With the use of smart phones, laptops, and wireless connections almost everywhere you go, auto insurance fraud can occur nearly anywhere throughout the state of New Jersey. In December of 2015, six New Jersey residents were charged with insurance fraud after reportedly purchasing insurance after a crash. If convicted, those involved face up to five years in prison, as well as fines up to $15,000 dollars. More recently, in November of 2016, a married couple from Bergen County was charged with insurance fraud after they allegedly filed a false auto theft claim.
Auto Insurance, Wire and Mail Fraud
Unless you are New Jersey’s insurance fraud prosecutor, you may not have heard of mail fraud, wire fraud or insurance fraud. For those individuals who have been arrested or charged with any one of these offenses, however, there are significant consequences that apply.
Mail fraud is the use of the United States postal service to advance a crime. Wire fraud is essentially the same crime, but it involves the use of email, text or interstate telephone calls instead of the postal service. Then there is insurance fraud, which is the knowing omission of material facts or otherwise providing misleading facts in a statement with an insurance company. It becomes more complicated when an individual provides a misleading insurance claim or statement by way of email and is then charged with both insurance and wire fraud.
Penalties for Auto Insurance Fraud
Because a single false insurance claim can result in several different charges, it is important to speak to an experienced New Jersey cybercrime lawyer as soon as you believe that you may be arrested or charged. Under New Jersey law, it is a third-degree felony to knowingly commit insurance fraud. If convicted, the sentence involves three to five years in prison. The sentence can be longer if convicted of a second-degree felony, such as when an individual files more than five false insurance claims. There are even more serious penalties under federal law where both wire and mail fraud are considered felonies with a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Auto Insurance Investigations
If you are being investigated for mail, wire and/or insurance fraud, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible so that they can walk you through the criminal process. In the meantime, silence is golden. You never know who has been interviewed by investigators, FBI agents or local police and the best way to protect yourself and your family is to remain silent unless your attorney is present.
Contact HCK for Help Right Away
Auto insurance fraud is a serious crime and New Jersey, so serious in fact, that New Jersey established The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor with specially trained personnel to combat insurance fraud. If you are accused of filing a false insurance claim, contact the knowledgeable cybercrime attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. even before you are arrested or charged so that you can start to build your best defense.