New York Penal Code § 176.20: Insurance fraud in the third degree

Insurance fraud is a white collar crime collar crime that occurs when someone provides false information to an insurance company in order to receive a payment from the insurance company that they would otherwise not have received. While it is often associated with medical insurance, it can involve any type of insurance arrangement such as life insurance, automobile insurance, property insurance, workers' compensation, commercial insurance, and publicly funded insurance arrangements such as Medicare or Medicaid. For example, faking death in order to collect on a life insurance policy and then showing up years later claiming memory loss would be a type of insurance fraud. In the case of a car accident, if you file a claim for damages that did not actually occur in the accident but occurred as a result of an earlier accident, you would have committed insurance fraud. There are several different insurance fraud offenses in the New York criminal code. If you commit a fraudulent insurance act, the specific insurance fraud crime you will face will depend on several different factors, such as the type of insurance plan involved and the amount of money involved. Under New York Penal Code § 176.20 you will be charged with insurance fraud in the third degree if you commit insurance fraud and thereby obtain or attempt to obtain property with a value of over $3000 but not over $50,000. It is important to note that if you are suspected of insurance fraud, you are likely to face addition charges such as grand larceny.

Examples

Cassius wants to remodel his kitchen. However, the estimates for remodeling are much more than he had to spend. So, Cassius decided to set his kitchen on fire, get the money from the insurance company and use it to build a new kitchen with all of the new features he wants. If Cassius goes through with the plan and receives an insurance payment of more than $3000 but less than $50,000, he could be charged with insurance fraud in the third degree in violation of New York Penal Code § 176.20.

John, who does not have a driver's license, is driving David's car. David is the passenger. John sideswipes Allen's car cause extensive damage. John panics and keeps driving. A block later David and John switch seats in the car and David drives back to the accident scene. He apologizes profusely and gives Allen his insurance information. David would have committed insurance fraud as his insurance company may not have paid the claim to Allen if it was aware that John was driving the car and not David.

Related Offenses
  1. Life settlement fraud in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 176.55
  2. Health care fraud in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 177.15
Defenses

You would not be guilty of insurance fraud if you had no intent to defraud the insurance company. For example, suppose you were in a car accident in March and you received payment from your insurance company for the damage to your car. However, you never get the car fixed. In September you are involved in another car accident that resulted in more damage to your car in the same spot where you car was already damaged. It may be difficult if not impossible to distinguish the damage that was caused by the most recent accident.

Sentence

Insurance fraud in the fourth degree is a class D felony if you are convicted you could be sent to prison for up to 7 years and you could be ordered to pay a fine. In addition, the judge could sentence you to serve a probation term of 5 years. Furthermore, the judge may order you to pay restitution.

New York Penal Code § 176.20: Insurance fraud in the third degree

A person is guilty of insurance fraud in the fourth degree when he commits a fraudulent insurance act and thereby wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds, or attempts to wrongfully take, obtain or withhold property with a value in excess of three thousand dollars.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are under investigation for insurance fraud in the third degree, it is critical that you immediately contact an experienced attorney. The consequences of a conviction are serious and may include significant time in prison. The best way to avoid these consequences is to be represented by someone with experience. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in violation of New York state law and federal law. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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