Fraud is a type of theft that involves the use of false claims or deception. The most common types of fraud charges in California are those that involve insurance, the internet, mortgages, real estate, worker’s compensation and embezzlement. Most fraud cases are considered white collar crimes because no one is put in danger of physical harm during the process. Anyone facing such charges should contact a Vista fraud lawyer as soon as possible.
Types of Fraud
There are many different kinds of fraud charges in California and they all depend on what the suspect is said to have lied about. For example, an increasingly common form of fraud is that involving fundraisers, whether for the individual’s own fraudulent needs or to raise money for a charitable group that may or may not exist. Similarly, some people lie about their disabilities in order to bring their pets with them where they would not otherwise be welcome or in order to park in handicapped spaces illegally.
It’s also common for drivers to use fraudulent vehicle registrations or to lie about their state of residency to avoid paying registration fees in California. Some people will even go so far as to purposefully get in car accidents in order to collect money from insurance companies, a subset of the more broad occurrence of insurance fraud.
Healthcare fraud is another common form of fraud, which can sometimes overlap with insurance fraud. This can take place in the form of doctors lying about services in order to get reimbursed by insurance companies or in the form of someone using someone else’s name or even a fake ID in order to get medical care, a type of identity theft. Similarly, some people will commit fraud in order to get access to prescriptions they would not otherwise be able to obtain, which is also a drug crime. Also, some people lie about their income in order to qualify for Medi-Cal, a type of welfare fraud.
Finally, in the most well known type of fraud is simply lying to someone else in order to swindle them out of money, this commonly involves some form of mail fraud, wire fraud, mortgage fraud or securities fraud. Illegal use of someone else’s credit card number or is also a similar form of theft-related fraud. Tax fraud can also result in criminal charges, but this rarely occurs except in the most egregious cases.
Fraud Charges in California
The specific charges you will face depend on whether you are being charged in a state or federal court and what, exactly, you have been accused of doing. Mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, healthcare fraud, welfare fraud, mortgage and real estate fraud are all specific fraud-charges under the law. If there is not an actual law against the type of fraud you committed though, you will likely instead be charged with using a fake ID, forgery, theft, embezzlement or other crime that covers the specific activities you did. Additionally, you may be charged with related crimes such as money laundering or conspiracy to commit fraud. If you didn’t technically commit the fraudulent activity yourself, but helped someone plan or execute a fraud, you could also be charged with aiding and abetting.
In some cases, you may face an individual charge for each time you broke the law. In these cases, it may be advisable to work with your Vista fraud lawyer to see if you can negotiate a plea bargain to minimize the charges you will face.
Potential Penalties for Fraud
While the penalties for fraud charges in California will vary depending on how the crime was committed and what the perpetrator acquired as a result, most fraud cases will involve felony charges. Anyone convicted of these charges may face time in prison or jail. If the fraud involved large amounts of money, the potential prison sentence will go up drastically. No matter what else the sentence entails, making restitution to the victim is mandatory.
If you are convicted of fraud charges in California, you will not only face serious penalties, but also face long-term challenges when you seek employment after your release from prison because few people trust those with fraud convictions on their record.
How a Vista Fraud Lawyer Can Help
The San Diego police department and District Attorney each have specialized units devoted exclusively to investigating and prosecuting fraud cases. These cases may also be tried in a Federal Court and federal agencies also have special investigators to uncover fraud. All of this means that if you have been charged with fraud there is probably a lot of evidence against you.
This is why you should never attempt to speak to investigators without a Vista fraud lawyer present. Remember that anything you say can be used against you and it is easy to incriminate yourself in these cases by trying to defend yourself.
An experienced Vista fraud lawyer like Peter M. Liss may be able to help you avoid prosecution or a prison sentence by negotiating directly with the victim of the crime. If you are under investigation for fraud or have already been accused, it is critical you hire a skilled white collar lawyer immediately. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a consultation.
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