Man Sentenced for Fraudulent Scheme Involving Staged Car Crashes
A Jacksonville man was recently sentenced to six years in state prison after having been found guilty of participating in an intentional motor vehicle crash and filing false insurance claims. The investigation began when authorities looked into a rehabilitation clinic they believed provided unnecessary treatment for nonexistent injuries. Once the clinic was paid for providing the treatment, the convicted Jacksonville man paid those who participated in the scheme.
Insurance Fraud in Florida
Florida has previously been described as a hotbed of fraudulent schemes and activities. Some estimates claim that insurance fraud causes $80 billion in losses amongst insurance companies in Florida each year. Usually the targets of fraudulent schemes are victims seen as having “big pockets” – wealthy individuals and businesses like insurance companies.
A charge of insurance fraud can be filed against an individual who knowingly makes a false statement to the insurance company knowing that the statement is false at the time it is made with the intent to defraud the insurance company or otherwise obtain a benefit under the terms of an insurance policy that the accused would not have otherwise been entitled to. Insurance fraud also occurs where an individual provides “incomplete” information or conceals information about a material fact related to the claim.
Defenses to Insurance Fraud
It does not matter if the false, misleading, or incomplete statement is never actually presented to an insurance company or other entity connected with processing the claim: the mere fact of preparing such a statement with the requisite intent is enough to support a conviction. So, then, how do individuals charged with insurance fraud defend themselves?
One popular method of defeating such charges is to attack the state’s evidence regarding the accused’s mental state. In order to support a conviction, the evidence must show the false, misleading, or incomplete statement was made with an intent to defraud. In order for this intent to exist, evidence must clearly establish that the accused knew that the statement was false, misleading, or incomplete at the time it was made but he or she made the statement anyway. It is not a crime, for example, to state that you suffered neck injuries but are later determined to have not suffered any neck injuries unless the prosecution can show you knew at the time you made the statement that you did not have neck injuries. (Now it would be a crime if you were seen by a doctor, determined to not have any neck injuries, but attempted to conceal this from the insurance company.)
Contact Our Office for Aggressive Criminal Defense Representation
The law office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. is dedicated to helping residents of Florida defend themselves against criminal charges in Florida state and federal courts. Charges of fraud – especially insurance fraud – can involve complex evidence, requiring a knowledgeable attorney like Jeffrey S. Weiner to gather and analyze the evidence in order to form a solid trial strategy. Contact his office today by calling (305) 670-9919 or contacting the office online to discuss your case and charges.