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Maryland Fraud Lawyer
Crimes of fraud, including bad checks, credit card crimes, identity theft, commercial fraud, public fraud, counterfeiting and crimes against estates, are covered by Title 8 of the Maryland criminal law code. If you’ve been charged with fraud in Maryland, you could face penalties including a felony conviction, fines of up to $25,000.00 and 15 years in prison. Even if you’ve been charged with a crime of fraud that results in a misdemeanor, which is typical of cases involving less than $500.00 in defrauded value, your case is still serious and demands the attention of a qualified, reputable Maryland fraud lawyer. Our defense attorneys will take every step legally allowable to guarantee the best possible outcome for your case. Our attorneys in Washington, DC will be able to help you with a fraud charge in that area as well. Here is more information about Maryland fraud laws, with specific information about credit card fraud laws and identity theft laws.
If you have been charged with a form of fraud in the state of Maryland, please call (301) 761-4842 to speak with an attorney. We offer a free initial case evaluation that may be conducted over the phone.
Crimes including bad checks are covered by Maryland criminal code § 8-103. According to this code, it is illegal to issue a check knowing you have insufficient funds. According to section (b) of this same code, it is equally illegal to issue a check when you intend to stop payment before it clears, or with the intention that the payment will be refused.
Criminal code § 8-106 outlines the penalties for bad check fraud in Maryland. If the bad check was written with the intention of obtaining services or property with a value of at least $500.00, the penalty is a felony as well as a fine of up to $1,000.00 and a prison term not to exceed 15 years. The same penalty applies if multiple checks were written to obtain goods or services with a combined value exceeding $500.00 within a 30-day period.
The penalty is far smaller for bad checks written to obtain goods or services valued at less than $500.00, according to code § 8-106(c). In this case, the penalty is a misdemeanor as well as a fine of up to $100.00 and no more than 18 months in jail. If the value of the products or services is less than $100.00, the penalty is a misdemeanor, a fine not to exceed $500.00 and no longer than 90 days in jail.
Credit Card Crimes
Crimes of credit card theft, counterfeiting and obtaining property using a stolen, counterfeited or misrepresented credit card are covered by Title 8, Subtitle 2 of the Maryland criminal code. § 8-203 prohibits a person from making a false statement regarding identity in order to obtain a credit card. This is punishable by a misdemeanor, as well as a fine of up to $500.00 and a jail sentence of up to 18 months.
Criminal code § 8-204 prohibits credit card theft, which may involve taking a credit card from another individual, receiving a stolen credit card with the intent to sell it, receiving a credit card known to be lost, or selling and buying credit cards. The penalty for these types of crimes is a misdemeanor, up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $500.00.
Code § 8-205 prohibits falsely embossing or making a credit card, or possessing or transferring a credit card with knowledge of its falsity. Section (c) of this code makes it illegal for a person to sign the back of a credit card with the intention of defrauding another individual. The punishment for these types of crimes is a felony conviction, as well as a fine of up to $1,000.00 and a prison term of no longer than 15 years.
Code § 8-206 makes it illegal to obtain property or services using a misrepresented, stolen or counterfeited credit card. For example, if you steal a person’s wallet and use his or her credit card to purchase goods, you could face penalties including:
- A felony, $1,000.00 fine and 15 years’ imprisonment if the value of the goods exceeds $500.00
- A misdemeanor, $500.00 fine and 18 months in jail if the value of the goods is between $100.00 and $500.00
- A misdemeanor, $500.00 fine and 90 days’ imprisonment if the value of the goods is less than $100.00
Given increasingly easy access to the Internet and all of the information that comes along with it, identity fraud has become more and more common in Maryland in recent years. Maryland criminal code § 8-301 strictly prohibits all types of identity fraud. According to section (b) of this code, it is illegal to willfully, knowingly and with fraudulent purposes obtain personal identifying information without consent. In order for the action to be considered fraudulent, the alleged perpetrator must intend to transfer, sell or use the information in order to receive a benefit, service, good, credit or anything of value.
Further, section (c) of this code makes it illegal to assume the identity of another individual for the purposes of avoiding identification, prosecution or apprehension for a crime, to avoid the payment of a debt, or to obtain anything of value.
The penalties for identity theft crimes vary greatly depending on the specific nature of the crime, as well as the value of any goods or services purchased using a stolen identity. For example, if the value of the goods purchased exceeds $500.00, the penalty is a fine of up to $25,000.00 as well as up to 15 years in prison, along with a felony conviction. If identity fraud is committed with the intention of avoiding apprehension or prosecution for a different crime, the penalty is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.00 and a jail term of up to 18 months.
Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults
Maryland criminal code § 8-801 covers crimes involving the exploitation of vulnerable adults. According to this code, vulnerable adults are individuals over the age of 68, or any adults with mental disabilities that prevent them from fully caring for themselves in all ways. Section (b) of this code prohibits individuals from willfully and knowingly obtaining the property of a vulnerable adult through undue influence, intimidation or deception. Telephone scams targeting the elderly with the intention of taking money or assets through false advertising would fall squarely under this code, for example.
The penalty for exploiting a vulnerable adult depends on the value of the property, assets or money taken through exploitation. If the value of the property exceeds $500.00, the penalty is a felony as well as a fine of up to $10,000.00 and a prison term of up to 15 years. If the value of the property is below $500.00, the penalty is a misdemeanor along with a fine of up to $500.00 and up to 18 months in jail. In any case, the perpetrator must restore the stolen property to its rightful owner, or to the rightful owner’s estate if the owner is deceased.