December 11, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XLVI
Crimes
Chapter 817
Fraudulent Practices
View Entire Chapter
Section 817.234, Florida Statutes 2001

817.234  False and fraudulent insurance claims.--

(1)(a)  A person commits insurance fraud punishable as provided in subsection (11) if that person, with the intent to injure, defraud, or deceive any insurer:

1.  Presents or causes to be presented any written or oral statement as part of, or in support of, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy or a health maintenance organization subscriber or provider contract, knowing that such statement contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to such claim;

2.  Prepares or makes any written or oral statement that is intended to be presented to any insurer in connection with, or in support of, any claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy or a health maintenance organization subscriber or provider contract, knowing that such statement contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to such claim; or

3.a.  Knowingly presents, causes to be presented, or prepares or makes with knowledge or belief that it will be presented to any insurer, purported insurer, servicing corporation, insurance broker, or insurance agent, or any employee or agent thereof, any false, incomplete, or misleading information or written or oral statement as part of, or in support of, an application for the issuance of, or the rating of, any insurance policy, or a health maintenance organization subscriber or provider contract; or

b.  Who knowingly conceals information concerning any fact material to such application.

(b)  All claims and application forms shall contain a statement that is approved by the Department of Insurance that clearly states in substance the following: "Any person who knowingly and with intent to injure, defraud, or deceive any insurer files a statement of claim or an application containing any false, incomplete, or misleading information is guilty of a felony of the third degree." This paragraph shall not apply to reinsurance contracts, reinsurance agreements, or reinsurance claims transactions.

(2)(a)  Any physician licensed under chapter 458, osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, chiropractic physician licensed under chapter 460, or other practitioner licensed under the laws of this state who knowingly and willfully assists, conspires with, or urges any insured party to fraudulently violate any of the provisions of this section or part XI of chapter 627, or any person who, due to such assistance, conspiracy, or urging by said physician, osteopathic physician, chiropractic physician, or practitioner, knowingly and willfully benefits from the proceeds derived from the use of such fraud, commits insurance fraud, punishable as provided in subsection (11). In the event that a physician, osteopathic physician, chiropractic physician, or practitioner is adjudicated guilty of a violation of this section, the Board of Medicine as set forth in chapter 458, the Board of Osteopathic Medicine as set forth in chapter 459, the Board of Chiropractic Medicine as set forth in chapter 460, or other appropriate licensing authority shall hold an administrative hearing to consider the imposition of administrative sanctions as provided by law against said physician, osteopathic physician, chiropractic physician, or practitioner.

(b)  In addition to any other provision of law, systematic upcoding by a provider, as defined in s. 641.19(15), with the intent to obtain reimbursement otherwise not due from an insurer is punishable as provided in s. 641.52(5).

(3)  Any attorney who knowingly and willfully assists, conspires with, or urges any claimant to fraudulently violate any of the provisions of this section or part XI of chapter 627, or any person who, due to such assistance, conspiracy, or urging on such attorney's part, knowingly and willfully benefits from the proceeds derived from the use of such fraud, commits insurance fraud, punishable as provided in subsection (11).

(4)  Any person or governmental unit licensed under chapter 395 to maintain or operate a hospital, and any administrator or employee of any such hospital, who knowingly and willfully allows the use of the facilities of said hospital by an insured party in a scheme or conspiracy to fraudulently violate any of the provisions of this section or part XI of chapter 627 commits insurance fraud, punishable as provided in subsection (11). Any adjudication of guilt for a violation of this subsection, or the use of business practices demonstrating a pattern indicating that the spirit of the law set forth in this section or part XI of chapter 627 is not being followed, shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of the license to operate the hospital or the imposition of an administrative penalty of up to $5,000 by the licensing agency, as set forth in chapter 395.

(5)  Any insurer damaged as a result of a violation of any provision of this section when there has been a criminal adjudication of guilt shall have a cause of action to recover compensatory damages, plus all reasonable investigation and litigation expenses, including attorneys' fees, at the trial and appellate courts.

(6)  For the purposes of this section, "statement" includes, but is not limited to, any notice, statement, proof of loss, bill of lading, invoice, account, estimate of property damages, bill for services, diagnosis, prescription, hospital or doctor records, X ray, test result, or other evidence of loss, injury, or expense.

(7)  The provisions of this section shall also apply as to any insurer or adjusting firm or its agents or representatives who, with intent, injure, defraud, or deceive any claimant with regard to any claim. The claimant shall have the right to recover the damages provided in this section.

(8)  It is unlawful for any person, in his or her individual capacity or in his or her capacity as a public or private employee, or for any firm, corporation, partnership, or association, to solicit or cause to be solicited any business from a person involved in a motor vehicle accident by any means of communication other than advertising directed to the public for the purpose of making motor vehicle tort claims or claims for personal injury protection benefits required by s. 627.736. Charges for any services rendered by a health care provider or attorney who violates this subsection in regard to the person for whom such services were rendered are noncompensable and unenforceable as a matter of law. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(9)  It is unlawful for any attorney to solicit any business relating to the representation of a person involved in a motor vehicle accident for the purpose of filing a motor vehicle tort claim or a claim for personal injury protection benefits required by s. 627.736. The solicitation by advertising of any business by an attorney relating to the representation of a person injured in a specific motor vehicle accident is prohibited by this section. Any attorney who violates the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Whenever any circuit or special grievance committee acting under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court finds probable cause to believe that an attorney is guilty of a violation of this section, such committee shall forward to the appropriate state attorney a copy of the finding of probable cause and the report being filed in the matter. This section shall not be interpreted to prohibit advertising by attorneys which does not entail a solicitation as described in this subsection and which is permitted by the rules regulating The Florida Bar as promulgated by the Florida Supreme Court.

(10)  As used in this section, the term "insurer" means any insurer, health maintenance organization, self-insurer, self-insurance fund, or other similar entity or person regulated under chapter 440 or chapter 641 or by the Department of Insurance under the Florida Insurance Code.

(11)  If the value of any property involved in a violation of this section:

(a)  Is less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b)  Is $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c)  Is $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(12)  As used in this section:

(a)  "Property" means property as defined in s. 812.012.

(b)  "Value" means value as defined in s. 812.012.

History.--s. 7, ch. 76-266; s. 36, ch. 77-468; s. 3, ch. 78-258; s. 1, ch. 79-81; s. 487, ch. 81-259; s. 9, ch. 83-28; s. 24, ch. 88-370; s. 41, ch. 91-110; s. 123, ch. 92-149; s. 8, ch. 95-340; s. 1253, ch. 97-102; s. 65, ch. 97-264; s. 298, ch. 98-166; s. 6, ch. 99-204; s. 11, ch. 2000-252; s. 7, ch. 2001-271.

Note.--Former s. 627.7375.

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