Whether you are aware of it or not insurance fraud affects the innocent and guilty alike. Investigating an insurance fraud claim is a very expensive endeavor and when you see insurance companies charging higher rates then it most likely can be attributed to the fact the insurance company spent a lot of time and money investigating and prosecuting false insurance claims.
Insurance fraud is a serious a crime and New Jersey has some of the nation’s toughest insurance fraud laws. If you are being charged with defrauding an insurance company in New Jersey than you should know that your case is going to be investigated aggressively and prosecuted determinedly. In fact, New Jersey has set up a separate office that specifically handles prosecuting insurance fraud cases known as the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. You should consult with an attorney immediately to better understand your options and protect your rights.
What Is Insurance Fraud?
Under New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C:21-4.6, an insurance fraud offense occurs when someone knowingly omits a material fact or makes a false or misleading statement to an insurance company. In New Jersey insurance fraud is a crime and is considered a third degree felony.
Multiple instances of insurance fraud can be a second degree offense with even stricter penalties. When a claim is filed, any information that is provided in the application itself or thereafter that misleads the insurance company in order to acquire insurance money or acquire a renewal in policy is considered fraud.
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In 2012, Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction through most of New Jersey and other parts of the east coast. This means that insurance companies are real busy processing millions of claims made by homeowners and many of those claims involve false or misleading statements. Contractors also take advantage of insurance money by targeting unsuspecting homeowners and taking advantage of insurance claims. Some of these fraudsters exaggerate the damage on a home after a storm.
What Are Other Types Of Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud can occur with respect to any type of insurance including auto, health, life, worker’s compensation, homeowner and Medicaid or Medicare insurance. Types of fraud include:
- False Worker’s Compensation claims
- False or misleading property loss claims
- Arson for profit
- Staged car accidents for insurance settlements
- Health care claims fraud
- Falsely obtaining unemployment insurance benefits when you are working
- Small accidents in collecting an insurance check without fixing vehicle
- Home repair fraud
- Stolen car scams
- Unnecessary medical procedures
Should You Hire An Attorney?
Even mere misrepresentations on an insurance claim can sometimes lead to a criminal investigation. You must remember that you are innocent until proven guilty and that the prosecution must prove their case before obtaining a conviction.
A skilled defense attorney may be able to find holes in the prosecution’s case and weaken the case against you. Hiring the right attorney to provide a strong legal defense is critical to beating the charges especially at the beginning of any criminal investigation. If you are facing insurance fraud charges in the State of New Jersey, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm for assistance.