Florida and Personal Injury Protection Insurance Fraud
These days, when fraudulent activities are covered and discussed in the media, the focus revolves around fraud related to mortgage loans and other credit and financial services and products. In fact, you don’t hear much about personal injury insurance fraud, a specific type of white collar crime that was booming in Florida just a few years ago. The decreased focus on personal injury protection (PIP) fraud may be because Florida has been working hard to combat this type of white collar crime, which has occurred quite regularly within the state. PIP fraud rings have an assortment of elements that are all driven by monetary gain. First, an entrepreneurial minded organizer will recruit others to either stage or purposefully cause a motor vehicle accident. The organizer could be a private citizen, or medical professional willing to vouch for suffered injuries in exchange for compensation from the money received to pay medical bills. After the fraudulent claim regarding injuries supposedly sustained has been submitted and paid out by the insurance company, the funds received are remitted to the involved parties.
Florida Legislature Takes Action
In 2012, a complete overhaul was conducted by the Florida legislature, which began requiring individuals injured in automobile accidents to immediately seek medical treatment within two weeks following their accident. Though this requirement might seem like a no-brainer, the reality is that before this reform, people could claim they had sustained serious injuries in an accident, and receive big payouts from the PIP provider, even if the accident they were in did not result in injuries immediately following their accident. Some would even submit claims for an accident and fraudulently state that injuries they had were caused by the accident, when in reality the injuries occurred after the original accident occurred, or did not even exist at all. Guidelines were also put in place to make PIP fraud look less attractive to white collar criminals by capping the amount of payments that could be received, while also enacting guidelines aimed at lowering the legal costs associated with PIP claims.
In addition to enacting laws aimed at reducing PIP fraud, Florida law enforcement has been aggressively pursuing those committing PIP fraud. In fact at the end of January 2014, 9 suspects were arrested, and charged in 8 separate cases of PIP fraud. The arrested individuals stand accused of being involved in the fraudulent filing of over $242,000 in false PIP claim billing submitted to 11 different insurance carriers.
Do You Need Help Fighting Criminal Charges?
Punishments for white collar crimes are serious and have lasting impacts. If you need legal representation in a fraud suit, or for any other white collar criminal matters, contact white collar criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. in South Florida today.