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What is insurance fraud and why am I charged with it?

TV courtroom dramas and police shows have a way of making everything clear. By the end of the hour, we understand who did what and why they did it and the consequences they face as a result. However, away from the bright lights and make-up, real people are not always certain at the moment of arrest why they're being arrested, what the charges are and what possible punishments they face if convicted.

It's not unusual, for instance, for a person to ask when they're being taken into custody: what is insurance fraud and why am I being charged with it?

There are a number of forms of insurance fraud, including the kinds that insurers sometimes do to consumers or to another insurer. We aren't going to cover those crimes, however, as we take a look instead at insurance fraud charges a person might typically face in Orlando.

In the "hard" form of insurance fraud, a person might stage a car accident, fake an injury or set a fire to illegally collect money from an insurance company.

There have been many cases in which both spouses are charged after an insurance company has been defrauded, even though only one spouse knew of the fraud and carried out the act.

The "soft" form of insurance fraud is simply when an insured person fudges numbers on a claim, overestimating the damage done to their vehicle, exaggerating the severity of an injury, etc.

Insurance fraud can involve not only auto or home insurance, but also Medicaid, Medicare, workers' compensation and life insurance.

When an insurer decides it has been defrauded and convinces a prosecutor of it as well, the result can be criminal charges in which defense is often complex. Attorneys experienced in this area of law strive to defend clients from the severe criminal and civil penalties that can include prison, large fines, restitution and more.