When you hear the word fraud, you probably imagine a con artist telling lies to benefit himself in some way. On the other hand, if you hear about a superintendent of schools taking a sick, impoverished student to the doctor under her son’s name in order to help him get antibiotics, you might think she did something noble. But whether or not the act was benevolent, San Diego healthcare fraud defense lawyers say it doesn’t change the fact that the woman broke the law.
The Best Intentions Don’t Matter
This particular example happened in Indiana, where the superintendent took a 15 year old student to a doctor and filled a prescription for him under her son’s name so he could use her insurance. Someone called a tip in to the local police and the woman was arrested for fraud. The superintendent claimed she didn’t want to call the Department of Child Services because she was worried they would place the teen in foster care. The total cost of the medication and doctor’s visit $233.
The superintendent later resigned from her position and was charged with official misconduct, insurance fraud, insurance application fraud and identity deception. Three of these charges are felonies and one is a misdemeanor.
Medical Fraud Laws in California
Should the crime have happened here in California, she likely would have faced most of the same charges. The good news is that most of these crimes are what’s known as “wobblers” in California, meaning they can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. Given that the total fraudulent insurance claim was less than what would take to qualify as grand theft, and the motive for the criminal act, chances are the superintendent would likely only face misdemeanor charges. Even if some of the charges were filed as felonies, her San Diego fraud defense attorney would most likely be able to negotiate a plea bargain for them to be knocked down to misdemeanors.
Motive Can Matter for Sentencing
While the fact that she committed the crime for the sake of helping a student might not change the fact that she is guilty, it could impact her sentence. In fact, she was able to enter a diversion program, so if she successfully completes the program, the charges will stay off of her record.
Here in California, someone facing charges under similar circumstances might be able to get into a diversion program as well, but if not, their San Diego criminal lawyer might ensure they are only sentenced to probation.
If you have been accused of a crime, you should always stay silent until speaking with your San Diego defense attorney. By stating your motives, you might inadvertently be admitting guilt. Even if you plan to plead guilty, it is best to work with your attorney in order to negotiate the best outcome for your case. Peter M. Liss can help you if you have been charged with wrongdoing. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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