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Columbia Fraud Lawyer

Fraud is any criminal act a person commits to try to gain from another party by misrepresentation of some kind. The government must prove that a person engaged in some act of misrepresentation to another in order to gain personally from them.

An experienced Columbia criminal lawyer can make an immense difference in a fraud case. They will work to build you a robust defense, while also serving as your advocate and support system.

Examples of Fraud

Fraud can include many different kinds of things. A credit card fraud commonly is a situation where a person might be using another’s credit card or account details for their own gain. Forgery is a type of fraud where a person is engaged in representing themselves as one party to try to gain something without the consent of the person whose name or likeness they are using. The most common fraud cases usually seen are those associated with financial crimes.

How a Columbia Fraud Lawyer Can Help

Fraud sometimes has very complicated elements of proof that a prosecutor must demonstrate. Often, fraud cases are record-intensive and include bank records, billing statements, and things of that nature.

Trying to produce that information as evidence and put it into a case is often very difficult for a prosecutor to do properly. They must get documents properly authenticated. Sometimes the prosecutor has custodians of records sign off on them in order to make them admissible and they do not always know how to do those things correctly.

For that reason, a Columbia fraud attorney can be of great assistance evaluating the evidence against you and determining the likelihood of its admissibility into a criminal case.

Associated Penalties

Fraud convictions can carry a period of incarceration, lengthy periods of probation, and even restitution. Depending on the kind of fraud, the period of incarceration could be from a few months to decades in jail. The magnitude of fraud can range from things that are very minor to things that are extremely major involving millions of dollars, so the kinds of penalties can vary greatly.

One thing that people should know about fraud is that usually, it is considered a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT), which means it has consequences in the court room and also consequences to your future. A CIMT could keep you from being able obtain certain licenses, for example, a license to practice medicine or practice law. A CIMT could also have significant immigration consequences in the United States.

Misdemeanor v. Felony Penalties

Usually in fraud situations, the difference between a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge is the magnitude of the fraud. The biggest difference is the kinds of penalties one might face. Misdemeanor charges, while very serious for fraud cases, carry far less maximum jail penalties and periods of probation than felony charges. Usually, whether something is a misdemeanor or a felony in a fraud situation is determined by the amount of money involved.

Building a Defense

As soon as a person believes or knows that they are being investigated for fraud, they should retain an attorney.

First Steps

The attorney can begin interviewing witnesses and could potentially present those witnesses to a prosecutor or detective before charges are brought, to prevent them from being opened.

The attorney can then help make sure to subpoena any documents or records that could be presented in advance to a prosecutor or detectives to try to keep charges from being initiated. By subpoenaing records immediately, an attorney can make sure that too much time does not pass where the records might be destroyed or eliminated, making it more difficult to represent the person adequately on any charges.

Additionally, an attorney can explain a person’s rights to them so they are aware of their rights to not answer questions for police, have counsel present during any subsequent questioning, and identify any possible warrants that might be outstanding for them. The person can ease their way through the process of responding and not be surprised or blindsided by them.

Investigation

A Columbia fraud lawyer evaluates all of the evidence and information in a case and reviews it with the defendant to see if they can provide any verification or justification for the allegations. The attorney conducts their own thorough investigation of the matter to make sure they do not accept anything the prosecutor presents at face value.

Compiling Evidence

The fraud attorney then reviews all of the documentation provided and subpoenas or summons documentation or witnesses, who could directly contradict the materials provided. Additionally, they evaluate the prosecutor’s work to determine if the prosecutor’s material is in the appropriate form to make it admissible in a criminal courtroom.

These kinds of things can be extremely complex for a prosecutor to do properly, which is why it is important for the defense attorney to be aware of them. Not all prosecutors and their staff are equipped with the resources to ensure this is done accurately.

Benefits of Hiring a Local Lawyer

Local fraud lawyers can recognize which judges might respond positively and which judges might respond negatively to the evidence the attorney wants to present, as well as any mitigation regarding the client’s background or circumstances at the time.

Local practitioners recognize the judges and prosecutors in the courthouse and know their personalities and temperament. It is important to work with an attorney who understands these things to make sure that your case is presented favorably. The informed lawyer is able to tweak the presentation to be effective for the particular audience where your case is heard.