Burning To Defraud an Insurer in Florida

Burning to defraud an insurer

Most mortgage companies require homeowners who still have a mortgage to carry homeowner’s insurance. Designed to protect homeowners against unexpected events, home insurance policies pay for the damages a home sustains during a fire or other natural disasters. Unfortunately, there are situations where people attempt to collect the money an insurance company provides in the event of a disaster to pay for other expenses. This practice is considered fraud and is subject to severe penalties under the law.

If you or someone you know has been accused of setting fire to your home or property and charged with Burning to Defraud an Insurer, there are local attorneys in Orlando who can help you create a viable defense strategy and who understand the complexities of the criminal process.

What Constitutes Burning To Defraud an Insurer?

Burning To Defraud an Insurer is outlined as a criminal offense under Florida Statute 817.233. According to the statute, the offense is defined as: 

“Any person who willfully and with the intent to injure or defraud the insurer sets fire to or burns, or attempts to do so, or who causes to be burned, or aids, or counsels or procures the burning of any building, structure or personal property, of whatsoever class or character, whether the property of himself or herself or of another, which shall at the time be insured by any person against loss or damage by fire.”

In short, Burning To Defraud an Insurer is anyone who knowingly sets fire or helps set fire to a building with the intent of gaining funds from the insurance company. Any person who is charged with Burning To Defraud an Insurer is also likely to be charged with arson as the two charges go hand-in-hand under Florida law.

Why Do People Burn Their Property To Collect Insurance Money?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. When a person is short on funds or is stuck in a financial rut, they will often go to great lengths to gain the money they need to put themselves in a better situation. Common reasons people engage in the burning of property to collect insurance money include:

  • Pay off a mortgage
  • Pay off a home equity loan
  • Attempt to get rid of a property that is in bad condition
  • Pay for other unrelated debts

Unfortunately, engaging in this type of activity often puts the offender in a worse situation than they originally found themselves in, and it results in penalties they don’t want to face. 

Penalties for Burning To Defraud an Insurer In Florida

In the state of Florida, Burning To Defraud an Insurer is considered a Third Degree Felony. Crimes of that nature are subject to severe penalties that include but are not limited to incarceration, fines, and probation. The law defines the necessary penalties for Burning To Defraud an Insurer as:

  • Up to 15 years in jail
  • Up to 15 years probation
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

The minimum penalty for a person found guilty of this crime is 21 months in prison. Facing such severe consequences, it’s important for anyone accused of burning property with the intent to commit fraud to contact a trusted local attorney as quickly as possible. The right legal team will be able to develop a viable defense strategy that stands up in court and works to prove their innocence.

Common Defense Strategies For Burning To Defraud an Insurer Charges

An attorney team with experience on fraud and arson cases will be able to develop a defense strategy for Burning to Defraud an Insurer that stands up in court. Common defense strategies for the charge include:

  • Lack of evidence
  • Case of mistaken identity
  • Accidental fire
  • No intent to defraud

The defense strategy your law team chooses will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case. The more information and evidence you can help provide, the more likely you will be to mitigate your charges before a court appearance.

Knowledgeable Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys

Under the unfortunate circumstance that you’re arrested and charged with Burning To Defraud an Insurer, seek a trusted and competent local attorney right away. In and around the area of Orlando, the lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are the top choice for criminal defense lawyers. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our team of former prosecutors brings a unique point of view to every case and understands the criminal process.

The Umansky Law Firm believes you should not let your life be defined by a single mistake — especially a mistake you didn’t make. To schedule a free consultation and speak with an attorney call 407-228-3838 or contact us online today. It’s never too late to get the help you need!