Insurance fraud charges are very serious. Even if the state does not convict you on any charges, the accusations alone can ruin your reputation and make it impossible for you to keep your current job or to find a new one. To protect your future, it is a good idea to contact an insurance fraud lawyer as soon as you learn of the charges against you.
Attorney Mike McKneely understands how stressful it can be to face such serious charges. He can protect your rights throughout the legal process, while also fighting for the best possible outcome in your case. We will leverage our skills to defend you from the charges you face, and protect your good reputation.
Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today at (559) 443-7442 for a consultation with an experienced Fresno fraud attorney.
What Types of Crimes Constitute Insurance Fraud?
Below are some examples of crimes that merit insurance fraud charges in California:
- Intentionally causing a car accident to recover compensation from an insurance claim
- Intentionally making a false, duplicate, or inflated health insurance claim (e.g., billing insurance for procedures that did not occur, billing insurance twice, etc.)
- Filing a fraudulent injury or loss claim
- Preparing a fraudulent claim for another person
- Committing arson with the intent to collect an insurance benefit
- Filing a false workers’ compensation claim
Burden of Proof in a Fresno Insurance Fraud Case
California has three primary laws that outline how the state handles insurance fraud cases. These include:
- Chapter 12 of the California Insurance Code
- California Penal Code § 550
- California Labor Code § 3700.5
Based on these laws, there is a very specific burden of proof placed on the prosecutor in these cases. The prosecutor can only win the case against you by proving the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You intended to commit fraud. The state cannot convict you if you accidentally committed insurance fraud. Known as a specific intent crime, the prosecutor must prove you knowingly committed insurance fraud.
- You completed the fraud. This may be as simple as a purposefully misleading statement to the insurance company or falsifying written documents.
- The intent to commit fraud and the act of fraud occurred at the same time.
It is important to note that no money has to change hands for it to be insurance fraud. If police catch a suspect before they receive any type of payout from the insurance company, the police still have everything they need to send the case to the grand jury as long as they can meet the three criteria above.
Potential Penalties for an Insurance Fraud Conviction
California Penal Code § 550 outlines the potential punishments for an insurance fraud conviction. A number of factors go into your sentence, including the value of the falsified claim.
When the amount in question is below $950 and there are no previous offenses, a conviction could bring:
- Up to six months in county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Both the fine and jail time
A more serious felony insurance fraud conviction could call for:
- Up to five years in state prison
- A $50,000 fine
- Both the fine and prison time
In some cases, insurance fraud merits federal charges. If this applies in your case, you could be looking at substantially elevated penalties.
In addition to these penalties, an insurance fraud conviction could also include other consequences, such as:
- Loss of certain government benefits
- A permanent criminal record that affects your ability to get a job
- Loss of professional licenses
- Loss of immigration visa or work permit
- Losing your job
- Difficulty getting approved to rent a home
- Significant time spent away from your family
- Other social impacts
Insurance fraud charges are scary, but remember, a charge does not equal a conviction. You have options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to obtain a dismissal, acquittal, or lesser penalties.
Defending Against Fresno Insurance Fraud Charges
There is no one-size-fits-all defense for an insurance fraud case. Fresno insurance fraud attorney Michael McKneely will investigate the allegations against you, learn about your goals, analyze the evidence in your case, and use that information to craft a robust defense on your behalf.
We are here to help you navigate the criminal justice system, and will be with you every step of the way. We will fight for dismissal of your case when possible, and will aggressively pursue a not-guilty verdict if we must take the case to trial. We are here to defend you against false accusations and protect your reputation.
Some of the more common defenses we may use in your insurance fraud case include:
- Showing you had no intent to commit a crime, (i.e., you were not knowingly trying to defraud the insurance company or other parties)
- Demonstrating you never acted on the fraud, often arguing that all documents were truthful to the best of your knowledge
- Mistaken identity or false accusation
- Problems with the arrest or other Constitutional violations
Let Fresno Insurance Fraud Lawyer Mike McKneely Help You Navigate the Criminal Justice System
Insurance fraud charges can be scary, especially if you did not realize your actions were breaking the law. Do not risk your future by facing the prosecution alone. Insurance fraud attorney Mike McKneely will listen to your side of the story and help you develop a solid defense against the prosecution’s case against you.
We fight for what is best for all our clients, and we will fight for you. We will represent you to the prosecutors, judge, and jury, and fight for a dismissal, acquittal, or lesser penalties if your case goes to court.
At Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer, we have been helping people just like you for more than a decade. We know what we need to do to win your case and clear your name. Contact our Fresno office at (559) 443-7442 today. We offer free initial consultations.
Call Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer today to set up a free consultation. If you’re facing insurance fraud charges in California, preserve your legal rights by contacting us right away. Fresno criminal defense lawyer Michael McKneely has been on both sides of the criminal justice system, so he knows what to expect and how to make the process easier for you.