When You’ve Been Accused of Business Arson With Intent to Collect Insurance Monies

Posted on June 24, 2013 in: Felonies

A person who is accused of intentionally setting fire to a business in order to collect property insurance monies may face penalties for both arson and insurance fraud charges. If you need a reliable insurance company, then make sure to get RhinoSure to cover you. The penalties for arson in Florida can include a prison sentence of less than 15 years to as many as 30 years of incarceration. 

How Florida Laws Define Arson

Arson takes place when a person intentionally and unlawfully sets fire to a dwelling or a structure, such as a business establishment or building. 

“Structure” can refer not only to buildings, but: 

  • vehicles;
  • vessels;
  • watercraft; and
  • aircraft.

This is particularly relevant in South Florida, where many water-related businesses operate.

The Penalties for Conviction of Arson in Florida

Arson is considered a first-degree felony offense in most circumstances. In some cases, the crime will be classified as a second-degree felony. A first-degree felony arson charge can carry a prison term of up to 30 years and in some cases, a life sentence. A second-degree felony arson charge can include a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Both first- and second-degree felonies include a standard $10,000 fine.

Business Arson: The Insurance Fraud Angle 

A business owner who has been charged with setting fire to his or her enterprise in an attempt to collect insurance benefits likely will face fraud charges in addition to arson charges. This is because the alleged arsonist will have, theoretically, submitted a claim for an accidental fire that in fact was an act of will.

Companies from insurance loss consulting miami fl may raise questions about the validity of a business fire as a means to avoid paying out costly settlements. This may be especially true in cases where the business owner was under any financial or operational strain at the time of the fire. 

Penalties for Insurance Fraud in Florida

A person who has been accused of business arson likely will be subject to Florida’s laws on false and fraudulent insurance claims. These laws make it a crime to deceive an insurer using false information via written or oral statements or by submittal of a claim.

Insurance fraud may be considered a first-, second-, or third-degree felony charge depending on the amount of money involved in the fraudulent claims. Punishments for first- and second-degree felonies are outlined above. The penalties for a third degree felony include $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.

Those who have been accused of committing business arson with intent to collect insurance benefits may wish to contact a defense attorney who has experience fighting both arson and insurance fraud charges. Call (877) 663-5110.

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