The term “fraud,” in its broadest terms, involves the act of deceiving someone for personal and/or financial gain. This includes allegations of falsifying documents to obtain money for services that were not provided, or to gain access to someone’s financial holdings. Fraud charges are defined by the Code of Virginia, Title 18.2 (Crimes and Offenses Generally) Chapter 6 (Crimes Involving Fraud.)
Convictions for these offenses often come with severe penalties including fines and jail time so if accused it’s important that you contact a Fairfax fraud lawyer as soon as possible so they can begin to build your defense. Our experienced criminal attorneys are passionate about defending people’s rights.
Examples of various fraud charges that you may face that warrant contact with a Fairfax attorney include, but are not necessarily limited to:
Section 18.2-178 makes it illegal to intentionally defraud someone to obtain money or goods or services of monetary value. In lay terms, false pretenses means the defendant is accused of misrepresenting the truth in order to obtain the money or property. A false pretense could be a forged signature on a document or a false statement. This is a Class 4 felony.
Per Section 18.2-168, it is illegal to forge any public record, return, or certificate of any public agency or officer. This is a Class 4 felony.
A person who alters or falsifies a diploma or transcript from a university or college may be found guilty under Section 18.2-172.1. It must be proven, however, that the falsification or alteration was to further a person’s professional or financial gain. This is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Section 18.2-246.3. states that a person who knowingly conducts a financial transaction where the person knows the property involved represents the proceeds of an illegal activity may be found guilty of money laundering. The maximum penalty for this fraud offense is up to forty (40) years and a fine up to $500,000 making it imperative that a Fairfax lawyer is contacting as soon as possible.
Subsection B notes that any person who converts cash into electronic funds for another, and who knows the cash resulted from some form of felonious activity, may be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent violation is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
According to 18.2-186.2, false statements or failing to disclose material fact to obtain local, state, or federal housing assistance is illegal and punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Per Section 18.2-192, it is unlawful to knowingly take possession of someone’s credit card information with the intent to use it and without the consent of the owner.
An individual isn’t allowed to intentionally defraud someone, an issuer, or an organization by falsely providing credit account information. This includes the use of a credit card by someone who is not the holder of the card and who is not authorized to use the account.
According to Section 18.2-181, it is illegal to draft, make, order, or deliver a check as payment from an account that does not have sufficient funds.
In the interest of full disclosure, you need to know what type of penalties you face if you are charged and convicted of fraud. A dedicated Fairfax attorney can go into more detail about the possibility of getting your fraud charges reduced, or eliminated. The following, however, are potential penalties for misdemeanor and felony fraud convictions.
Fraud is a wrongful criminal deception via false statements or otherwise that an individual does to obtain money or services. The possible penalties for these cases can range from 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 fine if the fraud is under $200. If it is over $200, it would be up to five years in jail and a much higher fine. The most common penalties in these cases are Class I misdemeanor charges. Since most fraud cases do not typically involve a great deal of money, penalties can range from probation to up to a year in jail.
If charged with fraud, there is an increased likelihood of a plea deal if an individual can pay back any funds that were stolen. Typically, this involves some sort of restitution paid back to the hearing date. If that is the case, you either have a charge to produce or the punishment may be given.
Fraud cases that include a lower amount of money are more likely to lead to a plea deal. With a case where the amount in question is under $200, it is more likely to lead to a plea deal.
A dedicated Fairfax lawyer will have the experience and knowledge needed to craft a defense tailored to the facts of your fraud case. Defense strategies are often complex and involve a variety of factors, though the general approach is to show that the Commonwealth lacks the evidence necessary to prove your alleged crime. This is typically referred to as insufficient evidence.
Your attorney may also challenge the legality of the evidence presented against you, or establish a defense based on reasonable doubt. Some strategies include a combination of these methods and more. Absence of intent to commit fraud is another defense that may be exercised in your case. Intent is the foundation of the vast majority of fraud allegations. Other potential defense strategies include entrapment and arguing the statements at issue were not false. Your local attorney may challenge whether the alleged fraudulent statements you made were opinion or fact, rather than motivated to defraud an individual or organization. In many cases, those accused of fraud are unaware that the statements they made or the actions they took could be considered fraudulent.
Being charged with fraud can be a worrisome and time-consuming process, which is why it’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. By contacting a Fairfax fraud lawyer you are taking an important step toward minimizing the harm of your charges. Call today to set up a free consultation to discuss your specific case and the legal options at your disposal.
A person charged with this offense should contact a lawyer for several reasons. Primarily, the possible implications of a criminal conviction, if you are convicted, can be up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 fine. In addition, it will likely affect your employment. It is a crime of moral turpitude, so it could result in the loss of your job or the loss of future employment.
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