Insurance fraud is a white collar crime that has recently been prosecuted more frequently than ever before in the state of Florida. It is an act that has been committed to intentionally (or sometimes unintentionally) defraud an insurance company. The most common related cases usually involve individuals with insurance who make false claims in order to gain financial assets from an insurer. Insurance companies aggressively pursue individuals who they believe have committed this type of crime. That’s just one of the reasons that having an experienced Tampa insurance fraud attorney in your corner can be extremely beneficial to your defense.
If you have been accused of insurance fraud in Tampa, Hillsborough County or elsewhere in Florida, Joffe Law, P.A. can help. We have an experienced team of lawyers who specialize in federal cases, with decades of knowledge gained from defending our clients at both state and federal levels. Below, we will take a look at some common examples of this type of federal crime and help present options for your next steps.
How is this crime defined?
In the state of Florida, insurance fraud is defined as an act in which false information is provided to the insured individual’s insurance company or to the provider of another individual resulting in money or services being provided to the individual who initially came forth with the false information.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Examples of insurance fraud
This type of criminal case can be be complex. Here are a few examples of cases where individuals have made inaccurate and intentionally misleading claims to carriers for financial gain.
- faking an automobile accident
- false damage claims
- overstating damages
- false stolen vehicle reports
- burning of property intentionally
- falsifying a personal injury
- medical insurance fraud (may be a federal crime)
- life insurance fraud
For example, if an individual has an insurance policy that promises to replace their vehicle if it is stolen or totaled. The individual decides to hide his or her vehicle at a relative’s home and claim that it was stolen. Police reports are filed, and funds are received for the value of the vehicle from the carrier. This is an example of insurance fraud. The individual could face allegations of fraud from the insurance company, and, eventually, law enforcement.
An individual gets into a car accident after another vehicle runs a stop sign. The accident victim calls the insurance company and describes the accident immediately as during an on-scene assessment. The caller is transferred to a claims expert who either intentionally or accidentally makes mistakes when filling out the initial claims report. It’s also possible that the accident victim doesn’t always remember things clearly at first. Later, when a claims adjuster comes to assess damages in person, a decision is made that the reports don’t match. As a result, the carrier chooses to deny the individual the financial payments and coverage promises stated in the policy. The individual feels wronged and pursues the company for the money he or she is rightly owed. The company then decides to investigate the case further, and claims that the individual has committed insurance fraud by making false claims in statements. This is just one example of how a carrier may claim that fraud has been committed when it, in fact, has not been. If this scenario sounds anything like something you’ve experienced, immediately retain an experienced Tampa insurance fraud lawyer to protect your rights.
Penalties you may face
Insurance fraud may be treated as a felony or a misdemeanor in the state of Florida. The penalties can range from small fines to large fines with long prison sentences. The information in your case and how things shake out in court will have a big impact on what sentencing will look like. Because insurance fraud cases can be extremely complex, the extent of damages claimed, amount of money received, aggressiveness of the carrier, and tendencies of the judge you get, can all decide what potential penalties may be.
Can it be a federal offense?
Insurance fraud can become a federal offense if federal agencies are involved. Examples of this include healthcare fraud and some accidents. Federal cases can lead to steep fines, long prison sentences, and more. If you believe that your case may lead to charges from federal agencies, it is essential that you obtain legal representation immediately. Joffe Law, P.A. is qualified to defend Tampa and Hillsborough County clients at both state and federal levels.
How common is this crime in Tampa?
Recently, allegations of insurance fraud have been on the rise in Florida. In some cases, companies accuse innocent people of committing a crime in order to avoid paying out settlements. When a claim is submitted, you probably already realize that the carrier will be losing money to pay the claim or settlement. This means that insurance companies will sometimes do everything that they can to avoid paying what they owe. Your case is likely unique so your defense strategy will have to be equally as unique. Joffe Law, P.A. can defend your case or help you build a mitigation strategy if you have been accused of fraud. In some cases, innocent individuals are being unfairly attacked by large carriers. No matter what your situation is, you have rights and legal entitlements that our Tampa insurance fraud defense attorneys can help you protect.
Experienced criminal lawyers on your side
If you have been accused of insurance fraud and are living in Tampa, Florida, or any of the surrounding areas, Joffe Law, P.A. can help you. We have a helpful and caring legal team who can give your case the time and attention that it demands. Your rights matter and we want to hear your side of the story. Time is of the essence; the sooner you contact a qualified legal expert like the ones at our firm, the better the outcome of your case will be.