When Marylanders think of insurance fraud, the first thing that might pop in to their minds is someone or a small group of people burning down properties or faking car accidents in order to get money.
In fact, though, Maryland's insurance fraud laws can be a trap even for people who are generally speaking well-intentioned. In the worst case, perhaps they gave in to a temptation to tell what they thought was a white lie or an exaggeration to an insurance company.
In some situations, what an insurance company and even the authorities may call fraud is in fact a case of someone simply not understanding exactly how insurance works or being careless, but certainly not out of a bad motive.
This is because insurance fraud can include even filing exaggerated claims after a legitimate incident. For example, someone who reports an item that they simply misplaced as stolen during a burglary has committed insurance fraud, even if they feel that overall, the insurance company wasn't really out anything.
On the flip side, giving incorrect information on an insurance application to get a discount to which one is not entitled, even if the discount is a small one, is insurance. Like other fraud and theft cases, insurance fraud charges can be felony white collar crimes depending on the circumstances.
The bottom line is that a person should think twice before filling out a claim form or application for insurance, and they should double check their statements to make sure they are accurate.
Those who have been accused of insurance fraud, whether they may have made an error in judgment or were innocently careless in filling out paperwork, should consider consulting with a Maryland criminal defense attorney in order to evaluate their legal options.