According to Italian authorities, a group of Sicilian gangsters is suspected of running an insurance fraud scheme in Palermo, Sicily. The gangsters are suspected to have recruited drug addicts, the mentally handicapped, and poor individuals to allow the men to crush their limbs, usually an arm or a leg, with 55-pound cast iron weights. There is often a wheelchair and an ambulance standing by to transport the individual to a hospital in Palermo, where they make an insurance claim for a fabricated accident. There are several hospital personnel suspected to be involved in the scheme as well, including a nurse and administrative individuals who assisted in fabricating the claims. Individuals were lured into participating with the promise of large amounts of money. While a crushed arm or leg can potentially bring as much as 150,000 euros in a claim payment, the gangsters would take money from the injured individuals, often leaving them with only a few hundred euros.
Fraud in Washington State
Fraud is considered a white-collar crime. White-collar crimes can often be characterized by deception, concealment, or a violation of trust with a financial motivation that is either to obtain or avoid losing money or property. Fraud statutes in Washington State specifically identify the following as fraud:
- Obtaining a signature by deception or duress;
- Criminal impersonation in the first degree;
- Criminal impersonation in the second degree;
- False certification;
- Fraudulent creation or revocation of a mental health advance directive; and
- False academic credentials.”
A person may be charged with forgery in Washington if he or she has “intent to injure or defraud when:
- He or she falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument; or
- He or she possesses, utters, offers, disposes of, or puts off as true a written instrument which he or she knows to be forged.”
A person is guilty of obtaining a signature by deception or duress, as may be the case with the Sicilian gangsters, “if by deception or duress and with intent to defraud or deprive he or she causes another person to sign or execute a written instrument.”
Both forgery and obtaining a signature by deception or duress are a class C felony in the State of Washington.
What Can You Do If You Are Arrested for Fraud?
An arrest for fraud can encompass and attach to many different areas. For example, identity theft, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, bankruptcy fraud, illegal possession of an ID, and even writing a bad check can have severe penalties, and charges such as these should not be taken lightly. The Law Offices of Steve Karimi are here to help. Steve Karimi has worked as a prosecutor in the Seattle area which allowed him to gain valuable insight into the criminal justice system which he now uses to fight for the justice of those accused.
If you or a loved one are arrested for fraud in western Washington state defense attorney Steve Karimi can help. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today for more information.