Every year, employee fraud alone is estimated at $600 billion. Telemarketing
fraud costs victims $40 billion annually. More than nine million adults
are victims of identity fraud. Fraud can encompass a wide variety of categories,
including: corporate fraud, securities and commodities fraud, health care
fraud, investment fraud, check fraud, unemployment fraud, insurance fraud,
consumer fraud, internet fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, telemarketing
fraud, financial institution fraud, mass marketing fraud and asset forfeiture/money
laundering. California Penal Code, §484-502.9 and §532a discusses
fraud. Fraud can include:
- Intentional misrepresentation- an intentionally or reckless false statement
of fact, intention to defraud, or reliance upon a false statement resulting
- Negligent misrepresentation
- Concealment- the failure to disclose or conceal a material fact with an
intent to defraud the victim when the defendant had a duty to disclose
- False promise-when a defendant made a promise and did not perform the promise
and the victim was harmed as a result
California Penal Code 470 PC prohibits forgery, or the altering of a written
document with the intention to defraud. Forgery is when someone signs
someone else's name without authorization, counterfeits the handwriting
of another, corrupts a legal document, or falsely makes or counterfeits
any legal, financial or notarized document. California forgery laws apply
to acts that prejudice, damage or defraud someone out of money, property
or legal rights.
If a prosecutor is able to show that you had an "intent to defraud"
you could be found guilty of fraud. Defenses for individuals accused of
forgery include lack of intent or that the alleged document wouldn't
defraud another out of his/her rights. Forgery can be charged as either
a misdemeanor or a felony. If a defendant is convicted of forgery, he/she
can be forced to pay a $10,000 fine, pay restitution to victims, participate
in community service and serve a prison sentence.
Furthermore, if you are charged with and convicted of at least two charges
(or if you have two prior convictions), such as fraud and embezzlement,
you could receive a sentence enhancement of two to five years in prison.
Insurance fraud can involve car insurance, homeowners insurance, health
insurance, or life insurance- just to name a few. When someone falsifies
information concerning their insurance policy and receive payments they
are not entitled to, insurance fraud has taken place. Insurance fraud
can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level. Besides facing
criminal charges, you could face a civil lawsuit under RICO (Racketeering
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud can include writing down someone's credit card number
and using it to make purchases or stealing cards out of a person's
mailbox. First time offenders of credit card fraud can be sentenced to
10 to 15 years in prison. If a defendant already had a credit card conviction
on his/her record, the sentence could be 20 years. Misdemeanor credit
card convictions result in a jail sentence of 11 months. Credit card fraud
charges can either be a misdemeanor or a felony- depending on how a card
was obtained and what amount was charged to the card. A defendant usually
has to pay the amount of money stolen from the card and has to forfeit
whatever equipment was used to commit the fraud- such as a computer, telephone
or cell phone.
Internet fraud is also known as "cybercrime" and is one of the
most recent forms of fraud. Because of the prevalence of internet fraud
these days, the FBI has set up the Internet Crime Complaint Center. In
2010, the FBI and other organizations received over 300,000 complaints
about internet fraud.
Internet fraud involves fraudulent schemes, phishing (or using the internet
to obtain sensitive information) and accessing a computer or data without
permission. Internet fraud often involves the stealing of a person's
name, address and phone number, social security number, driver's license
number, health insurance number, bank account number, pin or password,
passport number, date of birth or any information commonly found on a
birth or death certificate.
Many forms of internet fraud are "wobblers"- which mean they
can be prosecuted as either a
misdemeanor or felony under California law. Regardless of the form of fraud charges you face-
any fraud conviction can result in potential
federal charges and severe penalties. A fraud conviction can not only send you to jail,
and cost you thousands of dollars- it will remain on your record for all
future employers to see.
If you want aggressive
criminal defense services on your side,
contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich today!