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Bethesda Fraud Lawyer
The state of Maryland takes fraud charges very seriously, since fraud is considered a type of theft. If you have been charged with a fraud offense, a Maryland fraud lawyer can help defend you against these accusations. Our Bethesda criminal defense team understands that many people are wrongly accused of fraud and that charges can stem from simple banking, accounting or business management errors, and not from an intent to commit fraud.
What Type of Conduct is Considered Fraud in Maryland?
Fraud charges can encompass numerous different types of offenses under Maryland code, including check fraud, credit card fraud and identity theft.
Check and Credit Card Fraud
Some of the most common fraud charges include issuing bad checks through an account with insufficient funds or from a closed account, obtaining property or services with a bad check, fraudulently obtaining a credit card or stealing someone else’s credit card, or creating or using a counterfeit credit card.
Credit card fraud can also be committed by merchants who fraudulently accept stolen or counterfeit credit cards, if they have an intent to defraud. It is also illegal to knowingly obtain property purchased with a stolen or counterfeit credit card.
Identity Theft in Maryland
Identity fraud is another kind of misrepresentation that is illegal in Maryland. Identity theft refers to the fraudulent use of personally identifying information, including someone’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license, Social Security number, workplace information, date of birth, credit card number, banking information, or information that is typically used in security questions, such as a person’s mother’s maiden name.
It is illegal to use such personal identification information to obtain any benefit, such as a loan, a good or service, a line of credit, government assistance, or to avoid being apprehended, identified or prosecuted for a crime.
Government ID Document Fraud
Identity fraud can also include misuse of government identification documents under Maryland code section 8–303, including a passport, immigration visa, birth certificate, Social Security card, military ID, marriage license, driver’s license, or other government-issued document.
Penalties in Maryland for Fraud Crimes
Penalties for fraud can be quite harsh in Maryland, ranging from up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500 for committing certain misdemeanor identity fraud offenses, to up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 for felony identity fraud.
In many instances the severity of the charges and penalties can depend upon the monetary amounts involved in the fraud, with fraudulently obtained benefits worth more than $500 constituting felony fraud, and those totaling less than $500 considered misdemeanor fraud. In some circumstances, subsequent offenses carry increasingly harsh penalties.
How Can a Bethesda Attorney Help?
Regardless of the type of fraud you have been accused of committing, a Bethesda fraud lawyer can investigate the evidence against you and determine what defenses may apply to your case. Common fraud defenses include not knowing a check or credit card was fraudulently obtained or counterfeited, or demonstrating a lack of intent to defraud a person of their identity information.