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Based on the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, fraudulent insurance claims cost an average of $80 billion per year. Unfortunately, when these schemes are conducted, the fallout can be tremendous. Since insurance companies charge higher premiums to cover their losses from fraud, policyholders find their costs increasing as well. However, by putting an end to insurance fraud schemes, costs can decrease dramatically. But because so much money stands to be gained if a scheme is successful, people continually look to commit the perfect crime. This is where the need for insurance fraud lawyers arises, since there are numerous ways in which these schemes can be committed. If you find yourself accused of insurance fraud, it’s best to consult a criminal defense attorney skilled in handling insurance fraud cases.
What Constitutes Insurance Fraud?
If you have been accused of insurance fraud, prosecutors and law enforcement will pursue their case with great determination in order to find you guilty. However, to be found guilty of this offense, a judge or jury must prove three elements of the case are present. First, it must be proven you knowingly made false statements. Second, any statements made must be in connection with a payment made under the terms of the insurance policy. And finally, the statement made must be material to the insurance claim. To ensure your rights in these cases are fully protected, it’s best to have an insurance fraud lawyer who understands the complexities of these cases and knows how to plan the best possible defense strategies.
Types of Insurance Fraud
As with most other crimes, there are various types of insurance fraud. Among the most common are healthcare, automobile, property, and life. For example, healthcare fraud can occur when a person claims a false injury, or when healthcare providers submit claims for services they did not perform. Or, as most people are more aware of, a person may take out a life insurance policy, then attempt to fake their own death or that of another person in an effort to collect a large payment from the insurance company. If you find yourself being charged with these or other types of insurance fraud, it’s critical you get the legal representation you need as quickly as possible. Since insurance companies know they will be forced to raise their premiums in an effort to recoup their losses, they will be relentless in their pursuit of a conviction. Therefore, you will need a lawyer who is willing to fight as aggressively as the insurance companies, and is not afraid to take on whatever challenge confronts them.
Insurance Fraud Penalties
Because most insurance fraud cases are considered felonies, the penalties for being convicted of these crimes can be quite harsh. With these cases, prosecutors classify them as either soft fraud or hard fraud. In a soft fraud case, a person may exaggerate an existing claim in order to receive more money. These cases may be considered either misdemeanors or felonies, and are punishable by fines, jail time, probation, or even community service. In a hard fraud case, a person deliberately causes or fabricates a loss for the purpose of receiving an insurance payment. Almost always felonies, these cases can carry punishments of large fines, significant prison sentences, and probation afterwards. When you are faced with the possibility of these punishments, having an experienced insurance fraud attorney by your side may mean the difference between a conviction or an acquittal.
Hiring an Attorney
If you are in the midst of being charged with insurance fraud, hiring a knowledgeable attorney should be your first step. Because these lawyers specialize in criminal defense, they often know exactly how to plan a winning strategy. Along with this, they also provide free consultations, which offer you the chance to explain the details of your case in a safe, relaxed environment. Once the attorney determines your case is winnable, they will immediately go to work examining evidence, interviewing witnesses, and communicating with prosecutors and law enforcement. By taking this step as soon as possible, you will be on your way to gaining peace of mind while knowing you finally have someone on your side who is determined to see you cleared of all charges.