the circumstances.
  • Start gathering evidence and documents that could help your case. Your lawyer can advise you on what’s needed.

Having a lawyer guide you through the initial aftermath is so important. I made some bad choices at first that came back to bite me later. Don’t make my mistakes – get professional help right away.

Understanding the Charges and Penalties

Insurance fraud charges can vary widely in New Jersey. Some common criminal charges include:

  • Health Care Claims Fraud – when you knowingly submit false claims to an insurance provider. This is a 2nd or 3rd degree crime here.
  • Theft by Deception – lying to obtain insurance payouts illegally. Usually a 3rd or 4th degree crime.
  • Falsifying Records – altering documents to inflate insurance claims. Up to 5 years in prison.

Penalties if convicted can include years in prison, massive fines (like $150,000!), probation, community service, and restitution. But a good lawyer can sometimes get charges reduced or even dismissed. My charges got knocked down to a low-level felony with probation only. No jail time thank god!

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Building Your Defense Strategy

Your defense strategy will depend a lot on the specifics of your case. But here are some common approaches that lawyers use:

  • Argue you had no criminal intent – in other words, it was just an honest mistake.
  • Challenge errors or lack of evidence in the prosecution’s case.
  • Provide evidence you acted in “good faith” and had no intent to defraud.
  • Point out character references and community ties to argue you’re not likely to reoffend.
  • Claim personal circumstances led you to make poor choices you regret.

Your lawyer may be able to get charges dismissed pre-trial by arguing the prosecution’s case is weak. My lawyer was able to do this with a couple of my charges. If it goes to trial, your defense strategy will aim to create reasonable doubt in the jury so they don’t convict.

Should I Take a Plea Deal?

Many insurance fraud cases end in plea bargains. This means you plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges and/or a lighter sentence. For example, pleading to a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Here are some pros and cons to weigh:

Pros:

  • More certainty in outcome vs. risk of trial.
  • Guaranteed lighter punishment.
  • Avoid public trial.
  • Usually no jail time.

Cons:

  • Pleading guilty stays on record permanently.
  • Harder to fight similar charges in future.
  • May limit career options due to criminal record.

I ended up taking a plea deal to avoid the risk of huge fines and jail time at trial. For me, it was the right call even though I have a misdemeanor on my record now. But carefully weigh the pros and cons for your situation.

How to Avoid Jail Time If Convicted

Even if convicted, there are things you can do to avoid jail time. Strategies include:

  • Ask for leniency and probation at sentencing.
  • Get character references from employers, friends, family.
  • Highlight first time offender status.
  • Argue personal circumstances led to poor judgment.
  • Emphasize remorse and willingness to make amends.
  • Volunteer for community service to demonstrate rehabilitation.

My lawyer was able to successfully argue for probation and no jail for me. But I had to show major remorse and promise to complete a ton of community service. If you can demonstrate you’ve learned from your mistakes, judges may show mercy.

How to Report Insurance Fraud in NJ

If you see others committing insurance fraud, report it anonymously to the NJ Attorney General’s office. You can submit a complaint online or call their hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD. Here are some red flags:

  • Lying about events to file false claims
  • Exaggerating damage or injuries
  • Staging accidents to file claims
  • Billing for unnecessary medical treatments

Insurance fraud costs everyone money in higher premiums. So if you witness shady behavior, speak up. The more fraud that gets reported, the more likely companies will crack down on scammers.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with insurance fraud charges in New Jersey is scary. But having an experienced lawyer can make a huge difference in getting charges reduced or dismissed. Be smart and don’t try to handle things alone.

Hopefully this article gave you a better idea of how to respond if charged and your options going forward. Good luck and feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!

Sincerely,
Alex

References

Report Insurance Fraud – New Jersey Office of Attorney General

How to Report Medicaid or Insurance Fraud – State of New Jersey

Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor – New Jersey Attorney General

What is Insurance Fraud? – State of New Jersey

Insurance Fraud in New Jersey | NJ Criminal Defense – Lento Law Firm

Insurance Fraud in New Jersey – N.J.S.A 2C:21-4.6

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