How A Little White Lie Can Lead to Serious Fraud Charges
Much of the talk about fraud comes in the context of complex, well-planned schemes involving the government or bilking investors, but the truth is that even innocent misrepresentations can result in fraud charges. For example, the US Sentencing Commission reported that 171 offenders were convicted of fraud for false statements on mortgage applications in 2018. The same year, the Insurance Information Institute revealed that 75 percent of insurers reported significant increases related to insurance fraud claims – an 11 point increase from four years earlier.
The specifics of these cases may vary, but an arrest for mortgage or insurance fraud can result from what many would consider just a little white lie. You should consult with a Florida fraud crimes defense lawyer regarding your case, but some examples should help you understand how bending the truth can lead to serious charges.
The Lie: “I have no idea how the fire started.”
The Charge: Homeowners Insurance Hard Fraud
Some policyholders may be tempted to cause damage to their own property, just so they can file a homeowners’ insurance claim to obtain funds. This type of hard fraud is illegal, and insurers go to great lengths to ensure that law enforcement pursues wrongdoers.
The Lie: “No, I do not suffer from any pre-existing conditions.”
The Charge: Life Insurance Soft Fraud
When you take out a life insurance policy, you are required to provide certain information about your medical history, current medical conditions, and other health-related details. Companies use the information to set your rates and assess their risk in the event of your death, so it is soft fraud to make misstatements.
The Lie: “My primary residence is this address.”
The Charge: Auto Insurance Soft Fraud
Auto insurers also offer rates based upon the information you provide when purchasing a policy, and your home address is a key detail. Your rates would be higher in urban areas because increased traffic means a heightened risk of accidents. A lie stating that you live in a rural zone is another example of soft fraud that could lead to criminal charges. Plus, your losses may not be covered, leading to financial losses as well.
The Lie: “My income is $X per year.”
The Charge: Mortgage Income Fraud
When you are buying a home and want to be approved for an amount that is beyond your means, you might consider telling the lender that you make more than you actually do. Alternatively, you may omit details about your debts and liabilities to improve how your financial condition looks on paper. These misrepresentations can lead to mortgage fraud charges.
Contact Florida Fraud Crimes Defense Attorney for Legal Help
There are many other little white lies – and big extravagant ones – that can get you into legal trouble, so it is important to have experienced legal representation to defend your interests in a fraud case. To learn more about how our team can help, please contact Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can set up a confidential consultation at our office to review your case and discuss strategies.