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What is Considered Fraud in California?
“Fraud” is a term that describes numerous offenses. Generally, the common thread in fraud charges is the allegation of an intentional and material misrepresentation which (usually) causes the victim to suffer damages, often monetary losses. The misrepresentation may be an express one, as when someone sells you a product knowing that it does not function as advertised. It may, however, consist of an omission of a material fact, or of a failure to speak when there is a legal duty to do so. Most fraud cases result only in a civil suit started by the injured party or parties. Where a California or federal statute is violated, however, criminal charges may result.
Types of Criminal Fraud in the State of California
There is no exhaustive list that can be compiled covering every possible instance which could lead to a charge of criminal fraud in California, because there are an infinite number of factual scenarios in which criminal fraud can be alleged. In addition, some forms of fraud overlap with others, some are brought in California state court, and others must be brought exclusively in federal court. And not all fraud charges require that there is reliance on the misrepresentation. Some of the more common types of fraud leading to criminal charges are:
- Mail fraud – a fraudulent scheme that utilizes the United States mail.
- Wire fraud – the use of electronic devices such as the internet or the telephone to transmit information (on an interstate or foreign level) in furtherance of a fraudulent scheme.
- Mortgage and other loan-related fraud – intentionally providing false information to secure a loan or to increase the amount of a loan. A simple example is the falsification of a real estate appraisal in order to increase the value of a home, and thereby to increase the amount of a mortgage loan.
- Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare-related fraud – generally an intentional and material misrepresentation relating to entitlement to benefits under a healthcare program such as Medicare or Medicaid.
- Welfare fraud – fraud aimed at obtaining welfare benefits.
- Tax fraud – may involve the falsification of information on a tax return, such as underreporting income or inflating expenses.
- Credit card fraud - for example, using another person’s credit card without authorization.
- Mass-marketing fraud – commonly, this is a fraudulent scheme that utilizes a mass-marketing technique/technology to present information to numbers of potential victims, or to transmit the proceeds of the scheme to a bank.
- Identity fraud – the use of personal data of another to achieve an economic gain.
- Securities fraud – fraud involving a violation of the securities laws of California or the United States.
Los Angeles Fraud Defense Lawyers
No matter what the form of fraud with which you have been charged, these offenses are serious ones, and the penalties are likewise severe. They can range for fines and probation for minor violations, to years in prison for others. No matter what the fraud charge you are facing, you need an attorney at your side experienced in defending economic crimes. These cases often involve charges which the government attempts to prove through the establishment of a “paper trail”, and the testimony of accountants and other financial experts are used not only to prove the government’s case, but may also be available to establish defenses that can lead to a dismissal.
This is a clearly specialized area of the law, where each charge has distinct elements and defenses that can be raised. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer is qualified to handle your case. At The SLG Criminal Law Group, we are criminal defense experts. We will examine the facts, and present you with an intelligent strategy to defend you against these charges.
For a free, no obligation, confidential consultation, call us now at 213-236-3660