What constitutes an acomplice in insurance fraud?

Asked almost 6 years ago - Austin, TX

16 yr old daughter (w/o license - -permit only) drove someone else's car & hit a tree. (the 2 girls were "off campus" for lunch) Upset, she & the passenger (the other girl whose parents own the car) left w/o calling the police. Later, & unknown to us, the other girl & her mom lied to the police & said that the mom was driving so they could make an insurance claim & the girls would not get into trouble for leaving school during lunch. (The mom was not even there at the time of the accident) I am worried about lies to the police and insurance fraud. Can my daughter get into trouble? I don't think they even told them she was there? But the neighbor who came to check on them knows! ???

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Answered . Your daughter committed possibly a couple of criminal violations. If she damaged property and failed to stop, then she could be filed on for failure to stop and give information. This includes a tree, mailbox, etc. that may have been involved. If the tree was on a person's property, then she had a duty to inform the homeowner of the incident. The police did not have to be called.

    Your daughter also committed an offense of driving without a driver's license. If DPS was aware of this, your daughter could not get her driving license until she was at least 18 (and maybe 21. I am unsure.)

    I do not know why the mother lied to the police as they did not have to be notified unless there was damage to a person's property which was required to be reported.

    However, as long as your daughter does not provide false information if contacted by the insurance company, then she has not committed fraud. However, most times, insurance companies want to talk to all witnesses which would include your daughter (if the other two reported that she was in the car), and they might even go to the scene (and possibly discover the neighbor witness.)

    Your situation is both a legal and ethical dilema, and may affect the future of your child. I would consult with a local lawyer because if my concern (as a criminal lawyer) that there is damage at the property. After receive the advice about the criminal situation, I would then consider what would be the best thing for your daughter and her future. (THAT is not legal advice in any manner as I hope is clear.)

  2. Answered . Your daughter did not participate in the fraud, and she does not have first hand knowledge regarding it. If she is questioned, she should not lie, but she has not obligation to come forward when there is only speculation as to the activities of the car owner.

    This answer is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only. It is also to give you general information and a general understanding of the law. This website is not intended to give you specific legal advice. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. I attempt to provide quality information, but the law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance.

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