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What is insurance fraud and what are the penalties?

Insurance can be a confusing thing to navigate. Unfortunately, there are those in California and elsewhere who have been accused of exaggerating claims or making false claims in order to get certain services covered. This is known as insurance fraud, which can garner significant penalties if one is convicted of such actions.

Just about anyone can be accused of insurance fraud. Individual policy owners as well as service providers, such as doctor's offices and auto repair shops, might submit a bogus claim for one reason or another. While there is nothing wrong with using one's insurance, it is how claims are submitted that matters. If costs are inflated, if work is never performed or if injuries and damages are invented to justify filing claims, those responsible could face criminal charges.

The type of insurance fraud one is accused of committing will determine the severity of the charges filed and the associated penalties. The conviction of a misdemeanor offense may result in one year in county jail and/or the payment of a fine of up to $10,000. A felony offense is far worse, often leading to imprisonment of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the defrauded amount. The payment of restitution may also be required.

The simple truth is that innocent people may be accused of insurance fraud. Filing claims with errors happens. To fight an insurance fraud case in California, it will be imperative to show that there was no intent to commit fraud. This is not always easy, but it is possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist in fighting such cases by investigating and reviewing the facts and pursuing legal options that are in the best interests of the client.

Source: FindLaw, "California Insurance Fraud Laws", Accessed on Jan. 25, 2016

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results