One of the categories of crime we write about on this blog is white collar crimes. These are offenses which, according to the website of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, involve lying, cheating and stealing. Fraud is the crime most often associated with this category. Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the damage fraud schemes can wreak on companies, families and investors.

Fraud, intentional deception in order to achieve personal gain or harm another, can involve millions of dollars or only thousands of dollars. A good example of small-scale fraud is the case of two Slidell residents who recently sold their boat to a Florida couple after they claimed it was lost during Hurricane Katrina. The two have now been cited with insurance fraud.

According to sources, the couple reported their boat missing in August 2005 and collected money on it from their insurance company. Investigators now believe, though, that the couple sold the boat to buyers in Lee County Florida.

Authorities apparently began following the case when the couple’s buyers registered the boat in Florida. A probe eventually determined that the couple had filed false public documents and injured official records, and the couple was charged with insurance fraud, theft and injuring official records on December 15.

If convicted of insurance fraud theft, the couple faces up to 10 years in prison and as much as $3,000 in fines. If convicted of injuring official records, they could be in prison for up to 5 years and fined as much as $5,000.

Source: nola.com, “Slidell couple accused of insurance fraud in sale of boat,” Ramon Antonio Vargas, December 21, 2011.