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New York Insurance Fraud Defense Lawyer

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Insurance companies run investigations to verify the validity of all insurance claims. If they find evidence suggesting the claim is fraudulent, they report it to law enforcement. This report may lead to criminal charges of insurance fraud, and suddenly, people find themselves under a lot of pressure about where to turn for help.

But you don’t have to face this alone. At The Law Offices of Mehdi Essmidi P.L.L.C., we understand your situation and are here to help. Attorney Mehdi Essmidi is a former New York City Prosecutor who has turned his focus to aggressive criminal defense. He uses his experience as a former prosecutor to anticipate and counter the strategies that might be used against you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Understanding Insurance Fraud Charges

Under NY Penal Law § 176, it’s illegal to deliberately plan and carry out a scheme to deceive an insurance company into giving you money or property by lying or making false claims.

The degree of the charge depends on the value of the claim. The law outlines five degrees of insurance fraud, with the first degree being the most serious:

  • Fifth Degree: Claims not exceeding $1,000.
  • Fourth Degree: Claims exceeding $1,000 but not exceeding $3,000.
  • Third Degree: Claims exceeding $3,000 but not exceeding $50,000.
  • Second Degree: Claims exceeding $50,000 but not exceeding $1 million.
  • First Degree: Claims exceeding $1 million.

If you’re facing any fraud charges, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney who can build a strong defense and fight for your rights is essential. 

Insurers’ Investigations

Insurance companies use various methods to gather evidence against you. This can include surveillance, interviews with witnesses, and a diligent examination of documents related to your claim.

These investigations can be invasive and stressful. If you’re under investigation for insurance fraud, it’s important that you do not speak with investigators without legal representation present.

Crimes Associated with Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud often encompasses other offenses that, while distinct in their own right, can be committed while executing insurance fraud and, thus, fall under its broad umbrella. Below are some of the crimes that are commonly linked to insurance fraud.

Identity Theft

This involves using another person’s identifying information, usually for financial gain. In the context of insurance fraud, a person might use someone else’s identity to file a fraudulent insurance claim.

Forgery

This crime involves creating, altering, or using a forged document intending to defraud. For instance, a person might forge a doctor’s signature on a medical document to support a fraudulent insurance claim.

Money Laundering

This is the process of making illegal proceeds appear legal. A person committing insurance fraud might launder the money received from a fraudulent claim to make it seem as if it was obtained legally.

Racketeering

This involves operating an illegal business or scheme for profit. Concerning insurance fraud, a person or group might run a racketeering operation, staging accidents and filing fraudulent insurance claims.

Auto Insurance Fraud

This is a common type of insurance fraud where the insured deliberately causes a road accident intending to claim fabricated damages and injuries.

Home Insurance Fraud

Home insurance involves any act committed to obtain payment from an insurer. This could include inflating the value of stolen items, deliberately damaging property to claim for repairs, or even staging a burglary or fire.

The prosecution carries the burden of proof in all insurance fraud cases. They must convincingly demonstrate that fraudulent activity occurred and that you knowingly and intentionally engaged in it. 

Navigating these cases can be complex, but you can challenge the charges and work towards the most favorable outcome with the right legal representation.  

Consequences of Insurance Fraud Convictions

As a type of white collar crime, insurance fraud can lead to fines, restitution, imprisonment, probation, and a permanent criminal record. The specific penalties depend on the degree of the charge:

  • Fifth Degree: Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fourth Degree: Up to 4 years in prison
  • Third Degree: Up to 7 years in prison
  • Second Degree: Up to 15 years in prison
  • First Degree: Up to 25 years in prison

Possible Insurance Fraud Defenses

Every case is unique, and the best defense strategies should be tailored to your situation. Some possible defenses that attorney Mehdi Essmidi has used against insurance fraud charges include:

Lack of intent: The prosecution must prove that you intentionally committed fraud. This could be a strong defense if misrepresentations were accidental or due to misunderstanding.

Insufficient evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed insurance fraud. If the evidence against you is weak or circumstantial, its sufficiency may be challenged.

Violation of rights: Any evidence obtained could be suppressed if law enforcement violated your rights during the investigation or arrest.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

At The Law Offices of Mehdi Essmidi P.L.L.C., we have worked tirelessly to develop the best possible defense strategies for hundreds of fraud cases in New York. Choosing the right attorney can make all the difference in your case.

Attorney Mehdi Essmidi’s experience as a former prosecutor gives him unique insight into how the other side thinks and operates, allowing him to anticipate their strategies and build a strong defense on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.