Fraud is the general term used to define a range of offenses involving dishonesty or misrepresentation of fact, a falsified statement, or deceitful behavior (“fraudulent acts”). Somebody commits fraud when they intentionally deceive another person to make personal gain or to damage that person. People commit fraud in many settings, and people are committing more fraud on the Internet than ever before. Depending on the nature of the fraudulent activity, fraud can be charged at the federal or state level. Fraud crimes charged at the federal level include counterfeiting and crimes that cross state lines.
How the Law Defines Fraud
Fraud charges can be civil or criminal in nature. Civil fraud applies to incidences involving bad faith; in these cases, penalties are intended to reprimand the offender and return the victim to the personal or financial position he or she was in before the fraudulent action took place. A criminal fraud charge, on the other hand, assumes intent on the part of the fraud perpetrator.
The specific definition of fraud varies among federal and state laws, but several essential elements are required in order for a fraud charge to stand. In general, a fraud charge must prove:
(1) a misrepresentation of a fact;
(2) by a person or entity who knows or believes the fact to be false;
(3) to a person or entity who justifiably relies on the misrepresentation; and
(4) injury or loss resulting from this reliance.
In most states, each of these elements must be proven individually in order for an incidence to be deemed fraud.
Types of Fraud in Arizona
There are various types of fraud. the most common offenses occur via mail, telephone, or on the Internet. Frequently-occurring fraud offenses include:
- Tax fraud (i.e. tax evasion)
- Insurance fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Identity theft
- Securities fraud
- Mail fraud
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Bank fraud
- Government fraud
- Political corruption
- Pyramid schemes
- Wire fraud
- Unemployment Fraud
Because fraud encompasses such a wide variety of actions – ranging from white-collar crimes to grand theft – fraud charges are divided into three general categories: consumer fraud, employee fraud, and fraud committed against a governmental institution or entity.
Consumer fraud – This category includes instances where individual consumers are defrauded (i.e. identity theft, telephone scams, securities fraud, credit card fraud, check fraud, Ponzi schemes).
Employee fraud – Covers instances when an employee violates his or her fiduciary duty to the company or its clients by embezzling funds, accepting bribes, or selling trade secrets.
Fraud committed against the government or businesses – This category includes tax fraud, insurance fraud, tax evasion, healthcare fraud, counterfeiting, welfare fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and Medicare and Social Security fraud.
It’s Possible to Have Your Fraud Penalties Reduced
We’ve helped clients in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona facing all types of fraud charges. Here’s an example of a recent fraud case that had a positive outcome:
For example, unemployment fraud typically means one year in prison, $150,000 fines, and a class 6 felony charge. Fraudulent schemes is typically charged as class 2 felony in Arizona and can come with 12.5 years in prison.
See how we’ve helped other clients deal with their charges by checking out our recent case results.
Mesa Fraud Lawyer
While the criteria required to establish fraud vary in state and federal laws, one must generally be able to prove that an important fact was misrepresented by a person who knew the information was false to a victim who suffered a loss or injury as a result of reasonable reliance on the misrepresented fact. The misrepresented fact must be substantial and must have played a critical role in the victim’s decision. In order to be considered fraud, the misrepresented information must be a fact, not an opinion.
Penalties for Fraud Charges in Arizona
As fraud can be both a civil and criminal offense, victims can file suit in civil court if criminal charges aren’t pursued by the prosecutor. Criminal penalties vary from fines and probation to prison sentences of up to 15 years. Civil penalties generally involve fines which allow the victim to recover the value of his or her lost property or assets. The victim is also typically awarded money to pay for attorney’s fees and to compensate for any funds spent clearing his or her credit record. Because fraud is a broadly defined crime carrying various penalties from state to state, seeking help from a local attorney is critical if you have been accused or are the victim of any type of fraud.
Prosecutors do not take lightly to those who commit fraud. Jail time and fines can be quite severe for fraud, and defendants should never face fraud charges without legal representation.
A Mesa fraud attorney can stand by your side and help defend your case! If you’re facing fraud charges in Mesa, Arizona then JacksonWhite can help. Our criminal defense team will work with you to determine the best possible defense for your case.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.
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