If you ask people what the most boring job in the world is, most of them will name jobs related to insurance. Insurance sales agents, insurance claims adjusters, and actuaries do not have a reputation for being clever sleuths or action heroes who catch criminals in the act, but the files on their computers, including those endless hours of recorded phone calls, can be important evidence in cases of insurance fraud. Almost every adult in Texas has car insurance, and some also have homeowners’ insurance, renter’s insurance, or business liability insurance, too. If you have filed a claim with any of these insurance policies, you have probably been disappointed by the paltry amount of money you got as a payout. That’s right, the insurance companies are in the business of using whatever tactics they can, some of them quite shady, to justify paying you as little as possible. You can hire personal injury lawyers, corporate lawyers, and consumer law attorneys if that happens to you. If you lie to insurance companies, however, you can be charged with insurance fraud. If you are being accused of insurance fraud, contact a Texas fraud crimes lawyer.
What Is Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud is when you lie to insurance companies for your own financial gain. Most cases of insurance fraud involve inflating the value of your financial losses on an insurance claim, such as the following examples:
· Telling the car insurance company that your car repairs after an accident cost more than they did
· Submitting a claim to your homeowners’ insurance company for damage caused by a severe thunderstorm, and also including in the claim problems with your house that already needed repair before the storm
· Submitting a homeowners’ insurance claim after your house gets burglarized and exaggerating the financial losses you suffered, where some of the allegedly stolen items on your claim are things you never even owned
The classic example of insurance fraud is a disgruntled business owner who, having decided to close his business, sets fire to it and then tells the insurance company that the fire was an accident; he hopes to use the insurance payout to open a new business or retire early. You can also be charged with insurance fraud if you lie on an application, so that your premiums will be lower.
Penalties for Insurance Fraud in Texas
The penalties for insurance fraud vary according to the value of the false claim. For example, if you defraud the insurance company out of less than $100 (for example, you knew that it cost $425 to repair your car but you intentionally round it up to $500), it is a class C misdemeanor. On the other hand, if you defraud the insurance company out of more than $300,000, it is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison. Making false statements on an insurance application is a state jail felony.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Insurance Fraud Charges
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for making false statements to an insurance company. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas to discuss your case.