Showing Defendant Took Money Fraudulently
Insurance fraud can take many different forms when it comes to criminal prosecution. A few main things that the prosecutors and police have to prove is that whoever their target is in an insurance fraud case.
Number one, they did something where they took money or something of value from an insurance company, and number two, that is taking that they did so in a fraudulent manner. The white collar crime of insurance fraud is covered under California Penal Code Sections 548, 549, 550, and 551 PC.
This can take many different forms. For example, someone could have a friend or a criminal steal their car to collect the insurance money from the vehicle. Someone can have a friend or a criminal do it themselves, have their car destroyed by fire or some other means, and then try to collect the insurance money because they think that's in their best interest.
There are all sorts of insurance scams going on, whether it involves an automobile accident, some fraud related to insurance coverage, the list goes on and on. I've handled hundreds of insurance fraud-related criminal cases in the San Fernando Valley over the last 26 years, so I think I have a pretty good feel for what has to be proven.
Whether the prosecutors will be able to meet their burden when it comes to an insurance fraud scam or whether they're going to have problems meeting their commitment.
Can the Prosecutor Prove the Criminal Charges?
I think my client and I need to decide right from the beginning in an insurance fraud case, and that is whether or not, number one, the person is guilty; and number two, whether or not the government can prove the criminal charges against them.
Sometimes these two issues are murky. Maybe someone is guilty, but the government has a problem proving the case against them. They don't have the evidence to prove it because when they committed the insurance fraud, they were cautious about how they did it, so no trial is left for the insurance company or the government to prove the insurance fraud case.
I often get involved in what I would categorize as “early intervention” in these insurance fraud cases because insurance companies have their investigative units. When they feel someone is trying to take advantage of them or doing something inappropriate or committing fraud about collecting insurance proceeds, they'll use their investigators, who a lot of times are former police officers, to try to figure out whether or not the person is involved in some insurance fraud scam.
Taking Recorded Statements Under Penalty of Perjury
So, many times, I get the cases right from the beginning where the client realizes that they are being investigated. They lock people in these types of investigations is to have them take recorded statements under penalty of perjury.
They will have them sign documents under penalty of perjury. But this is not necessarily necessary. Suppose you're trying to scam somebody, whether you sign something under penalty of perjury or not when you're getting funds, and you're not supposed to be getting those funds. In that case, the police can investigate these situations.
They can give them to the prosecutors who are the lawyers like me on the other side, and if they feel that you have committed insurance fraud. You've got some benefit for a situation that you should not have gotten a benefit — whether it's money or goods, whatever the case may be.
Then they can prosecute you, and you don't want a conviction for some insurance fraud-related offense on your criminal record. Because when you go to get a job in the future, they're going to see that, and they're not going to want somebody working for them involved in dishonesty and moral turpitude-type activity.
What I do is I have you come into the office, and we sit down, whether it's you or a loved one, and we talk about what happened. I encourage you to be honest and give me the straight information to help you make the right decisions related to defending your insurance fraud case right from the beginning, even if there have been no charges made.
Prefiling Intervention in Insurance Fraud Cases
Sometimes, I've been able to take precautionary moves before a case is filed that prevents a patient from being filed, so the person doesn't have even to defend themselves in the first place. Realize, whenever it comes to an insurance company paying out money, they're going to look at whatever they can to figure out how to get out of paying out the money.
Even if that means having you prosecuted for a crime so they can avoid paying the money, they will do it if they believe you did something inappropriate as it relates to an insurance claim. So, if you're being investigated or prosecuted for insurance fraud in the San Fernando Valley and you need help, pick up the phone now. Make the call.
Meet with me in my Encino office, and we'll do everything possible to get your matter resolved the right way. Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in LA County, and we offer a free case consultation at (213) 542-0940 or by filling out our contact form.