Fraud is the common element in all white-collar crimes. Fraud is a broad term, applied to many different types of crimes, but each one involves the principle of personal gain through deception.
Fraud is the use of deceit, breach of confidence, and/or trickery for personal gain or advantage. Actual damage or loss is not required. Fraud can be charged if there was intention to cause financial, legal, or property loss or damage.
Types of Fraud Crimes
Fraud schemes may be simple, highly complex, or involve many participants. They are prosecuted aggressively on both state and federal levels. Depending on the severity of the conduct and the amount of loss, or the potential loss, fraud crimes may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Fraud crimes typically do not involve physical violence, however lack of physical harm in a fraud crime does not mean the prosecution will “take it easy” on the accused.
A common example of fraud is identity theft. Identity theft is assuming or stealing the identity of another person for the purpose of committing a crime.
Many different crimes fall under fraud charges including:
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Bait and Switch
- Benefits Fraud
- Healthcare Fraud
- Medical Billing
- Mortgage Fraud
- Insurance Fraud
- Investment Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Securities Fraud
- Tax Fraud
FBI Fraud Investigations
Fraud crimes that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates usually relate to investment fraud such as letter of credit fraud, prime bank note fraud, pyramid schemes or pump and market manipulation, also referred to as “pump and dump” fraud.
Examples of additional fraud charges investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are:
- Telemarketing Fraud: Sending money or providing financial information to unknown callers who then use that information to commit fraud.
- “419″ Fraud, or “the Nigerian Letter”: Sending a letter claiming to be a government official or another representative and offering the opportunity to share a percentage of millions of dollars that must be transferred illegally and asking for financial information to facilitate for the transfer.
- Identity Theft: Stealing and/or assuming the identity of another to commit fraud or any other crime.
- Advance Fee Schemes: Falsely offering an item or service of greater value to be given after an initial collection of money, collecting the money, then giving little to nothing in return.
- Healthcare and/or Health Insurance Fraud: Unnecessary medical equipment or medical treatments that are billed to insurance companies or Medicare, or billing insurance companies for services never rendered.
- Strawman/Redemption/Bond Fraud: Claiming that the U.S. Treasury Department controls a bank account for a U.S. citizen that may be accessed by submitting certain paperwork.
- Ponzi Schemes: Promising high dividends or financial returns unavailable through traditional investments, then paying initial investors with the money invested by others.
Fraud Crime Penalties
Fraud crimes may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and may be prosecuted at either the state or federal level – or both. Fraud can carry a short jail sentence or a lengthy prison sentence. Fines fines up to thousands of dollars may be imposed and restitution payments to victims may be ordered.
Conviction in California often carry the burden of jail as well as the financial burden of fines and/or restitution.
How the Law Offices of David A. Stein Can Help You with a Fraud Charge
Contact our offices for a no-cost evaluation of your case.
An experienced fraud defense attorney can help you potentially avoid criminal charges from being filed, getting a case dismissed, or get charges reduced, or secure an alternative sentencing program. Our attorneys will evaluate the prosecutor’s fraud charges against you and will help you understand the defense process and all your legal options. We work aggressively to protect your rights.
David A. Stein specializes in white collar crimes and has proven results defending his clients. He brings to each client the experience of representing hundreds of individuals who were under investigation or charged with a wide range of criminal offenses, including fraud. His legal expertise, and his relationships with judges and prosecutors, has resulted in dismissals or reduction of charges.
The Law Offices of David A. Stein work in both State and Federal court.