Howard County Fraud Lawyer
If a person or entity intentionally deceives another person or entity for financial gain, they can be charged with fraud. Fraud is a common crime that often involves misrepresenting facts, using a false statement, or engaging in deceitful behavior to acquire funds or property. It is also a serious crime, and if you have been charged with fraud, you could end up behind bars or having to pay enormous fines if convicted.
Criminal fraud, unlike civil fraud, requires an entity to compensate an alleged victim and carry out a punishment. The following types of fraud are usually classified as criminal in nature:
- Identity theft
- Tax fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Securities fraud
- Credit card fraud
If you have been charged with fraud, it is imperative to hire a Howard County Fraud Lawyer. An experienced defense attorney could defend your rights and reputation in court.
Key Elements of Fraud
Section 8 of the Code of Maryland defines and outlines the legal concept of fraud and other related offenses. As implied above, fraud is a very specific charge, and the charges a person faces will be greatly influenced by the circumstances surrounding their case. For example, a person who deceives another person for gain in the real estate industry will face charges of real estate fraud.
To convict a person of fraud, a prosecutor must prove the defendant:
- Made a false or misleading statement
- Knew the statement to be false or misleading
- Intended to deceive another person or entity
- Knew the victim would use the statement to make some type of decision
- The act of fraud was the detriment of the victim
The elements listed above are subjective, and can be interpreted differently by different courts, but they are present in the overwhelming majority of fraud cases.
Consequences of a Fraud Conviction
The penalties a person or entity faces for fraud will depend on the circumstances present in their case. Like the majority of criminal offenses, fraud can carry either misdemeanor or felony charges, and the sentence a person receives will be heavily influenced by their previous convictions. In general, individuals with prior criminal convictions will receive harsher punishments than those with clean criminal records.
Misdemeanor fraud charges are punishable by up to a year in prison and a monetary fine. Charges such as credit card fraud are often classified as misdemeanors. Felony fraud charges, on the other hand, can result in more than a decade behind bars and enormous fines. Tax fraud and frauds that result in individuals or entities losing massive amounts of money are often classified as felonies.
Fighting Back with a Fraud Attorney
Fraud is a very serious charge, and a conviction can have a profoundly devastating effect on the life and livelihood of a person or organization. Despite this seriousness, it is possible to fight back against fraud charges. It is possible for innocent individuals to be charged with fraud solely because a person they work with commits fraud.
By working with a Howard County Fraud Lawyer, individuals facing fraud charges can ensure their rights are respected and they have a chance to present their side of the story in court. A lawyer can also provide them with guidance and help them make informed legal decisions.
Get Help from a Howard County Fraud Attorney
If you are currently facing fraud charges, it is normal to feel confused, frightened, and angry, The State of Maryland takes fraud very seriously, and without a skilled attorney on your side, you may have difficulty defending yourself before a judge.
The penalties for fraud can be harsh, even for first-time offenders, and a conviction can cause you to lose your job and your reputation as well. Reach out to a Howard County Fraud Lawyer for additional information today.