Insurance fraud charges can trap Polk County residents

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Most residents of Polk County have to deal with insurers, sometimes on a regular basis.

For example, they have to apply for and maintain mandatory automobile insurance if they wish to drive on Florida’s roads, and most mortgage lenders will require a homeowner to have insurance on their property.

Most people also need health insurance in order to pay for necessary medical and other health services. Other forms of insurance, like life insurance, are also popular.

Residents of this state have an obligation to be truthful with their insurance carriers both when applying for coverage and when filing claims for payment.

Likewise, those who claim insurance benefits on another person’s policy, accident victims and medical providers for example, also have to be truthful.

Like other states, Florida imposes penalties for people who breach this obligation. In Florida, insurance fraud is charged as a felony offense.

The more money at stake, the stiffer the punishment is for insurance fraud. If the amount in question is over $100,000, for example, a person could face up to 30 years in prison. For lower amounts, under $20,000, the maximum jail sentence is still 5 years.

The court may also impose under penalties and require restitution.

Insurance fraud covers a wide range of activities

Florida’s insurance fraud statutes are broad. Of course, they cover the obvious cases of dishonesty, like setting one’s own house on fire or intentionally wrecking one’s car to collect insurance proceeds.

However, even what seems like a white lie, like padding one’s claim or omitting a traffic violation on one’s application for automobile insurance, can constitute insurance fraud. In the world of health insurance, improper billing can lead to a medical provider’s being accused of fraud.

In some cases, even omitting information on an application or in a claim can constitute fraud. In short, Floridians are expected to do more than just not lie to an insurance carrier. They have an obligation to be rigorously honest.

Because these laws are so broad, it can be easy for insurance companies and authorities to confuse fraud with an honest mistake or even regrettable but non-criminal carelessness or sloppiness.

Anyone who has dealings with insurance carriers may face a fraud allegation. In such cases, the accused person will want to understand all available legal options.