Tampa Insurance Fraud Defense Lawyer
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, insurance fraud costs insurers over $40 billion a year. Many individuals can commit insurance fraud, from policyholders to doctors and other professions who submit claims to an insurance company. If you’ve been accused of insurance fraud, you need experienced legal counsel during this difficult time. Contact O’Mara Law Group to speak with our Tampa insurance fraud defense lawyers today.
What is Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud is against both state and federal law. In Florida, Section 817.234 of the Florida statutes makes it illegal to knowingly submit a statement which contains incomplete, misleading, or false information concerning a material fact with the intent to defraud or deceive. It also criminalizes making incomplete, misleading, or false statements in connection with an application for an insurance policy when done with the intent to deceive or defraud. Put simply, failing to be completely accurate about important information with an insurer can be grounds for prosecution.
Florida’s law is broad. It applies to personal injury protection policies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), life insurance, homeowners, renter’s, and other insurance policies. In short, the statute will probably cover any policy insuring against loss.
Some examples of insurance fraud include:
- A claimant who lies about what caused the loss
- An applicant submitting inaccurate information when applying for insurance
- A doctor who bills an insurer for more expensive services than those provided (called “upcoding”)
- A lawyer who conspires with a claimant to submit a fraudulent claim
Are the Penalties for Insurance Fraud Serious?
Yes. A person will be charged with a first-, second-, or third-degree felony depending on the value of the property involved in the fraudulent scheme:
- For property less than $20,000: a third-degree felony which carries as a penalty up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- For property worth at least $20,000 but less than $100,000: a second-degree felony, which carries as a penalty up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- For property worth $100,000 or more: a first-degree felony which carries as a penalty up to 30 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Defendants might also be subject to a civil penalty if they received insurance proceeds fraudulently for a motor vehicle crash. The penalty is worth thousands of dollars.
Can a Tampa Insurance Fraud Defense Attorney Help?
Yes. It is always important to remember that a charge is not the same as a conviction. As seasoned defense lawyers, we understand all the ways to fight back against insurance fraud charges.
Often, these cases turn on the defendant’s intent and knowledge when submitting inaccurate or misleading information to the insurer. For example, someone who carelessly makes a mistake does not have the requisite intent to defraud. The same is true when the defendant actually believes the information submitted is accurate.
Call a Tampa Insurance Fraud Defense Lawyer Today
There is little time to waste. Insurance fraud cases are complicated, and prosecutors often seek maximum penalties for even small-scale fraud. If you believe you are under investigation, contact O’Mara Law Group today to schedule a consultation.