Insurance Fraud is a serious crime. There are several sections of the California Penal Code that relate to Auto Insurance Fraud.  They are Penal Code §§ 548, 549, 550 and 551. Violations of these codes carry harsh penalties and time in prison.

California Penal Code § 548 prohibits intentionally damaging, abandoning, or disposing of an insured car in order to submit an insurance claim.  People are generally charged under this when the person allegedly has somebody “steal” the car.

548.  (a) Every person who willfully injures, destroys, secretes,
abandons, or disposes of any property which at the time is insured
against loss or damage by theft, or embezzlement, or any casualty
with intent to defraud or prejudice the insurer, whether the property
is the property or in the possession of that person or any other
person, is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of
Section 1170 for two, three, or five years and by a fine not
exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). 

California Penal Code § 549 prohibits referring someone to an auto body shop or doctor knowing the person/company you send the referral to intends to submit a fraudulent auto insurance claim.

PC 549.  Any firm, corporation, partnership, or association, or any
person acting in his or her individual capacity, or in his or her
capacity as a public or private employee, who solicits, accepts, or
refers any business to or from any individual or entity with the
knowledge that, or with reckless disregard for whether, the
individual or entity for or from whom the solicitation or referral is
made, or the individual or entity who is solicited or referred,
intends to violate Section 550 of this code or Section 1871.4 of the
Insurance Code is guilty of a crime, punishable upon a first
conviction by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one
year or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170
for 16 months, two years, or three years, or by a fine not exceeding
fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or double the amount of the fraud,
whichever is greater, or by both that imprisonment and fine.

California Penal Code § 550 prohibits referring someone to an auto body shop or doctor knowing the person/company you send the referral to intends to submit a fraudulent auto insurance claim.  Most people who are accused auto insurance fraud generally find themselves facing this charge, which prohibits knowingly presenting a fraudulent insurance claim for loss or injury, knowingly making or signing a false document, knowingly “staging” an accident, and claiming to live in another city in order to obtain a cheaper auto insurance policy.

California Penal Code § 551 is designed to punish auto repair dealers who offer insurance agents and/or adjusters monetary compensation to refer customers to their shop.

The codes are very lengthy codes and can be reviewed here

If you suspect fruad,  carefully review all paperwork from auto body repair shops. Always be cautious of any auto body or repair facility that makes referrals to medical or legal offices. This practice may be an indicator of “capping.” Capping is the illegal referral of clients to legal and medical offices for a fee.

“Paper collisions” have gained popularity amongst fraud perpetrators, as they are less dangerous from a bodily injury standpoint, and there is less likelihood of police involvement.These collisions only exist on paper and generally innocent parties are not involved.

For legal advice on any alleged car insurance fraud, contact the Law Office of Peter S. Cameron at 877-603-8473 or submit our online claim.  Mr. Cameron will carefully review your case and advise you of all your legal options.

This article is for educational and marketing purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship.