Gers: three men sentenced for insurance fraud after an episode of hail

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An insurer, a craftsman and an entrepreneur were tried and sentenced this Thursday, May 12, by the Auch criminal court for attempted fraud and fraudulent alteration of the truth in a writing to an insurance company after an episode of hail.

The hearing, chaired by Philippe Romanello, opened at 1:30 p.m. this Thursday, May 12, at the Auch Criminal Court. Among the cases judged, a case of fraud in insurance. Two defendants appeared today. The third, with work obligations, was represented by his lawyer. The facts took place from December 1, 2020 to March 30, 2021 in Auch. The victims in this case: a craftsman and a famous insurance company.

It all started at the end of 2018, the weather was capricious, hail fell on a building belonging to Joël*, a 51-year-old entrepreneur. The roof of the building, a farmhouse, was damaged. He declared the accident on July 5 to his insurer. After which, an expert is mandated to observe and quantify the extent of the damage at approximately €40,000.

Two accomplices and a false invoice

Immediate compensation of approximately €18,720 was granted at the end of the year. It was to be followed by deferred payment upon submission of the invoice for the repair work on the roof. But this compensation is slow for Joël, while he has still not provided an invoice. Indeed, in the event of a claim, some contracts contain a clause requiring the insured to repair or rebuild his property within two years in order to receive this famous deferred compensation. What Joël did not do, who finally decides to take matters into his own hands.

He contacts his insurer, with whom he is also a friend, to ask about the progress of the procedure. “It’s not because he is friends with him that he was trying to find solutions. But because he was likely to engage his professional liability, ”underlined the lawyer of the defendant victim of the disaster, speaking of the insurer. The latter will indeed advise Joel to obtain a recent invoice from a craftsman in order to release these allowances.

“I wanted to serve”

It is in this phase that the third defendant intervenes, a craftsman with whom a colleague would have inadvertently forgotten a biller. At the request of Joël and the insurer, the latter draws up an invoice. He indicated during a hearing that the insurer would also have explicitly asked him to triple the amount indicated on the invoice. This runs and stamps the paper with the stamp of the owner of the biller. “I wanted to help,” he explains at the helm.

“I said it’s not possible, it will never pass”

The insurance received the document in January 2021. But given the abnormally high amount and a late invoice, it contacted the craftsman (whose invoice is in his name, editor’s note). The latter indicates that he has never issued an invoice and realizes that one of the sheets is missing in his biller. He decides to file a complaint. The insurer, the contractor and the craftsman are implicated. Custody and hearing followed. The insurer does not recognize the facts and disputes the statements of the two other defendants. For him, there is a “misinterpretation” of the remarks.

The insurer and the contractor were fined 5,000 euros (including 3,000 and 2,000 euros suspended). The craftsman who edited the invoice received a three-month suspended prison sentence.

*Name has been changed

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