New York Penal Code § 176.45: Life settlement fraud in the fifth degree

A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy by the policy owner to a licensed life settlement provider. The original policy owner is paid an amount more than the cash surrender value that the owner could obtain from the insurer, and less than the current death benefit payable under the policy. In return for that payment, the Life settlement buyer who purchases the police obtains all ownership rights under the policy and collects the death benefit paid under the policy when the insured dies.

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. While most insurance fraud crimes are felonies, there are a few that are misdemeanors such as insurance fraud in the fifth degree. Under New York Penal Code § 176.10 you will be charged with insurance fraud in the fifth degree if you commit a fraudulent insurance act and amount of money received was $1000 or less.

Example

Michael Palmeri was an orthopedic surgeon. Over a period of several years he filed reports with the Workers' Compensation Board to the effect that one of his patients was totally disabled from his work as a corrections officer and was not working. In reality Palmeri had examined the corrections officer several times and knew that he was engaged in substantial work activities. In fact, Palmeri had observed the corrections officer performing substantial work activities. Thus, Palmeri's reports to the Workers' Compensation Board were false. Palmeri was charged with several crimes, including insurance fraud in the fifth degree. People v. Palmeri, 942 N.Y.S.2d 759 (N.Y. App. Div., 2012)

Chase lost his job and his bills are piling up. In a desperate move, he takes his car to a remote area and leaves it. He then calls the police and his insurance company to report that the car was stolen. He receives money from the insurance company per the terms of his insurance policy. Chase could be prosecuted for insurance fraud since he lied about his car being stolen in order to get money from the insurance company.

Related Offenses
  1. Insurance fraud in the fifth degree: New York Penal Law § 176.10
  2. Health care fraud in the fifth degree: New York Penal Law § 177.05
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 the 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

Life settlement fraud in the fifth degree is a class A misdemeanor if you are convicted you could be sent to jail for up to one year and you could be ordered to pay a fine. In addition, the judge could sentence you to serve a probation term of 3 years.

New York Penal Code § 176.45: Life settlement fraud in the fifth degree

A person is guilty of life settlement fraud in the fifth degree when he or she commits a fraudulent life settlement act.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Because life settlement fraud in the fifth degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, you may be inclined to not take it seriously. However, if you are convicted you could end up in jail for up to a year and face stiff fines. 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 (link to: http://criminaldefense.1800nynylaw.com/new-york-criminal-court.html) 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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