Check fraud occurs when an individual uses or presents a check that does not belong to them as though it is theirs or when they present a check that is on their own account knowing that the funds are not available to pay for the item being purchased. Under Virginia law, the mere fact of “bouncing” a check is considered evidence of intent to defraud and thereby warrants contact with a Manassas check fraud lawyer. An experienced fraud lawyer can assist in building a defense and ensuring that your legal rights are not violated in any way while under investigation.
Some common crimes that are associated with check fraud and warrant the attention of a check fraud attorney in Manassas include forgery, which in essence involves the creating of a fake document or signing a name which is not yours, and uttering, which has to do with presenting a forged document, which is known to be fake, as legitimate. In addition, embezzlement is another crime that can come along with check fraud and occurs when a person takes their employer’s check and either cashes it in connection with what would otherwise be a legal authorized transaction.
There are severe penalties associated with check fraud which can become more severe depending on whether the check fraud is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor check fraud is going to be any time the amount which is lost is less than $200. It’s a class one misdemeanor that can carry up to one year in jail or $2,500 fine. If the amount is $200 or more then that’s a felony in Virginia. This can include a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $2,500, as well as being placed on probation for a period of time making it imperative a Manassas check fraud attorney is contacted.
Additionally, whether you are convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor, check fraud is what is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which is another way of saying that it is a lying, cheating, or stealing offense. These are the kinds of crimes that will make it very difficult for you to maintain employment or get employment in the future. They are also the kinds of charges that can negatively impact your immigration status or security clearance.
The typical way to find out you are being investigated for check fraud is being contacted by either a loss prevention officer with the bank or by a detective or law enforcement officer. Another way that you might find out is that you hear second hand that these individuals are questioning your associates or even family members or employer regarding your activities.
You should contact a check fraud lawyer in Manassas if you are worried that you may be under investigation because there are a number of proactive steps a lawyer can take to help the client during the investigation phase. This includes everything from advising you about what to say or what not to say, up to and including interacting with police officers, loss prevention officers, and even prosecutors to gain information. Additionally, the attorney can work toward shaping or dismissing any charges that are eventually charged.
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