Under North Carolina law, an insurance fraud conviction can result in steep fines and jail time. However, not every charge results in a conviction. In this post, we’ll talk about the law, associated penalties, and how a skilled lawyer can help you fight your charges.
Let’s start by taking a look at the case of an Ahoskie woman who was recently charged with insurance fraud.
Fraud Charges Filed
On January 25, a summons was served to Heaven Symone Lassiter, 23, who was charged with providing false information and solicitation to obtain property by false pretenses. The summons stated that Lassiter attempted to file a claim for damages to her 2012 Ford Focus, but the damages had occurred prior to the activation date of her insurance policy.
According to one report, her insurance policy went into effect at 4:16 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2017. However, the photos of the damage were taken earlier that same day, near the 8:00 a.m. hour. Before the insurer issued payment, the discrepancy was noticed and payment on the claim was never issued.
It remains to be seen whether Lassiter will be convicted on those charges.
Working with an experienced criminal attorney can increase your chances at a positive outcome. Take the case of Ronald L. Pierce, a Charlotte man who was at one point facing 108 counts of insurance fraud… until they were dropped. What happened?
Fraud Charges Dropped
In June 2014, the state of North Carolina began investigating Ronald L. Pierce, a contractor accused of inflating repair estimates for hail damage. He was alleged to have taken over $450,000 in false insurance claims, and was arrested and held in jail on a $540,000 bond in April 2015.
However, 10 months after his arrest, the district attorney dropped all charges against him. A statement by a representative for the district attorney’s office said that insufficient evidence was the main reason for dismissing the charges. The checks in question were determined to have been issued for work that Pierce’s companies had rendered, which made the burden of proof an insurmountable challenge.
Pierce has now filed a lawsuit against state insurance officials, saying that they retaliated against him for making complaints. His lawsuit accuses the Department of Insurance of retaliation and false imprisonment. The state is arguing that probable cause was in place for the warrants to be issued.
What You Need to Know about Insurance Fraud in North Carolina
Insurance fraud can occur in all different kinds of policies, including health, property, life, and disability insurance. A crime happens if an individual files a false claim, artificially raises the value on a legitimate claim, or sends a bill for services that were not rendered.
Insurance companies can also commit insurance fraud by offering false policies, failing to pay, or making false adjustments.
The most common types of insurance fraud in North Carolina include the following:
- Making false statements or operating under false pretenses
- False or inflated claims for automobile repairs
- Medical insurance fraud
- Health insurance fraud
- Life or disability insurance fraud
- Faking arson to receive a profit
Local and state prosecutors handle insurance fraud cases. Penalties include fines and jail time, depending on the amount of payments received. A conviction can result in felony charges and additional civil charges.
Seek Legal Assistance If You are Charged with Insurance Fraud
If you have been accused of insurance fraud, it’s essential to consult with an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who will fight to get your charges dropped or reduced. Call today for a free initial consultation.