Being charged with fraud is a very serious criminal offense. Fraud can be charged on both the federal and state level, depending on the case. Fraud is generally a white collar crime and typically does not involve any forms of violence. Usually, crimes of fraud are driven by money, with the perpetrator gaining a profit from the fraudulent act. Fraud is intentionally engaging in deceptive acts or misrepresentation in order to achieve personal gain. Fraud can be tried both civilly and criminally. Fraudulent acts generally include misrepresentation, false statements, or conduct that is deceitful. Fraudulent acts are primarily committed in order to gain something that is of value through deceiving or misleading a person into believing something that the perpetrator knows is false.
Types of Fraud
There are several different types of fraud that an individual can commit. The most common types of fraud include:
In order to be charged with criminal fraud, a person must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the evidence that has been collected in a case proves that there is no doubt that the person being charged committed the crime. The criminal charges for fraud vary depending on the type of fraud committed and the amount of money lost. Frauds that involve large amounts of money may also include additional penalties such as extra prison time.
Civil fraud may be charged under several circumstances including:
Individuals convicted of fraud in a civil court may be ordered to pay restitution (i.e., paying the victim back) or paying a substantial fine.
Fraud Warning Signs
Different types of fraud have different warning signs. A warning fraud for a wire fraud may be receiving a phone call from a caller you do not recognize that asks for you to send them payment for an offer. Another red flag of fraud may be if an unknown caller asks for your social security number or your last known address. Other red flags of fraud include strangers asking for your credit card or drivers license information or receiving unsolicited mail asking for payment on an account you did not open.
Businesses can also be affected by fraud. Owners of businesses should be aware of warning signs that may indicate fraud. Other individuals that may be affected by fraud include loan agents, landlords, and small business owners. Individuals who commit fraud against businesses often leave false references and provide fake phone numbers and addresses on applications.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of Fraud
If you are the victim of fraud, there are many resources that may help you. The are multiple organizations and entities that are geared toward helping victims of fraud. Most of the time victims of fraud are not able to recover the property or money that was stolen from them. Hiring a lawyer may help you better navigate your state’s laws regarding fraud.
Defending Fraud Charges
Computer fraud involves using a computer to commit identity fraud or any degree of fraud. These crimes are generally prosecuted on the federal level.
Securities fraud involves stockholder theft or deceiving investors into making decisions based on inaccurate information.
Credit card fraud is the unauthorized use of a credit card to purchase items of value.
Mortgage fraud occurs when one misrepresents information on a mortgage loan application. Given the recent mortgage crisis and economic state, this crime is becoming more common.
In any of these cases and many more, Raiser & Kenniff, PC will help defend your business and its reputation of these charges. While white collar crimes do not involve violence or physical harm to another, they are not victim-less crimes. Investors, the general public, and the businesses’ employees are often financially harmed in cases of white collar crime. For this reason, the government imposes strict penalties on white collar crime offenders. These strict penalties may include fees, fines, and lengthy prison time. However, Raiser & Kenniff, PC is here to help your business effectively combat these charges.