Sudden Upsurge in NJ Insurance Fraud Cases
JERSEY CITY, NJ – No doubt that recent news about how a New Jersey man staged a slip and fall hoax brings the issue even more to the forefront. From all appearances, the gentleman figured that he’d collect on workers’ compensation benefits by acting as though he fell on ice in an employee cafeteria. His case brings light to the existence of NJ insurance fraud cases.
In this particular incident, the accused was lucky enough to get away with just community service and probation. However, that’s not always the case. Generally speaking, charges involving insurance fraud are categorized as theft by deception.
Interesting enough, Attorney Anthony Carbone of Jersey City has seen a sudden upsurge in the number of clients seeking his representation for insurance fraud-related charges. He’s not sure how to attribute the increased caseload related to this particular crime.
“It’s not as though defending insurance fraud cases is new to me,” shared Carbone. “However, in the past, I’d have only a handful of clients consult me regarding these types of charges.”
To Carbone’s surprise, he did intake interviews for four to five new cases involving insurance fraud in just the last two weeks. “While the allegations are all different, they all carry similar charges as far as theft by deception,” he said. “Some are a bit concerning because the claims include large dollar amounts.”
Only a few states target insurance fraud as a crime as much as New Jersey. In some cases, the accusations relate to padding bills. This happens in both matters focusing on personal injury or workers’ compensation claims. Truth be told, it’s not uncommon for medical providers to face charges with defrauding insurance companies.
Some of the issues arise out of sheer desperation on the part of the injured party. “I’ve represented more than one person who ultimately admitted that they had a preexisting medical condition and needed help,” Carbone offered. “They had no health insurance and were in excruciating pain. They figured a work injury would ensure they received the care they needed.”
Meanwhile, insurance fraud isn’t just about injuries and medical treatment. Each and every day, someone makes a claim under a homeowner’s policy, claiming items are missing or lost. Others inflate actual dollar amounts or invent damages to obtain insurance money.
Some reports indicate that insurance fraud charges have increased by at least eleven percent during the last five years. Has it actually risen? Or, is that technological advances make it easier to spot?
“The insurance companies have become savvier when it comes to detection strategies,” said Carbone. “Without question, this means it’s a whole lot easier to track duplicative claims for the same accident.”
Most recently, an insurance fraud case brought to light a case involving a six-figure loss. One of the defendants pled guilty to a matter that included both drug distribution charges and insurance fraud. He’s sentenced to jail for 150 months.
The owner of a pawn shop in Union County pretended that he was robbed by the defendant. He subsequently reported the crime and submitted an insurance claim for the stolen items. While it’s unclear how the truth came to light, there’s no indication as to charges brought against the pawn store owner.
“The bottom line is that theft by deception is a serious charge,” Carbone reiterated. “I work on a legal defense that helps them get thrown out of court or results in a lesser plea.”