Insurance fraud can generally be divided into two categories, known in the industry as “soft fraud” and “hard fraud.”
• Soft fraud occurs when a person exaggerates an existing claim, such as overstating the damages caused by a car accident. Soft fraud is usually considered a misdemeanor, punishable by fines, jail time of up to one year, community service, and probation.
• Hard fraud, on the other hand, occurs when a person either causes or fabricates a loss for the deliberate purpose of obtaining insurance payments. Hard fraud is almost considered a felony, punishable by strict penalties including the possibility of incarceration in state prison for a number of years.
The penalties for insurance fraud vary widely depending on the state where the prosecution occurred, the amount of money fraudulently sought or obtained, and the criminal history of the defendant. If you are charged with insurance fraud, especially if you are facing felony charges, consider consulting Birrell Criminal Defense as early as possible in your case. We can help you understand the laws in your area, counsel you on defenses you may raise, explain your options, and inform you of your rights.