Auto Insurance Fraud
If you are facing criminal charges for insurance fraud, Riverside defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings can help. Auto insurance fraud involves acting to obtain money from an insurer through false pretenses, fraudulent conduct, or misrepresentation of material facts. Prosecutors typically charge auto insurance fraud as a felony and a conviction may lead to years of imprisonment and heavy fines. Even if your actions do not lead to financial loss for the insurance company, you may be convicted if you intended to fraudulently collect money and took action to do so. Attorney Gregory H. Comings has years of experience representing clients facing insurance fraud charges. He also assists people in need of an attorney for white collar crimes, domestic violence, and violent offenses.Auto Insurance Fraud According to California Law
California makes it a crime to knowingly make a false statement involving a vehicle with the intent to receive an insurance payment. According to the California Penal Code, it is a crime to abandon or destroy a vehicle with the intent to defraud an insurance company. This means that the purpose was to deceive the insurer so that they suffer financial loss. However, under California Penal Code 548 PC, it is not required that the insurance company actually lose money.
Presenting false or fraudulent claims for destruction, theft, damage or conversion of an auto is a crime under Penal Code 550 PC. The elements of this crime include falsely claiming payment for loss due to theft, damage, destruction or conversion of a motor vehicle, or contents of a motor vehicle; knowing the claim was false; and, when submitting the claim, intending to defraud. It is not required that the insurer or anyone else suffer financially, however, it is required that you have knowledge the claim was false.
Throughout Riverside and surrounding areas, there are other ways a person may be charged with committing auto insurance fraud, including submitting two or more claims for the same loss to several different insurers. You must know that you are submitting claims for the same loss and have the intent to defraud.
Auto insurance fraud is usually prosecuted as a felony. Certain offenses are wobbler crimes, meaning that the prosecution can charge the fraud as a misdemeanor or a felony. These include submitting false statements, or forms used by auto shops. Fines for felony sentences for a conviction of auto insurance fraud can lead to 5 years imprisonment and up to $50,000, or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is the greater value. As a misdemeanor, auto insurance fraud can result in a potential year of imprisonment and a fine up to one thousand dollars.Defending Criminal Charges of Auto Insurance Fraud
If you are facing auto insurance fraud charges, you may be able to assert a legal defense. If you did not intend to commit the crime of auto insurance fraud, you cannot be guilty. As a specific intent crime, you must know that the claim you submitted was false. A mistake or a careless submission is not enough to support a conviction. Lack of knowledge may be a strong defense. While an insurance company may construe your claim as fraud, with the help of a dedicated criminal defense attorney, you can work to a favorable outcome. The prosecution has the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intended to commit fraud and that you did not make a mistake.
If the evidence does not support a finding that you committed car insurance fraud, the charges cannot stand. Often for auto insurance fraud cases, the facts are complex. Compiling statements and evidence, including paper trails, may be challenging. Reasonable doubt works in favor of the accused, and an experienced defense attorney can help unearth any potential weak points of the case.Assess Your Legal Options by Contacting a Riverside Fraud Attorney
At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we listen to your side of the story. Setting up a free consultation with Riverside auto insurance fraud lawyer Gregory H. Comings is the first step to creating a strategy that attacks the charges against you. Often, there are facts in your case that support a legal defense or demonstrate the prosecution does not have evidence supporting the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Our office can be reached by calling (951) 686-3457 or through our online form. We are proud to serve clients in Moreno Valley, Riverside, Highland, Palm Springs, and Victorville, as well as surrounding areas.