Fraud is the intentional deception, made for personal gain, or to damage another individual. Fraud is a crime and a violation of civil law. [De]frauding people, for money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud.
Fraud can be committed directly, person to person, as well as many other ways including; embezzlement, forgery, credit or debit card, pyramid schemes, money laundering, mail, telephone, cellphone, fax, wire (TV, radio) tax evasion, telemarketing, securities, and of course, the Internet.
Fraud and financial crimes can put your future in jeopardy, having a catastrophic impact on your life. At Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC, our team of San Francisco-based fraud attorneys work hard to protect your reputation and rights. You may be facing severe penalties such as steep fines and imprisonment depending on the crime and circumstances.
When you have been accused of or charged with fraud or financial crimes, consult with a skilled criminal defense lawyer to represent your rights at once. Good people often get involved in bad situations, and you deserve a second chance. Without proper representation, your career, future, and reputation are hanging in the balance.
Chances are you are more frightened at this moment than you have ever been in your life. What are you facing? Will you be put in prison, and for how long? Will you lose your job? We investigate and examine every detail, working diligently to secure your freedom and protect your reputation. Prosecutors may use aggressive tactics, but a skilled fraud attorney works just as vigorously to reach a successful verdict on your behalf.
Below is a list of common types of fraud:
Credit / Debit Card Fraud
Credit/debit card fraud is committed when one person 1) fraudulently obtains, takes, signs, uses, sells, buys, or forges someone else’s credit or debit card or card information; 2) uses his or her own card with the knowledge that it is revoked or expired or that the account lacks enough money to pay for the items charged; and 3) sells goods or services to someone else with knowledge that the credit or debit card being used was illegally obtained or is being used without authorization.
Embezzlement is defined in most states as theft/larceny of assets (money or property) by a person in a position of trust or responsibility over those assets. Embezzlement typically occurs in the employment and corporate settings.
For example, while working as a bank manager, Dan alters customer deposit receipts and account information, then siphons bank money into his own pocket.
The crime of forgery generally refers to the making of a fake document, the changing of an existing document, or the making of a signature without authorization. Documents that can be the object of forgery include contracts, identification cards, and legal certificates. Most states require that forgery be done with the intent to commit fraud or theft/larceny.
Insurance fraud occurs most often when an insured individual or entity makes a false or exaggerated insurance claim, seeking compensation for injuries or losses that were not actually suffered. Insurance fraud can also be committed upon customers, through 1) the sale of unlicensed or bogus insurance coverage to unsuspecting clients, or 2) an insurance broker or agent’s diversion or theft of insurance premiums paid by clients.
Money laundering statutes make it a crime to transfer money derived from almost any criminal activity (including organized crime, white-collar offenses, and drug transactions) into seemingly legitimate channels, in an attempt to disguise the origin of the funds.
Pyramid schemes are a criminal form of investment fraud in which a large return on a small amount of money is promised, if the initial investor convinces new recruits to invest their own money in turn. The “pyramid” is built on the belief that others will continue to add their own money into the scheme. But once additional investors become scarce, the pyramid collapses and large amounts of money can be lost. Increasingly, pyramid schemes are conducted via the Internet and e-mail.
Securities fraud can be committed when 1) a corporate officer or director makes a material misrepresentation, withholding, or distortion related to stock information (usually pertaining to value), 2) an officer or director unlawfully discloses confidential information related to a stock, and 3) an individual or entity acts upon the unlawful disclosure of certain confidential stock information.
Securities fraud is usually governed by both federal and state law, and legal action can be initiated by private investors, or by a government agency such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tax evasion/fraud laws make it a federal or state crime to purposefully avoid the payment of federal, state, or local taxes, whether those taxes are a personal obligation or that of a business entity. A tax evasion/fraud conviction can result in penalties such as fines, incarceration, and asset forfeiture.
Laws related to telemarketing fraud commonly pertain to various deceptive schemes directed at consumers via unsolicited telephone calls, promising prize winnings and large cash windfalls that are non-existent or fraudulent. Telemarketing fraud schemes are often targeted toward the elderly.
Wire fraud crimes refer broadly to any fraudulent or deceitful scheme to secure money or property, committed or aided through the use of interstate “wires” — meaning television, radio, telephone, or computer modem. Almost all instances of wire fraud are considered federal crimes, due to their potential interstate effects.