Submitting fraudulent insurance claims may seem like an easy way to make money, but it may be a costly mistake. If caught, you could face penalties ranging from fines and jail time to losing your license or even being charged with a felony. In California, fraud crimes are serious business, so you must understand what constitutes insurance fraud and the consequences if you are caught committing it.
At Aron Law Firm, our team has substantial experience in all aspects of criminal law, including criminal charges involving insurance fraud. When you partner with us, rest assured that we will craft an effective defense strategy to advocate for your rights and help you navigate this difficult process.
What Is Considered Insurance Fraud in California?
Insurance fraud is the act of intentionally misrepresenting or concealing facts or information regarding an insurance claim for financial gain. According to California law (California Code, Insurance Code – INS § 1871), any person who knowingly presents false or misleading information on an insurance application, or files a claim containing false or misleading information with an insurer, is guilty of insurance fraud. This includes:
- Making false statements on an application for coverage
- Concealing facts that would lead an insurer not to issue a policy
- Failing to disclose material facts at the time of application when those facts could affect whether coverage would be provided
One of the most common forms of insurance fraud is falsifying a claim, which involves making an entirely false claim or misrepresenting facts involved with a claim. A false claim could mean stating that your car was stolen when it was not or filing a claim for damage that you said was caused by an accident when it was not.
Sometimes, fraudulent insurance claims involve staging an accident. This type of fraud involves setting up a situation where it appears as though someone else caused damage to yourself or your property to get the other party to pay out money under their policy.
What Are the Penalties for Submitting Fraudulent Insurance Claims in California
California has some of the strictest laws regarding fraud. Submitting a fraudulent insurance claim in California is a felony under California Penal Code 550 PC. Violators of this offense will face consequences such as jail time and significant fines.
The penalties for committing insurance fraud in California may include up to:
- Five years incarceration
- A fine of up to $50,000, or two times the value of the fraud
Previous criminal records and other factors (such as the value of your claim) will likely influence sentencing decisions made by judges. You should also be aware that insurance companies have the right to sue defendants who commit this crime for the full amount of any claims paid out, plus interest and attorney fees if they so choose.
If you are facing charges for submitting a false insurance claim, contact a qualified California defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will help you understand the charges and your options. They will navigate the criminal justice system on your behalf and support your interests in court.
Hire a California Attorney to Defend a Criminal Charge of Insurance Fraud
If you are suspected of submitting a fraudulent insurance claim in California, do not wait to reach out to a criminal defense attorney. The sooner you get in touch with a lawyer with experience fighting these cases, the more time they will have to build a stronger defense to protect your rights.