Many desperate, financially strapped car owners are intentionally destroying (burning in many cases) or simply dumping their vehicles and then reporting them stolen to cash in on the automobile insurance.
This is known as an owner “give-up”. Most claims are filed by first-time offenders looking for a quick financial fix. In most cases these are people who view this as a “victimless” crime and wouldn’t consider committing other types of more traditional and “personal” crimes. One industry insider described people who think “insurance companies are rich and fat” and won’t miss a little money
Experts say the billions of dollars in insurance losses are actually recouped from honest consumers as premium increases.
The New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud says the number of people arrested statewide on suspicion of making false auto theft reports jumped from 96 in 2007 to 130 in 2008.
Similar jumps have been measured in other cities.
Such cases can result in felony charges of insurance fraud, making false statements to police and insurance providers, and arson, if the car is burned.
Along with serving prison time, defendants can also be ordered to pay restitution.
Our advice as New York traffic lawyers? Simple and predictable–this isn’t a solution no matter how much you feel your back is up against a wall.
There may not be a perfect solution to your financial difficulties, but there are debt counselors, attorneys, non-profits and other organizations that can at least try to help you formulate a plan to productively and, equally as import, LEGALLY move forward.
The original AP story can be found here.
Submitted by Scott Feifer