How much time will you serve in jail for insurance fraud in Jacksonville FL? It depends on a variety of factors. This is something that you want to discuss with your Jacksonville criminal attorney. Your Jacksonville criminal lawyer will be the best person to tell you the minimum and maximum sentence and the aggravating and mitigating factors that will be taken into account if and when you are sentenced.
The Florida criminal law that governs insurance fraud is Section 817.234 of the Florida Statutes. This law makes it a felony to make a false insurance claim or statement. Section 817.234(1)(A)(1) states:
“A person commits insurance fraud punishable as provided in subsection (11) if that person, with the intent to injure, defraud, or deceive any insurer: 1. Presents or causes to be presented any written or oral statement as part of, or in support of, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy or a health maintenance organization subscriber or provider contract, knowing that such statement contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to such claim….”
The type of felony that you may be charged with for making a false insurance claim will range from a third to first degree felony depending on the amount of money involved. Section 817.234(11) states:
“If the value of any property involved in a violation of this section:
(a) Is less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) Is $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(c) Is $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”
If you are charged with a third degree felony, you could face up to 5 years in Florida State Prison. A second degree felony carries up to 15 years, and a third degree felony carries up to 30 years. If you have been charged with filing a false insurance claim, you want to discuss the facts with your Jacksonville criminal lawyer. You may have defenses to the charge. You may not be guilty of the offense. Even if you are guilty, you may have mitigating circumstances. Your Jacksonville attorney will be able to help you with this.
Last week, a man was given a lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty to insurance fraud charges in Duval County FL. Action News of Jacksonville reported:
“A Jacksonville man was sentenced to six years in prison for staging a car accident and defrauding his insurance company. Guillermo de la Vega, 50, helped organize and participated in a fake car accident. The State Attorney’s Office and the Division of Insurance Fraud says Vega filed fraudulent Personal Injury Protection claims through the Arlington Rehabilitation Center, Inc. Investigators say the clinic was used to give fake treatment to the people involved in the staged accidents. The clinic received PIP claim money from the insurance company, and Vega distributed it to the participants. Vega pleaded guilty to two counts of knowingly participating in an intentional motor vehicle crash, and two counts of false insurance claims.”
When a criminal defendant is charged with a crime, he or she has a few options. One option is to negotiate a plea deal with the state attorney’s office. The defendant’s lawyer and the assistant state attorney that has been assigned the case will negotiate and may work out a disposition in the case. This means that both parties agree to a sentence or another type of resolution. In some cases, the defendant pleads not guilty, and the case goes to trial. When a case goes to trial, the state attorney has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state attorney is successful and the defendant is found guilty, he or she will be sentenced. If the defendant wins and he is found not guilty, he or she will be acquitted and will not face a sentence. If a defendant is guilty and does not want to go to trial, he or she may opt to go directly to a sentencing hearing. At a sentencing hearing, the state and defense present evidence and testimony to the judge. Then, the judge makes a decision as to what the appropriate sentence is.
In Vega’s Jacksonville fraud case, He pleaded guilty to four different charges in two different criminal cases, two charges per case. He pleaded guilty to two counts of knowingly participating in an intentional motor vehicle crash, a violation of Florida Statute Section 817.234(9). This is a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison. He was also charged with two counts of false insurance claims under Section 817.234(1)(A)(1). These violations are third-degree felonies. I discussed Section 817.234(1)(A)(1) above. Florida Statute Section 817.234(9) states:
“A person may not organize, plan, or knowingly participate in an intentional motor vehicle crash or a scheme to create documentation of a motor vehicle crash that did not occur for the purpose of making motor vehicle tort claims or claims for personal injury protection benefits as required by s. 627.736. Any person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. A person who is convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 2 years.”
Vega pleaded guilty and went to a sentencing hearing before Judge Marianne Aho last week. Looking at the statutes set forth above, Vega was facing a maximum of 15 years in prison for each 2nd degree felony and 5 years for each 3rd degree felony. He was facing a minimum mandatory sentence of two years on the 2nd degree felonies. After the hearing, the Duval County Circuit Court judge sentenced Vega to six years in Florida Statute Prison. He was also adjudicated guilty of the felonies, so this will make him a convicted felon if he was not one before this case. When a person is convicted of a crime, he or she is not able to seal or expunge the Florida criminal record.