Insurance fraud is a common white-collar crime in Texas which requires a smart criminal defense attorney to put up a sturdy defense in the court of law. In some cases, prosecutors may try to make an example out of a defendant by imposing the maximum possible penalties on him. These penalties can be very severe and may result in hefty fines or confinement. Additionally, some individuals may suffer from harsh professional ramifications.
The crime of insurance fraud is described in the Texas Penal Code at § 35.02(a). According to the criminal code, someone commits insurance fraud when he makes an insurance claim with the intention of deceiving an insurance company. Here are a few examples of situations that may result in a person being convicted of insurance fraud:
- He prepares a statement that he knows contains false information.
- He includes misleading details on his insurance application form.
- He receives payment or benefits for defrauding the company on behalf of someone else.
The Possible Consequences of a Conviction
The penalties for insurance fraud can vary greatly, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Whether the crime is considered a felony or a misdemeanor plays a substantial role in the potential punishment. Other factors that affect the potential punishment of the crime include the type of insurance fraud that was committed, whether the offense had the potential to result in death or injury and the potential value of the invalid claim.
Misdemeanor insurance fraud cases carry a minimum punishment of up to $500 of a fine. For an insurance fraud conviction that is considered a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment is one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. A felony charge minimum sentence includes a jail term of 180 days and/or a fine up to $10,000. The maximum sentence for a felony insurance fraud conviction is 99 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
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Insurance Fraud Defense
All insurance fraud offense contain the expression “with the intent,” which is usually followed by the expression “to defraud or deceive an insurer.” Additionally, the language may also include the word “knows” in reference to false or misleading information. This means that the prosecution has to show that a defendant knew that information was false and wanted to deceive the insurance company. If the defendant was simply mistaken or was not attempting deception, he may have a viable defense.
Insurance Fraud Lawyer
Mario Madrid is an experienced criminal defense attorney. He has prior experience working as a municipal judge and an assistant district attorney.