Are you facing criminal charges for insurance fraud in Chicago? If so, contact Chicago defense attorney Gus Kostopoulos today for immediate legal help. Gus is a former prosecutor with over 18 years experience.
Insurance fraud is a serious crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. This means that if you are convicted of insurance fraud you will face harsh penalties and be burdened with a criminal record for the rest of your life. You can limit the consequences of your arrest for insurance fraud by hiring an experienced attorney to defend you. Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to set up a free consultation and learn more.
What is Insurance Fraud?
In Illinois, Insurance fraud occurs when you intentionally attempt to recover insurance benefits by submitting a claim that you know is false. You must have an intent to deprive the insurance company of their property. These benefits can be in the form of services or money.
There are three different ways you can be guilty of insurance theft, as defined in 720 ILCS 10-17.5:
- attempting to obtain,
- causing to be obtained, or
- obtaining insurance benefits to which you are not legally entitled.
This means that you can be convicted of insurance fraud even if you have another person commit the act on your behalf or if your attempt to recover benefits is unsuccessful.
The target of your insurance fraud does not have to do business as an insurance company. If you intentionally submit a false claim to a company that is self-insured, you can also face criminal charges for insurance fraud.
Examples of Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud cases commonly involve an involve health insurance, car insurance, hard money, life insurance, workers’ compensation, and property insurance. A claim will be false if you know that it does not contain accurate information. This means that a claim could be made up entirely or simply have some information stated incorrectly.
Examples of insurance fraud include:
- Lying about the extent of damage to your car when submitting an insurance claim for damages;
- Faking a work injury to recover workers’ compensation benefits;
- Intentionally setting fire to your home and filing a claim for homeowner’s insurance; and
- Underreporting the size of your household or income when requesting unemployment benefits.
Consequences of Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Chicago. The specific charge in your case will depend on the value of the property at issue and your existing criminal record.
Insurance Fraud, No Aggravating Factors
< $300: If your act of insurance fraud involves property and/or services valued at less than $300, the crime will be classified as a Class A Misdemeanor. If convicted, you will face up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines.
$300 – $10,000: If your act of insurance fraud involves property and/or services valued between $300 – $10,000, the crime will be classified as a Class 3 Felony. If convicted, you will face up to five years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
$10,000 – $100,000: If your act of insurance fraud involves property and/or services valued between $10,000 – $100,000, the crime will be classified as a Class 2 Felony. If convicted, you will face up to seven years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
$100,000 +: If your act of insurance fraud involves property and/or services valued in excess of $100,000, the crime will be classified as a Class 1 Felony. If convicted, you will face up to 15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Aggravated Insurance Fraud
Charges for insurance fraud will be aggravated when there are at least three separate fraudulent incidents within an 18-month period. Aggravated insurance fraud is a Class 1 Felony offense, regardless of the value of the property that is involved in your claims.
If it is believed that you are part of a larger conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, you may also face criminal charges for conspiracy.
Defenses to Charges of Insurance Fraud
Just because you have been charged with a crime does not automatically mean that you will be convicted. The prosecution must be able to establish that you are guilty of each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to be convicted of insurance fraud the prosecution must prove that you knowingly submitted a false claim and intended to deprive an insurance company of its property. Defenses in your case that may be successful include:
- You did not know the claim you submitted was false or fraudulent; or
- You did not intend to receive benefits to which you were not entitled.
Fighting Insurance Fraud Charges in Chicago
If you are facing criminal charges for insurance fraud in Chicago contact the Kostopoulos Law Group to learn about your legal rights and options. Our Chicago insurance fraud attorneys have more than three decades of combined legal experience and have successfully handled thousands of complex criminal matters. We know that your future is on the line and will do everything in our power to secure the best possible outcome in your criminal insurance fraud case.
We will thoroughly investigate your alleged crime, construct a persuasive legal argument, and fight the prosecution every step of the way. Our aggressive approach often allows us to get the charges against our clients reduced or dismissed. Call our Chicago insurance fraud defense attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.