Was this a Sin or a Good Deed?


A family member of mine was in a car accident (thankfully, no one was hurt, but their car was totaled). Anyway, they are very busy with work and other stuff, but they wanted to do an online driving school to keep their insurance rates from going up and to reduce the ticket cost.

Anyway, they asked me if I would do the course for them since they are so busy and I have a lot of free time these days (graduated, still can’t find work). I agreed and did the course for them. They have also said they would like me to do a correspondence license renewal course (they are a real estate broker among other things) for them; again, they are muy busy.

I am happy to do this for them and they have even offered to pay me (I never asked for money though).

Is this a sin or a good deed on my part?


Absolutely not a good deed! You are helping them to commit fraud in both cases - gaining unmerited financial or employment advantages, to which they have no right, by means of deceit.

If the licence renewal course is like the professional courses I have to do, it upgrades and updates their skills and learning. Without those being current, they could end up stuffing things up majorly for their real estate clients - losing them mucho money. In fact it’s quite an irresponsible thing for them to do altogether.

They may be muy busy, but what you’ve done is muy unfair to those who made the effort, found the time and did the courses themselves. It’s a sin against the honest folk if nothing else.


You can’t do anythng about the first, but you’ll have to stand up against the second. God grant you courage and grace to do so.

Unless you knew you were doing wrong you don’t have full culpability. I guess you may have got caught up in their way of thinking and their perceived need…but you have begun a new journey so not all the worlds ways can be yours.

“My son, do not scorn correction from God,
do not resent His rebuke;
for God reproves the one He loves,
as a father checks a well-loved son.” [Proverbs 3:11, 12]

Prayer for you in St Pauls’ words

“This…is what I pray before the Father from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name: Out of His infinite glory, may He give you the power through His Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.”
“Glory be to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to Him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.” [Ephesians 3: 14-21]

God bless you and give you peace, the peace that only Christ can give.

Warm wishes, Trishie


Would this be a mortal sin issue? I ask because I would say there is not intent. After all, my intent is not to commit fraud or help someone else commit fraud. My intent is to help someone else out.

I sort of already told this person that I would work on that course them, although they will have to go over all my answers and check everything out. Technically, I am not doing the test for them since they will have to fill out the actual test sheet and check over what I have done.


No it’s not a mortal sin as you didn’t think it through with intent to defraud. Please allow yourself to feel calmed in God’s merciful love. He knows you. He knows your heart and that you still have much to learn.

Are you saying that you are doing research rather than doing the course and that they have to view and screen, assess your research and themselves write the test? In the first instance…it sounded like you actually did the first course yourself which was wrong if they were supposed to do it.

To be certain, before you begin, can you ask the priest you are beginning to know? Even if you’ve promised, if it’s wrong you have to in conscience do the right thing. Love for God is the first commandment, love for others follows as the second commandment.If you are just doing research in the second case and just intend to pass on the research …I think its best if you just ask your priest if in this instance you’re not doing wrong.

Warm regards, Trishie


Whether it’s a mortal sin issue is for you and your confessor to work out.

Intent as far as sin goes doesn’t quite work that way. There’s a principle called ‘double effect’, but that only applies where there is NO viable alternative to the sinful behaviour. Like an ectopic pregnancy where mother and embryo (child) will both 100% certainly die unless the fallopian tube is removed, which ends the life of the child but saves that of the mother.

In this case there are alternatives - the person could do the work themselves, or not do it if they’re too busy and lose the fraudulent benefit.

And ‘technically’ I don’t think is good enough, you’re still doing part of the work for them which they need to do themselves. :hmmm: Or do they? Is it a condition of doing the courses that their answers must all be their own work?


And ‘technically’ I don’t think is good enough, you’re still doing part of the work for them which they need to do themselves. Or do they? Is it a condition of doing the courses that their answers must all be their own work?

It doesn’t say.


Well, it’s still done in their name so they’re passing it off as their own work by implication. Best not do it.


The only thing the person is actually turning in is the exam sheet, which I am not touching or marking in any way.


Definetly a sin, probably a mortal one.

Oh, and a crime, too.

You are being paid to commit insurance fraud. Your part in the scheme is effectively to lie to the company on behalf of a family member.

This isn’t like letting him/her copy from your Algebra exam. The info in the driver’s course could potentially save a life, his or someone else’s: that’s the moral responsibilty you are taking on to your own shoulders here. What is this family member doing that’s more important than that?

And its VERY pre-meditated. He agreed to the course to save a couple bucks, figured it would be cheaper to pay you to lie about it than to accept the consequences of his actions. That says something pretty ugly about him, and about who he thinks you are.

Note I say ‘probably’ mortal sin, not definetly-- consult your priest, etc. But you have clear intent here, no emotions, hormones, etc. to dull that edge. You are fully consenting, there is no gun to your head or other mitigating factor, and the matter is serious: insurance fraud. The amount of money may be small, but that just makes you a cheap ‘date’. A five dollar hooker is still a prostitute.

Reading back over this, it sounds far more harsh than I mean it to, and I’m very sorry for that: I wish I had the skill to convey my points in a more gentle manner, but the points remain valid.

Maybe I’m overstating the case: it’s less serious than helping the family member lie about an injury, or providing him with a fake alibi for a serious crime. But it is very much the same as providing false documents so they can collect money they don’t deserve: it’s exactly like that.

I’d simply tell him that you are awfully sorry, but after thinking about it, you just aren’t comfortable with the situation, and need to spend your time more productively.


Well, I already did the driver’s thing earlier today before I even made this topic. Sorry.

By the way, he is paying for the course and it is not a requirement (i.e. mandated by a judge or something). Oh well, well at least I have got something interesting to talk to my Confessor about (I meant that sarcastically BTW).

Also, I am not submitting anything to anyone. The driver’s course was a 3rd-party group not affiliated with the insurance company or the government. I forwarded the completion certificate to the family member.


sounds like fraud, criminal violation, as well as mortal sin from where I sit. doing it for money just compounds the evil, and incidentally makes you an aider and abettor their illegal actions, including the effects of their auto accident.


How exactly is this insurance fraud?

I guess I will find out today when I go to Confession.


if their insurance rates are based on a safe driving discount and the on-line course is a factor, yes that is one of many contributors to the evil of the act. I stress I am, as title asks, judging the deed, not the person.


How is it a criminal violation for me? I am not submitting anything to the insurance company.


Does anyone else think it is funny when someone starts a thread, "is this a sin?’ Then when they are told numerous times, that yes, it is, the OP goes into all the reasons it isn’t. :shrug:

Yes, this is insurance fraud. Your friend is getting a cheaper rate for insurance because he lied to the insurance company. And you helped him lie. How is this NOT insurance fraud. :ehh:


You gave them the stuff to submit. :rolleyes:

This is from CA but all states have similar laws.

What is Insurance Fraud?
Fraud occurs when someone **knowingly lies to obtain some benefit or advantage to which they are not otherwise entitled **or someone knowingly denies some benefit that is due and to which someone is entitled. Depending on the specific issues involved, an alleged wrongful act may be handled as an administrative action by the Department or the Fraud Division may handle it as a criminal matter.


It’s immoral to give help in this particular case. The end does not justify the means. If we feel the end result will be good does not justify us doing anything to get there. If you help them here you become an enabler. An enabler is one who enables another to do their bad deeds by making it easier and more comfortable for them. The term is often used for people who live with alcoholics and other addicts and allow themselves to be manipulated into doing things that enables the addict to carry on with their addiction unaffected. Do you want to be an enabler? You may have legal problems too.


Sorry for being so argumentative. As I said, I will go to Confession today and I have no intention of doing this again, so that should resolve the issue.


Sorry if we’ve been tough on you.

FWIW, I don’t think you started this with any bad intentions, and the fact that you’ve been willing and able to discuss it in a calm, adult manner is quite impressive.

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