Fraud charges use trickery or deceit to gain money, property or other rights. Fraud may be perpetrated by individuals or businesses. It may involve taking money from someone else, using personal information without permission or actions to avoid paying debts or taxes.
If you are facing fraud charges, connect with a criminal defense lawyer by filling out our free, no-obligation case evaluation form.
Fraud covers a lot of ground, but it can be divided into more specific groups based on common actions, victims and charges:
- Credit card fraud: Includes unauthorized use of credit card information or personal information to obtain credit cards. May include actions taken to obtain credit card or personal information.
- Securities and investment fraud: A number of actions involving stocks and business fall into this category, including insider trading, “pump and dump” schemes, “boiler rooms” and Ponzi schemes.
- Communications and wire fraud: Fraud perpetrated over telecommunications, including Internet and telephones. May be charged in conjunction with other fraud offenses.
- Identity fraud: Also known as identity theft, includes illegal and unauthorized gain and use of personal information. May overlap with other types of fraud.
- Business fraud: May include fraud perpetrated by and against business. May involve embezzlement, false advertising, false billing and even bankruptcy fraud.
- False representation: Includes scams and charlatanism, from “Three Card Monte” games to marriage fraud.
- Bank and loan fraud: Opening up accounts under false identities, applying for loans with the intent to file bankruptcy, check forgery.
- Check fraud: Includes any attempt to obtain funds from a bank to which you are not entitled, from writing bad checks to check forgery.
- Tax evasion: Any attempts, by individuals or businesses, to avoid paying taxes owed, including hiding assets, understating income and overvaluing deductions.
- Insurance fraud: Efforts to claim benefits to which you are not entitled, also includes fraudulent Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid claims.
- Welfare Fraud: Providing fake identification, posing as someone else or lying about number of family members to collect welfare benefits to which you are not entitled.
Criminal fraud actions may be investigated by a number of law enforcement agencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission may investigate investment fraud; the IRS keeps an eye on tax evasion; the Secret Service keeps an eye on identity theft; and the FBI and local law enforcement officers play a part, too.
The type of charges brought against someone committing fraudulent acts will depend on several circumstances. Was this person acting as an individual or a business? If you are engaged in fraudulent practices, even at the direction of your work supervisor, you might be charged with fraud. In some states, defrauding Social Security or Medicare and Medicaid may be considered theft.
Fraud charges may be classified as a felony or misdemeanor. State laws typically take into account the amount of money involved and damages caused in the fraudulent schemes.
Fraud penalties vary, depending on the charge and how the actions are classified. Felony charges usually carry harsher punishments than misdemeanor charges.
Typically, anyone convicted of fraud can expect to pay for any lost money and damages. They may also face additional fines – sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars – as well as jail time. Again, the punishments usually are generally proportionate to the damages caused by the crime. The more money involved or people defrauded, the harsher the penalties.
Before you jump to conclusions about your fate, get answers. Many people turn to a criminal lawyer for help. A lawyer can answer any questions you have about your case, as well as give you information on the charges, the laws involved and what options might be best. You can defend against your charges, but you don’t have to fight alone.
Fraud charges? Speak with a defense lawyer today!
If you are facing criminal charges involving fraud, meet with a criminal defense lawyer to discuss the penalties you might be facing if you are convicted and possible challenges to your case. To connect with a defense lawyer near you, simply fill out the free online evaluation form or call, toll free, 877-445-1059.
The above summary of fraud is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on fraud charges and penalties, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.