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Insurance Fraud and the Upcoming Hurricane Season

Experts are predicting that the 2013 hurricane season is likely to be a menacing one.  More storms than average are predicted, as are more Category 3 hurricanes. Some believe that the United States is ripe for a Category 5 hurricane this season, due to a combination of climate and weather factors.

While these type of natural disasters hit all affected people very hard, nevertheless there are always some people who attempt to capitalize on the misfortune by filing false insurance claims.

Insurance fraud is defined as any act committed with the intent to deceive an insurer for the purpose of profit or gain.  The following are some examples of insurance fraud:

  • Inflating the value of the damaged items on your insurance claim
  • Lying about the extent or location of the damage
  • Requesting that repairmen increase their estimate or bill to cover the deductible
  • Fabricating repair bills or receipts in collusion with a corrupt contractor, repairman, or insurance adjuster
  • Intentionally damaging property to file a claim

It is a crime to file a false claim in Florida, and the penalties include steep fines. Your actions will also raise everyone’s insurance rates, because fraud hurts both insurers and insureds alike. Furthermore, if you file a fake Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) claim, you can go to prison or pay a huge fine.

On the other hand, if you or your business has been the victim of a fraudulent scheme after a natural disaster, you need to report the fraud right away to your local law enforcement agency and to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.  Unfortunately, many scam artists pose as fake FEMA workers and try to convince you to file your claim with them in order to get your claim through faster. Make sure you know with whom you are dealing.

If you are facing insurance fraud charges it’s important to work with an aggressive Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.