Fraud detectives from the California Department of Insurance recently arrested more than 24 people in connection with alleged auto insurance fraud. The suspects were held for various types of auto insurance fraud, which included allegations of:
- Staging collisions in order to defraud insurance companies
- Submitting fraudulent claims
- Intentionally damaging vehicles and claiming insurance proceeds for the damage
Investigators maintained that the altogether, the suspects received tens of thousands of dollars in insurance proceeds from the insurers. Another element of their fraudulent scheme involved stealing identities and using them to submit false claims.
The arrest came after insurance companies referred several suspected fraudulent claims to the government agency. If convicted, the defendants may face up to 5 years of imprisonment and hefty fines as penalties.
Anyone accused of insurance fraud is entitled to raise appropriate fraud defenses that may lead to a dismissal or reduction of the charges against them.
Insurance Fraud in California
Sections 548, 549 and 550 of the California Penal Code punish insurance fraud which includes the following acts:
- Damaging, hiding, or abandoning a vehicle with the intention of collecting car insurance proceeds for it;
- Submitting a fraudulent auto insurance claim for a loss due to damage, destruction, or theft of a vehicle;
- Presenting double or multiple insurance claims for the same loss, with intent to defraud;
- Causing or participating in a vehicular accident, with intent to collect the auto insurance proceeds;
- Submitting a written statement containing false or misleading information in connection with an insurance claim.
Some Auto Insurance Fraud Defenses
To secure a conviction, the prosecutor has the burden of proving that the defendant intentionally committed the act complained of and with the intention of obtaining a benefit from an insurer. Fraudulent intent is therefore an essential element in auto insurance fraud.
If you are charged with auto insurance fraud, your experienced criminal defense attorney can raise the defense of lack of fraudulent intent. Alternatively, your lawyer can weigh the evidence against you and assert the prosecution’s lack of sufficient evident to support the fraud charges.
In Beverly Hills, Pasadena, San Fernando, Van Nuys, and other parts of Los Angeles, the fraud defense attorneys of Gurovich, Berk & Associates, APC are backed by years of proven experience in crimes such as auto insurance fraud. Our Firm has helped clients by getting the charges dismissed or reduced, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Call us today at (213) 385-1555 to speak to one of our approachable attorneys about your particular situation.