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Posted on March 5, 2013 by Law Office of Brett A Podolsky
The following article was provided by Adam Rosenblum and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Law Offices of Brett A. Podolsky.
What Generally Constitutes Insurance Fraud?
One of the most commonly charged white collar crimes in Texas is insurance fraud. Insurance fraud can be related to auto insurance, worker’s compensation claims, medical insurance, homeowner insurance and life insurance policies. Texas is very tough on insurance fraud claims because there are many innocent parties that can be affected by insurance fraud. Investigating and prosecuting a claim for fraud can be a very expensive endeavor and as such the insurance company winds up passing the costs onto its customers.
There are many serious penalties and consequences to being convicted of insurance fraud in Texas. In general most cases result in a criminal record, heavy fines and even jail time. What many people fail to realize is that insurance fraud is defined as a crime of moral turpitude, which means that it is an act of the lowest morals or community standard. A crime of moral turpitude in many cases will have a negative impact on a person’s eligibility for certain job, ability to pursue educational opportunities and can result in a loss of professional license and can have immigration consequences as well.
What Are The Sentencing Guidelines For Insurance Fraud In The State Of Texas?
Under Tex. Penal Code § 35.02(a), an individual is charged with insurance fraud if they commit certain actions in support of a claim for payment under an insurance policy with the intent to deceive or defraud the can be charged with insurance fraud if they commit certain actions in support of a claim for payment under an insurance policy with the intent to defraud or deceive an insurer. Depending on the value of the claim involved, insurance fraud can result in a Class C misdemeanor to a first degree felony charge in Texas. Sentencing can vary depending on the form of insurance fraud, whether the offense can cause death or injury, and the value of the claim. Below we have listed the penalties for insurance fraud offenses in Texas as they are listed in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code.
- Class C misdemeanor if the value of the claim is less than $50, which is punishable by a fine up to $500.
- Class B misdemeanor if the value of the claim is $50 or more but less than $500, which is punishable by a jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $2,000.
- Class A misdemeanor if the value of the claim is $500 or more but less than $1,500, which is punishable by a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine up to $4,000.
- State prison sentences can be imposed if the value of the claim is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000, which is punishable by a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- A third degree felony is charged where the value of the claim is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- A second degree felony is charged where the claim is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000, which is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- A first degree felony is charged where the value of the claim is $200,000 or more or the offense places an individual at risk of death or serious bodily injury, which is punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Why You Should I Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney For My Insurance Fraud Case?
Just because you were arrested on suspicions of insurance fraud does not mean that it will end in being found guilty of the charge. The prosecution must prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a heavy burden that must be met by the prosecution and they are required to prove every element of the crime. Call an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney that can help you build a solid legal defense and protect your rights.