Fraud occurs when individuals or businesses purposely misrepresent a fact to others to gain a benefit or something of value. Allegations of fraud could arise in various industries, including government, insurance, financial institutions, and investment firms. Since the consequences of a fraud conviction are harsh, individuals who are facing accusations of fraud may wish to consult a Fredericksburg fraud lawyer for advice.
You might face fraud charges for merely making a mistake, or you might be following the directions of your superior. No matter how involved the allegations against you may be, getting the opinion of an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be wise.
Fraud offenses range from passing a bad check to falsifying mortgage applications. Identity theft, money laundering, and insurance fraud are other variations on fraud offenses under state law. Since the implications of a fraud conviction could be highly damaging to your life and your career, seeking counsel from a fraud lawyer in Fredericksburg is likely to be advantageous.
Va. Code § 18.2-181 makes it illegal to write checks for goods or services using accounts that the individuals know have insufficient funds. Under state law, writing bad checks is a form of larceny or theft, whose penalties depend upon the value of the checks. For instance, writing bad checks for merchandise or services worth less than $500 is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but checks over $500 may result in Class 6 felony charges.
Making false statements, improperly inflating an appraisal, and forging documents to obtain a larger mortgage loan all are examples of mortgage fraud. Parties involved in mortgage fraud cases may include realtors, purchasers, appraisers, and even employees of lending institutions.
Insurance fraud could occur concerning health insurance, vehicle insurance, or homeowner insurance policies. Doctors and other healthcare professionals may file false claims for services never provided or on behalf of fictitious patients. Individuals may stage vehicle accidents or damages to their home to wrongfully claim insurance proceeds.
The lowest level of fraud charge is a Class 4 misdemeanor, and the highest level of fraud charge is a Class 4 felony. However, individuals likely could face multiple counts of various charges for fraud which results in more severe penalties.
Class 3 and 4 misdemeanors carry the potential for small fines, but no jail time. A Class 1 misdemeanor fraud offense could result in a maximum one-year jail sentence and a $2,500 fine. Some common examples of misdemeanor fraud charges may include writing a bad check for less than $500 or providing false information on a credit card application.
On the other hand, felony fraud offenses have harsher penalties. A Class 4 felony offense could result in ten years of incarceration. If the fraud charge is a Class 5 or 6 felony, though, judges may opt to impose either misdemeanor or felony-level penalties, which could result in more lenient sentences in some cases. A fraud attorney in Fredericksburg could be instrumental in negotiating a lesser punishment in fraud prosecutions.
Prosecutors for the Commonwealth often handle criminal fraud charges. However, if the fraud implicates interstate commerce, involves a federal agency, or occurs on federal property, federal criminal charges also may arise. Federal sentencing guidelines often produce more severe results in fraud cases that Virginia law. Regardless of the jurisdiction, if you or a loved one is facing fraud charges, you likely will benefit from the advice of a Fredericksburg fraud lawyer.
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