Most insurance agents who deal with residents of Lackawanna County are willing to help their customers submit claims to their insurers, and some even act as advocates for the customer if the claim is rejected. Rarely, however, do these agents attempt to persuade their clients to submit false claims. Two agents in Lackawanna County were recently arrested and charged with insurance fraud.
The fraud arose from the situation of a homeowner whose basement was supposedly inundated by floodwaters but who did not have coverage for this kind of loss. Two insurance agents from Lackawanna are alleged to have coached the homeowner on how to submit a claim for a blocked sewer line instead of flood damage. Damage from a blocked sewer line was covered by the homeowner's existing insurance policy.
One of the agents allegedly convinced a local plumber to submit a false invoice for sewer work. The local plumber was actually a detective for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Task Force, and he reported the alleged request to the task force. The two agents were arrested and charged with insurance fraud, theft, and conspiracy charges.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty, but they face more than criminal penalties if they should be convicted. All insurance agents in Pennsylvania must obtain a license from the state Insurance Department. A violation of the Insurance Department regulations or state law may result in the suspension or revocation of an insurance license.
If convicted, the defendants in this case could permanently lose their licenses to sell insurance and thus be deprived of their livelihoods. For these reasons, a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney may be a helpful step. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide a helpful evaluation of the evidence, suggest potential defenses and, if appropriated, assist in the negotiation of a favorable plea agreement.