Under California Criminal Fraud, the definition of auto insurance refers to any incidence, actions, omissions that the defendant commit with the intention to defraud the auto insurance company. The rules under California Law are complex, the team of the San Diego Criminal Attorney could help guide you through the legal issues that you are facing.EXAMPLES:
- A woman who abandons her car in the middle of the dessert, with intention to collect the insurance money.
- A man that puts his house on flames to get the insurance money.
- A woman who seek to the auto repair shop a fake receipt to collect more money from the insurance company.
Under the California Penal Code, a defendant commits auto insurance fraud when he/she do any of the following: (1) damage, hide, or abandon your vehicle on purpose, with the intent to collect car insurance proceeds for it; (2) knowingly submit a fraudulent auto insurance claim for a loss due to damage, destruction, or theft of a vehicle; (3) knowingly present two (2) or more auto insurance claims for the same loss, with intent to defraud; (4) Cause or participate in an automobile accident with intent to fraudulently collect the auto insurance proceeds; and/or (5) knowingly present or prepare any written or oral statement as part of an insurance claim that contains false or misleading information, or falsely claim that you live in California on an application for auto insurance. The statute establishes frauds relating with accidents, health/injuries, workers compensation and falsification state of residence with the intention to obtain a less-expensive policy. Further, if someone assist, accomplish or aid another person to commit a criminal auto insurance fraud, the accomplish person could be charge of auto insurance fraud. For instance, it is illegal for a business owner to accept any type of business knowing that the client intends to commit auto insurance fraud.
Thus, there are four types of scenarios in regarding of auto insurance fraud, usually, it is likely that a person will be charge of this crime, if she/he knowingly files a false claim to cover the insurance policy with intention to recover money that is not entitled to. Also, if a person sets his own car on fire with the intention to collect the insurance money, it is likely that he/she is going to face a charge of auto insurance fraud. The third scenario of auto insurance fraud is when someone falsely claims of property stolen of a car, but the person claims that there was 3 thousand dollars inside the car, in which it is not true. In additionally, another common type of auto insurance fraud is when there was a car accident and the damages was about 5 thousand dollars, however, instead of disclosure the real price, the car owner conspired with the mechanic say that the damages were 15 thousand in damages. Finally, another common crime is using the wrong address for auto insurance with the intention to collect more money from the insurance company.
Types of Insurance Fraud?
Auto insurance fraud is a very serious offense, and the laws associated with it are complicated and complex. Some of the more common types of auto insurance fraud include:
- Accidents: exaggerating damage, intentionally creating damage, staging accidents, claiming damages which are unrelated to the accident or abandoning a car with intent in order to make money from a claim.
- Health/Injuries: exaggerating injuries related to an accident, claiming injuries which are unrelated to the accident, falsifying injury-related reports or claims.
- Workers’ Compensation: false-injury claims from accidents, which may result in a workers’ compensation claim.
- Falsifying state of residence in order to obtain a less-expensive policy.
Legal Definition Of California Auto Insurance Fraud
California established different crimes of vehicle insurance fraud, the change and the punishment are going to depend on the facts of each case and in which section someone have violated. The statute defined the insurance fraud from the section 548 to 550 of California Penal Code. For a better understanding, we are going to explain each crime and the elements that the prosecution must show for someone be convicted of auto insurance fraud crimes.
1. Section 548 Pc - Damaging Or Abandoning Vehicle
Under California Penal Code, "every person who willfully injures, destroys, secretes, abandons, or disposes of any property which at the time is insured against loss or damages by theft, or embezzlement, or any casualty with intent to defraud or prejudice the insurer, whether the property is the property or in the possession of that person or any other person is punishable with section 548 PC." In order words, if someone injure, destroy, hide, abandon or dispose of a car or other vehicle that is insured against loss or damage, with the intent to defraud the insurance, it is likely that the prosecution will charge this person of auto insurance fraud under the section 548.
The two main elements that the prosecution must show in court for someone being convicted of insurance fraud, under the 548, are the following:
- The defendant injured, destroyed, hid or abandoned or disposed property that was insured against loss or damage from theft or embezzlement, or any causality other than fire.
- When the defendant did the conduct, he/she intended to defraud or prejudice the insurer.
Furthermore, the Courts understand that the intention to defraud is when someone has intention to deceive the insurance company so as to cause them a loss of money, or else to cause damage to their legal, financial or property rights. Also, a person includes a governmental agency, a corporation, a business, association or a body politic.
Someone can be convicted of auto insurance fraud, even if the insurance does not suffer a financial loses, the economic damages of the victim are not necessary to constitute the auto insurance fraud.
The penalty under this crime "is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three, or five years and by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000)."EXAMPLE:
Clark is having some problems with paying his bills. Clark has a Ferrari’s title under his name, on night, he decided to damage his car to collect the insurance money. Clark destroyed his car with a baseball bat and called the Police, saying that his ex-girlfriend did the vandalism. However, the Police discovery that Clark committed the vandalism.
In this case, Clark could be charge of auto insurance fraud, since he destroyed his car and intended to defraud the insurer.
2. Penal Code 550 Pc Fraudulent Claims.
The section 550 (a) 4 established a fraudulent claim as "It is unlawful to do any of the following, or to aid, abet, solicit, or conspire with any person to do any of the Following: Knowingly present a false or fraudulent claim for the payments of a loss for theft, destruction, damage, or conversion of a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle part, or contents of a motor vehicle."
In order for someone be guilty of auto insurance fraud with fraudulent claims, the prosecution must prove the following facts:
- The defendant falsely or fraudulently claimed payment for a loss due to theft, destruction, damage, or conversion of a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle part, or the contents of a motor vehicle.
- The defendant knew that the claim was false or fraudulent; and
- The defendant submitted the claim, with intention to defraud.
Moreover, a person who “knowingly prepare, make, or subscribe any writing, with the intent to present or use it, or to allow it to be presented, in support of any false or fraudulent claim” could also be guilty of auto insurance fraud.
For instance: an auto repair shop who helps a person to defraud the insurance company, by making a fake receipt of the repaired car, in order to over claim the insurance money, could also be charged of this crime.
3. Penal Code 550 Pc Multiple Claims
The section 550 (a) 4 established a fraudulent claim as " (a) It is unlawful to do any of the following, or to aid, abet, solicit, or conspire with any person to do any of the Following: Knowingly present a false or fraudulent claim for the payments of a loss for theft, destruction, damage, or conversion of a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle part, or contents of a motor vehicle."
In order for someone be guilty of auto insurance fraud with multiple claims, the prosecution must prove the following facts:
- Present two (2) or more claims for the same loss to the same or several different auto insurers.
- Knowing that you are submitting two (2) or more claims for the same loss.
- With intent to defraud.
4. Penal Code 550 Pc Causing An Accident
The section 550 (a) 3 established a fraudulent claim as Knowingly cause or participate in a vehicular collision, or
any other vehicular accident, for the purpose of presenting any false or fraudulent claim."
In order for someone be guilty of auto insurance fraud with multiple claims, the prosecution must prove the following facts:
- The defendant caused or participated in a vehicle accident.
- The defendant had knowledge that the purpose of the accident was to present a false or fraudulent insurance claim.
- The defendant you submitted the claim, with intention to defraud.
A conviction for automobile insurance fraud in the state of California is a critical matter, and penalties can be severe. Most cases are considered wobblers, meaning that the prosecutor is able to charge the case as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on specifics of the case, including criminal history. If the case is charged as a misdemeanor, penalties may include:
- Informal probation.
- A maximum fine of up to $50,000 or twice the amount of the fraud, whichever is higher.
Felony penalties may include:
- formal probation, up to five (5) years in county jail, and a fine of up to $50,000; or, twice the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater.
Insurance fraud is taken very seriously. It is often considered a severe crime due to the amount of money involved. If you have been accused of auto insurance fraud, please do not hesitate to contact our staff to discuss your rights, defenses and what to expect with the California legal system. We are prepared to defend against personal, or group acts of insurance fraud.
The offense of credit card fraud could be charged as either misdemeanor or a felony, depends on the facts of the defendant's conduct. That is called wobbler in California, the prosecution has an option to charge the defendant with both crimes. Usually, if a person Is convicted with this type of crime, the offense is going to be on the defendant’s criminal records. If you are looking for a job and the employer does a criminal background check and there is an offense register, it is likely that the employer won't hire someone with a misdemeanor or felony background. If you have been charged with credit card fraud, you should promptly look for a Lawyer. San Diego Criminal Attorney has a great deal of success defending our clients and we can help you build legal defenses that it could be used to contest these types of charges. If you would like more information, please contact our successful staff to help you with your legal problems.
Your criminal defense attorney at the San Diego Criminal Attorney can use various defenses to get the best outcome possible for you. If you had no intention of committing auto insurance fraud, your attorney will help ensure that the prosecutor cannot prove that you intended to defraud and your case may be simply dropped. Automobile insurance fraud claims are often difficult to prove because they revolve around circumstantial evidence. Your defense attorney can work to highlight that circumstantial evidence, and fight to prove that the case has insufficient evidence. If the case warrants it, we can also help you with a plea bargain, allowing you the opportunity to receive a less severe charge, resulting in fewer penalties.
Should i Talk to an Attorney if i’m Accused of Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud is taken very seriously. It is often considered a severe crime due to the amount of money involved. If you have been accused of auto insurance fraud, please do not hesitate to contact our experts at Ross Law Center to discuss your rights, defenses and what to expect with the California legal system. We are prepared to defend against personal, or group acts of insurance fraud.
How Can We Help?
Your criminal defense attorney at the Ross Law Center can use various defenses to get the best outcome possible for you. If you had no intention of committing auto insurance fraud, your attorney will help ensure that the prosecutor cannot prove that you intended to defraud and your case may be simply dropped. Automobile insurance fraud claims are often difficult to prove because they revolve around circumstantial evidence. Your defense attorney can work to highlight that circumstantial evidence, and fight to prove that the case has insufficient evidence. If the case warrants it, we can also help you with a plea bargain, allowing you the opportunity to receive a less severe charge, resulting in fewer penalties.
Getting Arrested For Auto Insurance Fraud Does Not Necessarily Mean That You will Be Charged With The Crime. We Invite You To Contact The Ross Law Center Today For Your Free Consultation.
Recent Insurance Fraud Cases Handled By Our Law Firm
Case Result: Robert l. October 2014
Client contacted the Ross Law Center after receiving a phone call from his insurance company regarding his recent claim that his vehicle was involved in an accident. The insurance company claimed that the policy had lapsed and just a few days earlier the client’s wife called and reinstated the policy. A day or so after the client filed a new vehicle accident and damage claim.. The insurance company alleged that the accident actually occurred while the insurance policy was actually cancelled due to non-payment. The insurance company stated that an investigator from the company would be calling the couple and wanted then to come into an office and answer questions. The couple immediately called Ross Law Center and scheduled a free case evaluation and consultation. After reviewing the circumstances the couple retained the Law Firm and after several weeks Ross Law Center successfully mitigated the claim directly with the insurance company with nothing referred to the District Attorneys office. If you or loved one find yourself in a similar situation DO NOT make any statements and call Ross Law Center to schedule your free consultation.
Case Result: Michael g. December 2014
Client contacted Ross Law Center after a detective in the Vehicular/ Insurance Fraud Division came to his residence and left a card. The client was being investigated for allergy taking a vehicle to Mexico and leaving it there and then several days later reporting it stolen. The insurance company recovered the car and after their investigation referred the matter to s detective in the San Diego Police Department. Client scheduled a free consultation and as of today Ross Law Center has carefully and thoughtfully avoided any charges from being filed as of this date. The case is still under review and we are continuing to strive diligently to get the case turned down or rejected. Don’t try to go it alone and make critical mistakes, if you’ve been contacted for any reason regarding insurance fraud, welfare fraud, state assistance fraud, or accused of fraud in the workplace, call Ross Law Center and schedule your Free Consultation today.