New York Insurance Fraud Frequently Asked Questions
What is insurance fraud?
Insurance fraud is considered to be a white collar crime. To be charged with this, you must knowingly commit an act that has the intention of defrauding or deceiving an insurance company. Insurance fraud is a broad term which covers the entire scope of insurance industries, including but not limited to: health insurance, commercial insurance, life insurance, car insurance, and homeowner’s insurance.
Regardless of which insurance fraud charge has been leveled against you, this is a serious charge which requires experienced advocacy. Get in contact with one of the lawyers at Spodek Law Group. These skilled attorneys understand how to navigate the justice system and keep your options open as you proceed through the trial process.
What specific offenses constitute insurance fraud?
New York state law defines twelve different crimes related to insurance fraud. The two main crimes are insurance fraud and life settlement fraud. These crimes are paired with a degree of severity which will vary depending on the circumstances of the situation. Each crime has degrees ranging from the fifth degree to the first degree, with first degree offenses being the most serious. Two of New York’s twelve insurance fraud criminal offenses are misdemeanors, but the rest are classified as felonies.
How are the degrees of offenses defined?
In most cases, the difference in the charges will depend on how much money was involved in the defrauding. Fifth degree insurance fraud is considered a misdemeanor, although it is a Class A misdemeanor, which is the most severe misdemeanor that you can be charged with. Class A misdemeanors carry maximum penalties of one year in jail.
Fourth degree insurance fraud is a charge that will be leveled against you if the property that you obtained or attempted to obtain had a total worth of over $1,000. Convictions carry a maximum penalty of four years in prison. This is a class E felony, the least severe type of felony.
Insurance fraud in the third degree is a class D felony and involves property with a total overall value of at least $3,000. Meanwhile, second degree fraud refers to property valued at $50,000 or more. The most severe offense is first degree insurance fraud, which will only be leveled against you if you obtain or attempt to obtain property or compensation that is worth more than $1,000,000. This is a Class B felony, and as such carries a potential prison sentence of twenty-five years.
There is an additional fraud crime which is referred to as aggravated insurance fraud. This crime was designed specifically to penalize repeat offenders of insurance fraud. If you have been convicted of insurance fraud at any point in the five years prior to your current insurance fraud conviction, you’ll be charged with fourth degree aggravated insurance fraud. This is considered a Class D felony, which means the maximum prison sentence is seven years. Aggravated insurance fraud remains a Class D felony regardless of the value of property involved (unless the property value was high enough to make the charge a Class C or Class B felony).
How do offenses about life settlement fraud differentiate?
When you commit life settlement fraud, you have committed an illegal act that concerns payment of a settlement for life insurance or a life insurance contract. The main differences in the degree of severity is the amount of money involved. Fraud in the fifth degree is the most minor offense and qualifies as a Class A misdemeanor. The rest of the degrees qualify as multiple types of felonies with harsher potential sentencing.