A charge of fraud — let alone a conviction — can seriously damage your reputation, your freedom and your future. If you are facing any kind of fraud charge, you need a lawyer who is tough and experienced. Attorney Frank Rubino has more than 30 years of experience defending clients against nonviolent criminal offenses. He can provide strong defense to help you protect your future.
Zealous legal representation is critical in fraud cases. Seek help from a white collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call 866-718-3994 today.
What Is Fraud?
Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) defines fraud as “a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment.” The injury in fraud is usually depriving a person of money or other property that rightfully belongs to that person.
Fraud crimes are classified according to the type of transaction in which the deception occurred. Fraud is a serious and broadly defined criminal offense. Criminal fraud is a charge that can be brought against a business, as well as against an individual (a business cannot be put in prison, but it can be hit with substantial fines).
Types of Fraud
The federal mail fraud statute (18 U.S.C. § 1341. Frauds and swindles) can be used against a wide variety of crimes. Mail fraud requires proof of four elements: a scheme devised or intending to defraud or for obtaining money or property by fraudulent means; intent; materiality; and use of or causing to use the mails in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme.
The actual mailing does not have to be fraudulent, it just needs to be in furtherance of a scheme to defraud. Use of the mails does not need to be an essential element of the scheme; it is sufficient if the mailings are incident to an essential part of the scheme. The scheme to defraud element covers a wide variety of frauds, including insurance fraud, medical fraud, credit card fraud and securities fraud.
The federal wire fraud statute (18 U.S.C. § 1343. Fraud by wire, radio or television) functions parallel to the mail fraud statute. The elements of wire fraud are essentially the same as mail fraud, except wire fraud requires a transmittal in interstate or foreign commerce by means of wire, radio or television communication of writings, signs, signals, pictures or sounds, instead of use of the mails. There is no requirement that the defendant knew or foresaw that the transmission would go interstate, only that it did.
The federal bank fraud statute (18 U.S.C. § 1344. Bank fraud) was passed in response to the increase in financial fraud in the early 1980s. The bank fraud statute makes it a crime to “knowingly execute, or attempt to execute, a scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution, or to obtain property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises.”
Securities fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1348. Securities and commodities fraud) is the intentional deception of investors, resulting in financial gain. Anyone who offers, buys or sells securities such as stocks, notes and bonds is subject to securities laws. A corporation can be liable for securities fraud if it submits false information about its financial status to the public. Analysts, who must act in good faith and put their clients’ interests first, can be liable for securities fraud if they have a conflict of interest. Analysts can also be liable if they engage in a “pump and dump” scheme (a scheme in which they make sales calls pitching a stock in an effort to increase demand for it and drive the price up so that shares can then be sold for a quick profit).
Other Types of Fraud
There are several other fraud crimes, including:
- Identity theft, which can include credit card fraud, stealing Social Security numbers, and may occur in combination with insurance or welfare fraud
- Money laundering such as illegal wire transfers
- Ponzi schemes, in which early investors are paid with funds from later investors
- Business fraud such as embezzlement or insider trading
- Business opportunity fraud such as work at home or telemarketing schemes
- Tax fraud, including evasion and filing of false returns
- Medicare fraud such as fraudulent billing
- Real estate fraud, including straw buyers, inflated appraisals and bankruptcy fraud
- Public corruption such as bribery or misuse of government funds
Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer
A charge of fraud carries not only the threat of severe punishment, but even mere accusations of fraud can have harsh reverberating effects throughout the defendant’s personal life. Fraud charges can taint the reputation of a person or a business for a long time after the formal criminal charges have been dealt with.
If you or someone you know has been accused of criminal fraud, now is the time to consult with an experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer. Call 866-718-3994 today to schedule a consultation with Frank Rubino in Houston or Miami.