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Insurance Fraud

Houston Insurance Fraud Lawyer

The monetary impact of insurance fraud hurts not only the insurance companies that pay out the claims, but it is also felt by the public in the form of higher insurance premiums. Insurance fraud is treated by the Texas criminal justice system as a serious crime of moral turpitude and dishonesty. As such, there are severe penalties and consequences for those individuals who are convicted.

Insurance Fraud in Texas

Section 35.02(a) of the Texas Penal Code describes insurance fraud or benefits fraud as occurring when a person files a claim for payment and commits either one of the following actions:

  • Prepares or causes to be prepared a statement that is given to the insurance company when the offender knows the contents are false or misleading
  • Presents or causes another person to present a statement to an insurance company knowing it contains false or misleading information

Another form of insurance fraud in Texas is submitting a false or misleading statement in support of an insurance policy application. Soliciting, offering, paying or receiving a benefit in connection with an insurance policy claim is a crime if the offender does so intending to defraud or deceive an insurance company.

Insurance Fraud Penalties

The penalties judges are authorized to impose on an individual convicted of an insurance fraud crime depend upon the value of the claim, the specific form of the fraud charge involved and whether the fraud could cause death or serious bodily injury. Typical charges and sentences include the following:

  • Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine up to $4,000 if the claim is at least $500 but less than $1,500
  • State jail felony punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine up to $10,000 if the claim is at least $1,500 but less than $20,000
  • Third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 if the claim is at least $20,000 but less than $100,000
  • Second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 if the claim is at least $100,000 but less than $200,000
  • First-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison or life imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000 if the claim is $200,000 or more or if a person was placed at risk of death or serious bodily injury

Insurance Fraud Defenses

Prosecutors must prove each element of the crime of insurance fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled white-collar crimes defense attorney might be able to challenge the evidence on the issue of the accused person’s knowledge of the false or misleading nature of statements submitted to an insurer. The result could be a dismissal, a reduction of the charges or a plea agreement with a reduced sentence.

Visit With an Insurance Fraud Attorney in Houston, TX

If you are facing insurance fraud charges in Houston, call 713-862-8880 to schedule an appointment with Rand Mintzer, Attorney at Law. As an experienced and qualified insurance fraud lawyer, Mr. Mintzer will work to protect your rights in court.