Imagine that you have been in a car accident. You were not seriously injured and the damage to your car was minor. You exchange information with the driver that caused the accident and you call his insurance company. Since the wreck was very obviously the other driver's fault, his insurance immediately offers to pay for the damages and schedules an adjuster to come look at your car.
When the adjuster arrives, he makes a full inspection of the condition of your vehicle and makes his report. He included damage your car had already sustained in anther fender bender. This was the perfect opportunity for you to get your entire car fixed at no cost. Unfortunately, you have now committed insurance fraud by submitting a false claim.
In Texas, if a person intentionally defrauds, deceives, or misleads an insurance company, it is a violation of state law. Usually, this type of fraud is committed by submitting a false claim or false information in the initial insurance application process. In general, any deceptive act that results in an insurance benefit is a criminal act. If the state has charged you with insurance fraud, a criminal defense attorney in the Houston area can review your case. Read further to learn more about Texas insurance fraud laws.
There are several defenses that your attorney may look at to defend you against a fraud charge. The most common defenses include lack of intent to deceive, the claim was not false to begin with, and mistake of fact. Another common defense is that a portion of the claim resulted from a legitimate loss that the policy should cover. This particular defense will leave you owing for the invalid portion of the claim.
If the court hands down a conviction for insurance fraud, the penalties will more than likely be based on the amount of the claim. On the lowest end of the spectrum, a claim of $50, which is a Class C misdemeanor, could land you with a $500 fine. However, if the court convicts you of first-degree felony fraud, which is a claim of $200,000 or more, you could face up to 99 years in state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
If you have been charged with insurance fraud, it is important to understand your rights and options. Contact a local Texas criminal defense attorney for advice on your defense strategy.