By: Onisuru Ojegba Legal Intern to the firm
Insurance fraud consists of crimes where an individual consumer or insurance company, agent, or adjuster commits deliberate deception to obtain illicit profits or benefits. While the classification of insurance fraud is broad and consists of many different variations, including health care fraud, life insurance fraud, and unemployment fraud, the crime occurs in the same manner; during the process of buying, selling, or underwriting insurance.
While every state has its own laws which criminalize insurance fraud, federal law does not specifically address the crime. Instead, federal law addresses insurance fraud through The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994), which gives the Federal Government jurisdiction over insurance fraud once a transaction crosses state lines (either physically or through wire). The alleged fraud then falls into the federal government’s jurisdiction and will be prosecuted at the federal level. Title 18 U.S. Code § 1033: specifically outlines this jurisdiction as Crimes by or affecting persons engaged in the business of insurance whose activities affect interstate commerce. This law separates insurance fraud into 5 categories including: