New York Penal Code § 176.30: Insurance fraud in the first degree

Insurance fraud is a white collar crime that involves giving false information to an insurance company in order to receive money from that insurance company. There are many different ways that insurance fraud can be committed. For example, if your home is burglarized and you lie to the insurance company about what was stolen in order to get a greater amount of money from the insurance company, then you would have committed insurance fraud. Another way that insurance fraud can be committed is to give false information to your auto insurance company about where you live in order to reduce your premium amount. Some people intentionally set their homes, cars or business on fire in order to collect insurance. In extreme cases, people have been known to actually fake their deaths in order to collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy. 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. One of the most serious insurance fraud crimes is insurance fraud in the first degree. It is a class B felony. Under New York Penal Code § 176.30 you will be charged with insurance fraud in the first degree if you commit an insurance fraud act and thereby obtain or attempt to obtain property with a value of over $1 million.

Examples

Frank O'Briem was a collector of pre-Columbian art. He reported that his office was burglarized and submitted a claim for over $1 million to his insurance company. The insurance company paid the full amount claimed. Several months later the art that O'Briem claimed was stolen was recovered from a locker in Grand Central Station. The police believed that O'Briem had faked the burglary and had stashed the art at Grand Central Station as part of a scheme to defraud the insurance company. O'Briem was charged with insurance fraud in the first degree.

Jerry Lane's store, Jerry's CD Store, burned down to the ground. The contents of the store was insured for $200,000 and the building itself was insured for $300,000. Jerry filed a claim with his insurance company. Investigators found evidence that Jerry set the fire. Jerry could be charged with insurance fraud in the first degree as well as arson.

Related Offenses
  1. Life settlement fraud in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 176.65
  2. Health care fraud in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 177.25
Defenses

You would not be guilty of insurance fraud if you did not have the intent to defraud the insurer. For example, if you submit a claim for property loss in a burglary but you did not realize that specific piece of property was previously removed by family member, then you would not have committed insurance fraud. Similarly, if the claim relates to vehicle damage in an accident and you mistakenly include damage that actually occurred in a previous incident, you would not have committed insurance fraud.

Sentence

Insurance fraud in the fourth degree is a class B felony if you are convicted you could be sent to prison for up to 25 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 § 176.30: Insurance fraud in the first degree

A person is guilty of insurance fraud in the first 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 one million dollars.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Insurance fraud in the first degree is a very serious charge. If you are convicted you could end up in prison for over two decades. If you are under investigation for insurance fraud in the fourth degree, it is critical that you are 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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