Insurance Fraud Lawyers Erie, PA
Insurance Fraud Defense Lawyers Dedicated to Representing Clients in Erie County, Crawford County, and Across Western Pennsylvania
Committing insurance fraud will carry repercussions that far exceed the insurance company’s denial of the insurance claim itself—and the crime of insurance fraud encompasses actions that are far more extensive than simply filing a false insurance claim. Insurance fraud cases are complex and can require intense investigation on the part of the prosecution, Pennsylvania law enforcement officials and even the FBI when federal charges may apply. If you suspect that you are under investigation for committing insurance fraud, you need an equally dedicated lawyer to investigate your side of the story.
Because the penalties for an insurance fraud conviction are harsh, if you have been accused of, or arrested for, insurance fraud in Western Pennsylvania, contact an experienced lawyer to advocate on your behalf. At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., our lawyers have two decades’ worth of criminal defense experience in Erie and Western Pennsylvania, including extensive experience successfully representing clients accused of white collar crimes. We understand what it takes to obtain the most successful outcome possible in your insurance fraud case.
How is Insurance Fraud Committed in Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania law, a defendant can be found guilty of insurance fraud after engaging in some type of fraudulent conduct with the intent to defraud another, generally with the goal of profiting from an insurance policy in some way. The prosecution can obtain a conviction for insurance fraud if the defendant took actions with the intent of defrauding an insurance adjuster, the insurance agency, a self-insured individual or the overall insurance company by filing a false claim or otherwise, whether the policy is:
- Homeowner’s insurance,
- Car insurance,
- Health insurance,
- Life insurance,
- Fire or flood insurance.
Some examples of how an individual may commit insurance fraud include:
- The policy owner destroys his or her own property, and then makes a claim under the policy that insured that property (for example, a homeowner sets his or her own home on fire, and makes a claim under the relevant fire or homeowner’s insurance policy),
- Selling a vehicle or other insured item, and then filing a stolen property claim that with the insurance company,
- A doctor performs unnecessary procedures on a patient, or charges the patient’s health insurance company for procedures that were never performed (in which case it is the doctor or health care facility that can be held responsible for the insurance fraud),
- Faking death in order to profit under a life insurance policy.
In addition to these relatively dramatic actions, insurance fraud under Pennsylvania law can encompass a wide variety of actions, including:
- Using another person’s identity to make false insurance claims,
- Providing the insurance company with false or misleading information (including during the application process),
- Hiring another person to make false or misleading statements to the insurance company or agent,
- Providing false documents or information to the insurance company, even if that information is only used with the intent of reducing insurance premium costs,
- Knowingly engaging in unlicensed activity by acting as an agent or broker, whether with the intent of defrauding the insurance company or the general public,
- Benefiting from another person’s insurance fraud scheme by providing assistance to that person.
Insurance Fraud Lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. Committed to Delivering Smart and Effective Defense Strategies
Although insurance fraud is referred to as a “white collar crime”—which many people associate with fairly minor criminal acts—the punishment for committing insurance fraud, or any other white collar crime, can be quite severe. Insurance fraud is usually charged as a third-degree felony, which means that you can be facing up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in monetary fines, in addition to restitution, probation, and a lifelong criminal record.
Our team of criminal defense lawyers includes a former assistant district attorney, so we understand the strategies that the prosecution will use in an insurance fraud case—and are dedicated to formulating an equally effective defense strategy in order to counter the prosecution’s claims as strongly as possible.
Call Today to Discuss Your Insurance Fraud Charges with an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer
In most cases, you will learn that you are being investigated for insurance fraud well before you are actually arrested for committing the crime. Do not wait to contact an experienced insurance fraud defense lawyer until after you are arrested—our lawyers can go to work in your case even if the prosecution is still investigating your case. Call our offices, fill out this online form, or use our chat feature to schedule a confidential consultation with our lawyers today. For your convenience, we have three office locations located at 2525 W.26th St., Erie, PA 16506, 310 Chestnut St., Suite 111, Meadville, PA 16335 (in the Masonic Building) and 68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428.
FAQ: I have been accused of committing insurance fraud, will I be sentenced to seven years in prison and required to pay a $15,000 fine?
Even if are guilty of insurance fraud, the answer is no, not always. These are typically the maximum penalties available to the courts in an insurance fraud case (note that if a pattern of insurance fraud can be established, the maximum penalties or even more serious penalties may attach, and reduced charges may apply in other cases). Our lawyers will fight to minimize the consequences in your case, and the actual penalties will depend heavily upon the facts and circumstances alleged by the prosecution. For example, misstating the facts on a life insurance application is a much different case than intentional arson designed to profit from a homeowner’s policy, and will be punished as such.
FAQ: Can federal charges apply in an insurance fraud case?
Yes. Usually, federal charges for insurance fraud are brought under the RICO statute and involve mail fraud or wire fraud charges, rather than direct insurance fraud charges that would apply under Pennsylvania law. Federal prosecutors take insurance fraud cases seriously, and it is important to contact an experienced lawyer to protect your rights in these cases.