If you have been charged with insurance fraud in New Jersey, you could face stiff penalties. Beyond potential jail time and fines, a conviction of insurance fraud goes on your criminal record and can significantly impact your livelihood and reputation. After being accused of committing insurance fraud, you need effective legal representation to fight the charges and protect your freedom.
The criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law provide rigorous, aggressive defense to clients like you. Our skilled lawyers have a long track record of delivering favorable results, often getting our clients’ charges reduced and cases dismissed. We have decades of experience in the New Jersey criminal court system that we use to our client’s advantage. Find out what we can do for you when you contact our Monmouth County insurance fraud attorneys for a free, confidential consultation.
New Jersey Insurance Fraud Law
In New Jersey, insurance fraud is when someone knowingly lies to an insurance company or uses false information on an application to get a benefit they are not legally entitled to receive. Under New Jersey law, individuals are prohibited from making false or misleading statements when trying to:
- Claim an insurance benefit or payment
- Apply to obtain or renew an insurance policy
The law also prohibits individuals from making dishonest statements about payments made on insurance policies or premium transactions.
New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act
New Jersey took a tough stance on insurance fraud when it passed the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. This act aims to fight insurance fraud and abuse by revealing fraudulent activities and developing new fraud prevention programs in the state. The law also allows for restitution for fraudulently obtained insurance benefits to help minimize the overall cost of insurance premiums in the state.
Examples of conduct prohibited under the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act include:
- Making false or misleading statements to support an insurance claim for benefits
- Causing a certificate of insurance to be issued containing false or misleading statements
- Concealing or not disclosing an event or information that impacts a person’s right to payment or benefits
The law also specifies various types of behavior that can be fraudulent. For example, knowingly making a statement to an insurance company to get a New Jersey car insurance policy without actually living in New Jersey is a crime.
Elements Required to Convict Someone of Insurance Fraud in New Jersey
To convict someone of insurance fraud in New Jersey, the prosecution must prove the elements of insurance fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. The state must show the defendant knowingly made false, fictitious, fraudulent, or misleading statements when they:
- Made an insurance claim
- Applied to obtain or renew an insurance policy
- Made a payment on an insurance policy or in an insurance transaction
- Submitted any official document in an insurance transaction.
Keep in mind that leaving out relevant information may also be considered fraudulent behavior.
Forms of Insurance Fraud in New Jersey
Insurance fraud can take several different forms. Some of the most common types of insurance fraud cases in New Jersey include the following:
- Auto insurance fraud
- Health insurance fraud
- Medicare and Medicaid fraud
- Disability insurance fraud
- Workers’ compensation fraud
- Life insurance fraud
- Property insurance fraud
- Unemployment insurance fraud
Common Defenses to Insurance Fraud
Various defenses may be used against charges of insurance fraud. Not all false statements are made with the intent to defraud. Sometimes misleading information is an honest mistake. One defense against insurance fraud charges is to show that the defendant did not knowingly or intentionally mislead an insurance provider for their benefit.
Additional defenses that may be available in an insurance fraud case include the following:
- The false statements were not “material” — This means the misleading statements are not significant enough to determine the outcome of a case or are unrelated to the issue at hand.
- There has been a mistake of fact — This means the defendant reasonably misunderstood the meaning of a term and acted under that misconception without the intent to mislead.
- The statute of limitations has expired — Under the law, the prosecution has a time limit for bringing criminal charges for insurance fraud. If the legal deadline passes, the prosecution likely cannot bring charges.
- Rights violations — If the police violated your civil rights during your arrest, while seizing your property, during the investigation, or when handling evidence to be used at trial, this could be a defense against insurance fraud charges.
- There is not enough evidence — The prosecution must have evidence proving all the elements required for a conviction of insurance fraud.
- There was an effort to correct a mistake — If a defendant tried to fix an inaccurate statement on insurance forms, this could be a defense.
Potential Penalties for a Fraud Conviction in New Jersey
Insurance fraud covers a wide range of potentially criminal behavior, so the penalties for a fraud conviction can vary. Most insurance fraud cases are “white-collar” criminal offenses and are generally non-violent. Non-violent crimes do not always carry the stiff penalties associated with violent criminal offenses. But depending on the circumstances of the case, insurance fraud can be prosecuted as a second-degree offense resulting in significant fines and prison time.
Potential penalties for an insurance fraud conviction in New Jersey include the following:
- Fines of up to $150,000
- Up to 10 years in prison
- Fines of up to $15,000
- Up to five years in prison
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Up to 18 months in prison
Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Cases of Insurance Fraud in NJ?
A conviction of insurance fraud can have damaging consequences beyond the legal penalties. A person with an insurance fraud conviction on their criminal record may have difficulty finding a job or securing housing. If you are under investigation for or have been charged with fraud in New Jersey, immediately contact an insurance fraud lawyer at Keith Oliver Criminal Law. We can determine an effective legal defense against the charges and fight to protect your rights. Contact our office today for a free evaluation.