Wicomico Fraud Lawyer
Fraud is a broad term covering a wide range of behaviors under Maryland law, most of which involve financial transactions. Criminal offenses constituting fraud could be misdemeanors or felonies, both of which may have serious penalties which include potential jail or prison sentences, high fines, and payment of restitution to any victims of the fraudulent behavior. An experienced defense attorney could further explain the difference between both a misdemeanor and a felony.
If you are accused of any type of criminal offense involving fraud, seeking the advice of a Wicomico fraud lawyer could be essential in avoiding the negative repercussions of a fraud conviction.
Typical Types of Fraud
There are a variety of different actions that could constitute fraud, although the motive behind most of these behaviors is some sort of financial gain. Some common types of fraud include:
- Credit card fraud
- Writing bad checks
- Identity theft
- Pyramid schemes
Whether a criminal offense involving fraud is charged as a misdemeanor or felony, and the severity of the penalties resulting from the offense, typically depends on the value of the items or services involved in the transaction at issue.
Writing Bad Checks and Their Potential Penalties
Md. Code, Crim. Law § 8-103 prohibits individuals from paying for something of value using a check when they know that they have outstanding checks or insufficient funds in the account on which the check is drawn.
It is also a criminal offense under this section when individuals write a check intending to stop payment on it before the recipient cashes it, or to pass a check to a third party with the intention that payment will be refused on the check.
Pursuant to §8-106, writing a check for goods or services with a value of less than $1,500 is a misdemeanor under Maryland law. Individuals convicted of this criminal offense may be subject to a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $500. However, if the value of the goods or services is less than $100, the maximum jail sentence is 90 days and the maximum fine is $500.
Felony Check Fraud
If the value of the goods and services is more than $1,500 but less than $25,000, whether individuals write one bad check or a series of bad checks to the same individual within a 30-day period, the criminal offense becomes a felony, with a potential punishment of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
As the value of the goods and services increase, the potential length of any prison sentences and fines also increase.
Due to the potential severity of the penalties for writing bad checks, particularly involving significant funds, it may be wise to seek the advice of a fraud lawyer in Wicomico.
Identity Theft and Penalties
Under Md. Code, Crim. Law §8-301, it is a crime to purposely have, obtain, or help obtain personally identifying information of another without their consent and or for the purposes of using that information for personal gain.
Similarly, it is unlawful to knowingly assume another’s identity, or a fictitious identity, to avoid prosecution for a criminal offense, to fraudulently obtain something of value, or to fraudulently avoid paying a debt.
Furthermore, it is illegal under this code section for individuals to knowingly and fraudulently obtain, possess, use, or help others obtain, possess, or use, a re-encoder or skimming device to gain information that would allow them to obtain a benefit, good, service, or other items of value.
This section also prohibits claiming to represent others without their consent and with the intent of getting others to provide their personal identifying information or payment device numbers.
Different Levels of Identity Theft
If the goods, services, or benefits gained as a result of the usage of another’s personal identifying information or identity are valued at between $100 and $1,500, then the criminal offense is a misdemeanor which may result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $500.
If the value of the goods, services, or benefits gained is more than $1,500, the criminal offense becomes a felony with progressively increasing penalties in terms of prison sentences and fines.
Value of a Wicomico Fraud Attorney
Being charged with any type of fraud under Maryland law could result in devastating consequences, including lengthy sentences of incarceration and high fines. As the financial value of the fraudulent transactions involved increases, so do the potential penalties.
If you are in this situation, you may want to set up a time to speak with a Wicomico fraud lawyer about potential defenses and possibilities for resolving your case in a positive way.