Insurance fraud occurs when someone deliberately makes a falsified claim to obtain a benefit or advantage to which they are not otherwise entitled, or someone deliberately denies a claim that is due to another entitled party.
The California Department of Insurance (CDI) handles referrals on suspected insurance fraud and they never take such cases lightly. They can charge and prosecute any criminal in a felony case.
The punishment for committing insurance fraud includes probation, fines, community service, restitution, confinement in county jail, and state prison.
In a case when defense attorneys liaise with their clients to make false insurance claims against insurance companies, such an attorney gets blacklisted by the insurance company.
They can do that, especially after the involvement of the special investigation unit, and when there is enough evidence to back up the fraudulent act of such an attorney.
For example, in a memo by one nation’s largest auto and homeowner insurer, State Farm, a State Farm manager instructs employees not to settle claims with the listed attorneys but instead refer their cases to a special new fraud unit for further investigation.
Insurance companies usually have a dedicated team of experienced defense attorneys in a Special Investigation Unit (SIU).
They have previously served in law enforcement for many years, utilizing their experience, knowledge, and techniques in helping to fight fraud for their clients successfully.
They personally involve themselves in investigating in the direction of their clients’ any questionable claims successfully. You, however, have Ehline Law on your side.
California Penal Code 550 PC covers several different forms of California car insurance fraud.
One of these is Penal Code 550(a)(4), presenting a false or fraudulent claim for theft, destruction, damage, or conversion of a motor vehicle.
The legal definition of this form of auto insurance fraud is:
According to the law, the crime of insurance fraud can get prosecuted when:
In California, under Penal Code Sections 548-551, “auto insurance fraud” is an unlawful activity that involves automobile insurance. Auto insurance fraud often occurs when a person:
Established in 1979, the Fraud Division is the law enforcement unit within the California Department of Insurance and is made up of four separate insurance fraud programs:
The Fraud Division Detectives get recognized as the industry’s foremost authorities in insurance fraud.
They have criminal investigative training and give help and training to customers, insurance businesses, law enforcement agencies, and the public/private sector.
Prosecutors in California thoroughly investigate and prosecute auto insurance fraud cases for a few reasons:
If you get charged with California insurance fraud, you and your criminal defense attorney may want to consider the following legal defenses:
You Did Not Act with Fraudulent Intent
Every auto insurance fraud needs evidence of specific intent.
Many times, your auto insurance company may flag a careless mistake on your part as potential fraud and they may report it to the authorities.
Nonetheless, the burden is on the prosecutor, as they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intended to commit fraud and that the act was not a simple mistake.
If you have a strong attorney-client relationship with an aggressive and skilled defense attorney from Ehline Law Firm, you may be able to cast enough doubt on their assertions and they will have to drop all charges or give a not-guilty verdict in a jury trial.
There Is Insufficient Evidence That You Committed Auto Insurance Fraud
Many auto insurance fraud cases become complicated because of the set of facts they base them around. It can be challenging to sort out sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of what really happened—particularly if there are visible convoluted paper trails, circumstantial evidence, or conflicting testimony involved.
An expert Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will find every ambiguity in the prosecutor’s case and help you collect the strongest evidence to prove your innocence.
Call the Ehline Law Firm at (213) 596-9642 to see what our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can do for you.