White-collar crimes like insurance fraud may not be the typical types of high-profile crimes that criminal lawyers are usually associated with defending—but they are common in Mississippi, and these cases need the skills of a criminal defense lawyer just the same as any other alleged crime.
With insurance fraud, the crime is usually strictly financial, so it is rarely in the news headlines. However, if you are accused of white-collar crime, you face a potential felony charge, a lifelong criminal record, a lengthy spell in prison, and other life-changing consequences.
The criminal defense attorneys at Rushing & Guice, PLLC in Biloxi can outline your legal options, protect your rights, and represent you if you’ve been accused of insurance fraud.
What is insurance fraud in Mississippi?
White-collar crimes typically involve fraudulent or forged paperwork. They are an act of theft by defrauding a company, agency, or government office.
Any fraud is considered a crime of deception for financial gain and when it’s insurance fraud, the defrauded entity is an insurance company.
Due largely to pressure from the insurance industry in the U.S., specific insurance fraud laws have been enacted in almost every state, including Mississippi.
The Mississippi Criminal Code includes this section:
“A person or entity shall not, in any matter related to any insurance plan, knowingly and willfully falsify, conceal or omit by any trick, scheme, artifice or device a material fact, make any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation or make or use any false writing or document, knowing or having reason to know that the writing or document contains any false or fraudulent statement or entry in connection with the provision of insurance programs.”
Insurance fraud usually involves some deception, forgery, or falsification of claims. Because most people have insurance of some kind, the potential for insurance fraud allegations is high, and many cases pass through the Mississippi courts.
These alleged crimes involve people from all walks of life—but the harsh consequences of a conviction are the same for everybody.
Types of insurance fraud we defend
Insurance fraud could involve any kind of insurance—from health insurance to property or disability insurance.
The experienced white-collar crime lawyers at Rushing & Guice, PLLC in Biloxi can represent you in the following types of insurance fraud cases:
- Health insurance fraud
- Life insurance fraud
- Auto insurance fraud
- Homeowners’ insurance fraud
- Personal property insurance fraud
- Social security fraud
- Workers’ compensation fraud
- Medicare fraud
- Medicaid fraud
- Disability fraud
False claims, deception, and forgery charges
The paperwork may differ slightly between insurance types and insurance companies, but an insurance fraud offense is generally the same, involving the submission of a false claim for financial gain.
Giving false information on an insurance claim can lead to allegations of fraud—even if the information you provide is not intended to deceive.
Sometimes, documents or signatures are proven to be forged, this can be particularly incriminating evidence against a defendant. However, genuine mistakes are often made by claimants—the same as insurance companies make frequent mistakes. Nobody should end up with a criminal record for an innocent error when filing paperwork.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with any white-collar crime involving a false claim, deception, or forgery, contact an experienced fraud attorney as soon as possible. Early legal intervention from a qualified lawyer can prevent further negative consequences and work can begin on your defense.
What are the penalties associated with insurance fraud in Mississippi?
The criminal justice system clamps down hard on fraud offenders and all types of white-collar crime, even if the “victim” in many cases is a large corporation. The idea that there are minimum-security prisons set aside for white-collar criminals is a myth.
A misdemeanor charge can result in up to one year in jail and fines. More serious felony charges (involving larger sums of money) can result in a much longer sentence in prison and higher fines.
In Mississippi, different types of insurance fraud attract different penalties. For instance, health insurance fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison in addition to fines whereas workers compensation fraud is punishable by up to three years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines or double the value of the fraud (whichever is greater).
Additional penalties and punishments may apply depending on the circumstances of the fraudulent act. One of the most serious consequences is the loss of a professional license, which restricts the ability to earn a living in your chosen professional field.
Possible defenses for insurance fraud charges in Mississippi
An experienced white-collar fraud lawyer can help you build a strong defense and avoid the worst consequences of a conviction for insurance fraud.
At Rushing & Guice, PLLC, we conduct a thorough investigation and look to build a defense so robust that the charges are dropped. If that’s not possible, we may negotiate with the prosecutor to have charges reduced or defend you vigorously at trial.
In insurance fraud cases, we generally employ one of the following defenses:
- No intent to engage in fraud
- A case of mistaken identity
- The defendant was entitled to the benefit
- Coercion to commit fraud
- Violation of constitutional rights
If you face allegations of insurance fraud in the Biloxi area of Mississippi, contact a white-collar crime lawyer at Rushing & Guice, PLLC for legal advice and assistance with your defense.