Washington DC Fraud Lawyer
Fraud in Washington DC is sometimes referred to as a “white collar crime,” or a specific type of non-violent criminal act that involves creating, using, disseminating or acquiring items that aid a person or organization cheat or deceive others for personal gain. This broad umbrella term includes broad crimes that might encompass a wide variety of separate acts. People who are charged with one type of fraud may also be charged with multiple counts of the same crime, or multiple crimes all related to one act.
Since fraud can quickly become an overwhelming charge to defend against, bolster your defenses with a highly experienced Washington DC fraud lawyer. Being convicted of Fraud can negatively affect your future professional and private endeavors, from finding an adequate job or acquiring property. Learn more about these serious crimes and how you can help defend yourself by contacting our team of attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We also have fraud lawyers serving Maryland and Virginia as well.
Types of Fraud
Depending on the unique specifics of your case, fraud can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. For example, if you were charged with fraudulently reproducing fake credit cards, you could be given a separate count for each credit card you produce. This means you could be charged with multiple counts of credit card fraud, which will compound the amount of prison time or the cost of fines you may have to pay if you are convicted. In addition, fraud might just be a smaller part of a larger organized crime effort. Those found guilty of embezzlement or money laundering can sometimes be indicted for fraud as well.
Fraud can be charged in the first degree or in the second degree. Both first and second degree contain the following elements: 1) the person engaged in a scheme, or systematic course of conduct 2) with the intent to defraud, or to obtain property of another, by means of a false or fraudulent pretense, representation, or promise. The element that distinguishes first degree from second degree is when the person succeeds in obtaining property of another or causes another to lose property. Depending on the value of the property, both first degree and second degree fraud have potential felony or misdemeanor punishments.
If someone is convicted of first degree fraud, they shall be fined no more than $25,000 or twice the value of the property illegally obtained, whichever is greater. They could also face an imprisonment of no longer than 10 years, or both, if the value of the property obtained is $1,000 or more. If the property obtained or lost is less than $1,000, but still has some value, a person convicted of fraud in the first degree shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 180 days, or both.
Any person convicted of second degree fraud shall be fined not more than $12,500 or twice the value of the property which was the object of the scheme, or systematic course of conduct, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than 3 years, or both, if the value of the property which was the object of the scheme is $1,000 or more. If the property that was the object of the scheme is less than $1,000, but still has some value, a person convicted of fraud in the second degree shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 180 days, or both.
Examples of Fraud
Fraud is a wide-ranging crime. Here are some popular reasons clients call our firm to find a knowledgeable fraud lawyer in Washington DC:
- Check fraud: Knowingly defrauding a person or entity by making a purchase with checks, drafts, orders or other methods of payment that do not have adequate funds to cover the cost of the good or service being purchased constitutes check fraud.
- Fraudulent advertising: Business owners are perhaps most susceptible to this offense, as it includes knowingly advertising a false cost of a good or service in exchange for something of value from another person or entity. Depending on the severity of the fraud, the number of counts can vary.
- Imitating brands: Those who knowingly produce a good or service that imitates an existing product or service for the purpose of using that brand to sell more of the new product could be guilty of brand fraud.
- Credit card fraud: Knowingly producing, creating, copying, disseminating, using or acquiring stolen credit card information for personal gain constitutes credit card fraud. This offense can become severe very quickly, since a high number of additional counts are often added based on the number of credit cards defrauded. Plus, charges like theft, conspiracy and other crimes can be added to the offenses raised against you.
- Identity theft: This is also a common type of fraud that comes with multiple counts or charges due to the nature of the crime. If you are accused of fraudulently using another person’s (or a fake person’s) identification information for your own personal gain, you need to call a fraud lawyer in Washington DC right away.
Washington DC, like many other metropolitan areas around the country, experiences a high number of fraud cases each year. Between 2010 and 2011, Washington DC experienced a 100 percent increase in fraud crimes. In 2010, 85 arrests for fraud occurred (84 adults and 1 juvenile); in 2011, 167 occurred (162 adults and 5 juveniles). Whether that is a result of the growing ubiquity of the Internet, there are always proficient Washington DC fraud lawyers available at our widely renowned firm. Our attorneys work with people across the metro area, whether you’ve already been charged with a crime or you’re concerned that you might be.
Long-term Effects of a Fraud Conviction
Having a white collar offense on your criminal record may not prevent you from finding low-level work, but it could limit your ability to advance in a business or financial profession. Since fraud crimes are difficult (if not impossible) to expunge from your record, your fraud conviction could follow you around for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you enlist our fraud lawyers in Washington DC to fight your charges and ensure your future is protected.
After Criminal Court, Civil Suits May Arise
In addition to the penalties that accompany a conviction, you might also be sued in a civil case. Whether you are convicted of a crime or not, you can still be sued in civil court. Civil court is the venue where private citizens or entities can sue other entities for damages. These cases don’t result in incarceration or other legal punitive measures, but instead result in restitution to the affected party.
For example, if you are charged with credit card fraud but the court finds you not guilty, you might be sued for damages by the person or persons who are accusing you of fraud in the first place. Criminal court uses strict guidelines to prove innocence, but civil court is not so strict. It’s easier for an accuser to win a civil case than it is for the city to prosecute a criminal; therefore, you can escape imprisonment but perhaps not exorbitant restitution payments. Enlist our aggressive Washington DC fraud lawyers to fight back and help you get your life back on track.