R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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White collar crime in a blue collar setting: insurance fraud

White collar crime is traditionally thought to be a crime committed by an individual who has gained considerable assets in the course of his or her business. That definition may not fit the facts of every insurance fraud case in Texas, though one such white collar crime investigation certainly has a blue collar tint. A Willis man has been accused of committing insurance fraud by hiding his Harley Davidson while claiming it was stolen.

The 41-year-old man's insurance company paid him $7,552 after he allegedly filed a claim saying that his 1976 Harley was stolen. A criminal complaint against him claims that the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office was contacted in June 2011 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The complaint includes documents that purportedly showed that the man filed the claim 10 days after he purchased the insurance policy on July 15, 2008. However, the NCIB claims the former girlfriend of the accused told the Bureau that the motorcycle was stored at her mother's home for a time period after the insurance claim was paid.

The man has been charged with felony insurance fraud. The investigation, however, is said to be ongoing. The testimony of the man's former girlfriend is not likely to be sufficient to prove his guilt before a Texas jury, though her mother is said to have photographs of the motorcycle that were taken while it was stored in her garage.

White collar crime or not, the man faces two years in jail if convicted. Of necessity, he must focus his attention on the allegations against him to prepare a meaningful and vigorous defense that seeks acquittal or another favorable result. Like any other person accused of a crime in Texas, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until the charges against him are proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: yourspringnews.com, "Harris County charges man in Harley fraud case," Nancy Flake, Dec. 7, 2011

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