Adding old damage to a new auto insurance claim may seem like a little white lie. However, any false or exaggerated claim submitted to an insurance company can be considered insurance fraud. Typically, the offense occurs when a person seeks compensation for injuries or losses that were not actually suffered. Don't let a misrepresentation on an insurance claim get you into trouble. This review will familiarize you with the basics of Illinois insurance fraud laws.
What is Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud can be related to auto insurance, worker's compensation claims, medical insurance, home-owner insurance, and life insurance policies. The common thread is that fraud revolves around a purposeful misrepresentation of fact to an insurer to gain an unearned benefit. Nothing of monetary value needs to change hands for a fraud to occur.
The defendant in a fraud action could face both criminal prosecution and a civil action for the same conduct. The basic difference between criminal fraud and civil fraud lies in who is pursuing legal action in the case.
Elements of an Illinois Insurance Fraud Case
Before you're convicted in an insurance fraud case, there are certain elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In Illinois, proof that the Defendant did the following actions is required:
- Knowingly obtains, attempts to obtain, or causes to be obtained;
- By deception, control over the property of an insurance company, or self-insured entity;
- By the making of a false claim; or
- By causing a false claim to be made on any policy of insurance issued by an insurance company;
- Intending to deprive an insurance company or self-insured entity permanently of the use and benefit of that property.
Penalties for Insurance Fraud in Illinois
Illinois hands out tough sentences for those convicted of insurance fraud. Punishments are determined by the amount of money or value of the property the accused attempted to recover from the insurance company. Basically, the greater the value of the property involved, the more severe the penalty.
For example, if your car is stolen and you fraudulently claim your laptop was in the car at the time, you would be guilty of a Class 3 felony. Under Illinois law, this is punishable by two to five years in prison.
Overview of Illinois Insurance Fraud Laws
The following chart highlights important aspects of Illinois laws on insurance fraud.
|Penalties for Insurance Fraud
Value of the property obtained is $300 or less:
Value of the property obtained is more than $300 but less than $10,000:
- Class A misdemeanor
- Punishable by a up to a year in jail and a fine as much as $2,500
Value of the property obtained is more than $10,000 but less than $100,000:
- Class 3 felony
- Punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison
Value of the property obtained is more than $100,000:
- Class 2 felony
- Punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison
- Class 1 felony
- Punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.
Possible defense to insurance fraud include:
- Insufficient evidence
- Lack of intent
- False accusation
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Illinois Insurance Fraud Laws: Related Resources
Looking for additional information on vandalism laws in Illinois? The following links are a great starting point:
Get Help With Your Illinois Insurance Fraud Case
There are many serious penalties and consequences to being convicted of insurance fraud. In addition to possible prison time, it can affect eligibility for certain jobs, result in the loss of professional licenses, and may have immigration status consequences. If you're facing criminal charges, it may be time to contact a Illinois defense attorney today to learn more about the charges against you and potential defenses.