Insurance fraud is considered a white-collar crime in Pennsylvania. It is a crime that can be committed by a person, a business, or even a governmental entity. Like most white-collar crimes, a conviction can lead to incarceration and fines, among other penalties and consequences. If you have been charged with insurance fraud, you should contact criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to discuss your case. You will need an attorney who is aggressive, skilled, and resourceful.
As you may know, these types of crimes can be very technical. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt you are guilty, and Joseph D. Lento will work to prove or show that you did not commit the alleged crime. Contact his Philadelphia office today to learn more about how he may approach your insurance fraud case.
What is Pennsylvania's crime of insurance fraud?
Insurance fraud is basically any act committed with the intent to defraud an insurance company or any process of the insurance company. Insurance fraud can be committed by the insurer, the insured, or another person who is somehow a part of the process. The purpose of insurance fraud is typically for a person or entity's personal financial gain.
The crime is controlled by 18 Pa.C.S. § 4107. To better understand how insurance fraud can be committed, below are some examples:
- You own a vehicle and crash it, which is your fault, so you pretend it was stolen to take advantage of a car theft policy on your insurance.
- You are a healthcare provider and you bill a patient's insurance company for more treatments than what the patient actually received.
- You are a homeowner with insurance that covers destruction due to fire, and you stage an accidental fire to collect on the insurance.
These are just a few examples, but there are just as many ways to commit insurance fraud as there are types of insurance coverage. That said, there are just as many defenses or ways to defend an allegation of insurance fraud, too.
You do not have to plead guilty because you think because you were arrested and charged, the case is an open and close one -- that couldn't be further from the truth. Joseph D. Lento, white-collar criminal defense attorney, can lay out the best options for you and determine if you have a viable defense based on conduct that lacked knowing or reckless deception.
What are the penalties of insurance fraud in Philadelphia?
If you are convicted of insurance fraud in Philadelphia, you can expect jail or prison time as well as fines and restitution (such that you have to pay back what you allegedly stole). The penalties depend on the amount to which you allegedly defrauded another person or entity out of because it is the value of the fraud that determines the grade of the offense.
- If the defrauded amount totals more than $2,000, the offense is a third-degree felony, which can result in up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- If the defrauded amount totals $200 or more but less than $2,000, the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- If the defrauded amount totals less than $200, the offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Also, when the amount “cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree.”
Furthermore, it is important to note that if the insurance fraud involved “deceptive or fraudulent business practices pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct,” the amount can be aggregated to determine the grade of the offense.
Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Insurance Fraud Attorney Today
An insurance fraud charge is a serious matter in Philadelphia. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced and committed fraud defense attorney. He has the knowledge, insight, and resources to help develop a defense strategy that works in your best interests. Contact the Lento Law Firm today either online or at 215-535-5353 to set up a consultation.