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Florida has complex laws regarding insurance fraud, and the penalties for a violation can be extremely harsh. Anyone who has been charged or is being investigated for insurance fraud should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately, as law enforcement officers can take advantage of unrepresented defendants. Never talk to a law enforcement officer or any government official about a potential violation without consulting a lawyer first. Even innocent statements can be taken out of context and may limit your ability to defend yourself down the road. Benjamin Herbst is a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in insurance fraud cases in all South Florida jurisdictions. He can be reached anytime for a free consultation at (954) 543-0305, and has flexible meeting hours in his Fort Lauderdale and West Palm locations. Benjamin is also willing to meet in any convenient location from Miami to Port St. Lucie to discuss your case. Do not gamble with your future by attempting to take on the government without a skilled an experienced insurance fraud lawyer. Benjamin not only fights for the best results in all criminal cases, but is available via cell phone to all his clients for access on nights, holidays and weekends. He understands that there are few experiences more stressful than going through criminal prosecution, and is always available to provide support and counseling his clients and their families.
Regardless of the type of scheme, insurance fraud cases are typically separated by the value of the fraud or the attempt to commit the fraud. There are a few exceptions, which will be discussed below, but the general rule is that any act of insurance fraud with a value of less than $20,000 will be considered a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Even first-time offenders could face a significant jail sentence if the case is not handled properly. If the value is between $20,000 and $100,000 the charge will become a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years, and a first-degree felony if the value is over $100,000. A first-degree felony insurance fraud charge carries up to 30 years in prison. All offenses carry hefty fines as well, which can be up to $5,000 for a first offense.
The type of acts that constitute insurance fraud are not narrowly defined under Florida law, which means numerous types of conduct can be deemed criminal. The most obvious acts are making false statements, either oral or written, to an insurance company with the intent to receive an unlawful financial gain. Giving incomplete or misleading information about a material fact to an insurer may also be considered an act of fraud. The person who makes the false or misleading statement, and anyone else of participated in devising the plan to defraud could be liable under Florida criminal law, and it does not matter whether the insurance company actually paid any money on the claim. The intent to defraud is punishable by the same penalties as actually being successful in carrying out the scheme. If you are suspected of being involved in a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in South Florida, criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst is available to offer a consultation about what defenses may be available in your case.
Florida law provides an especially harsh penalties for motor vehicle insurance fraud. Any person who is convicted of participating in an intentional scheme to crash a motor vehicle or to create false documentation of a motor vehicle crash faces second-degree felony charges with a minimum mandatory 2-year prison sentence. It may also be a felony to solicit a person who was involved in a motor vehicle crash related to filing a tort claim for a motor vehicle accident. This law applies to attorneys, doctors, government officials and the general public. Other specific provisions of the insurance fraud laws include making it illegal for contractors and mechanics to agree to alter their fees or repay deductibles to the customer with the intent to defraud. Repayment of deductibles can result in third-degree felony charges under Florida law. Other specific insurance fraud provisions that Benjamin handles are unemployment compensation fraud, health insurance fraud, burning with the intent to defraud, making false invoices, and filing false or misleading statements and supporting documents to government agencies. Benjamin Herbst has successfully defended numerous clients charged with insurance fraud, and has the experience and knowledge to achieve the best possible results. He defends clients in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, as well as the Treasure Coast jurisdictions of Martin and St. Lucie County.