Mesa Fraud Lawyers Defending Clients Charged With a Fraud Crime
There are several crimes that fall under the category of fraud in Arizona, some of those are referred to as “white-collar crimes”. Offenses such as identity theft, forgery, racketeering, money laundry, false reporting, extortion, and forgery are all examples of fraud-related offenses. Other types of fraud may include insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, Medicare or Medicaid fraud, wire fraud, and credit card fraud, to name a few. If you have been charged with fraud, it is important to understand exactly what you may be facing and hire a fraud attorney as early as possible. Here are a few important pointers about fraud crimes in Arizona.
What Is a Fraud Crime in Arizona?
Generally speaking, a fraud crime happens when someone intentionally uses lying, omission, dishonesty, or deception to obtain personal gains. A person also commits a fraudulent act by misrepresenting facts or providing falsified statements not only to obtain financial gains but also to damage another person or entity. Some fraud offenses are prosecuted at the state level, while others may constitute a federal crime (such as counterfeiting, for example).
Fraud charges can be classified as civil or criminal offenses. Fraud is a civil violation when a fraudulent incident involves a defendant acting in bad faith. These types of incidents are dealt with in a civil court through a lawsuit seeking to reprimand the at-fault party and provide restitution to the victim. A fraud case becomes criminal when the offender acted with intent and on purpose so as to gain personal or financial benefits. Criminal fraud charges are usually considered felonies that often result in significant fines and jail time.
How Does the State of Arizona Prosecute Fraud Crimes?
The state of Arizona takes fraud charges very seriously. In order to bring criminal fraud charges against someone, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that certain elements apply to the case. First, they must prove that the defendant received some form of benefit, either financial or quid pro quo.
Second, the prosecution has to demonstrate that the financial or personal benefit was obtained through false or deceptive means. Last, but not least, they must prove that the defendant had the intent to defraud the other party and acted on purpose. This is important because proving intent on the part of the fraud perpetrator is what typically differentiates a civil fraud tort from a criminal fraud charge.
Do You Always Go to Jail if Convicted of a Fraud Crime?
Civil fraud cases do not typically result in jail time but do require the at-fault party to provide restitution to the victim, often accompanied by compensation for additional damages and losses incurred as a result of the incident. However, even a civil fraud case can be a serious matter as it can damage the reputation of an individual or organization.
On the other hand, most criminal fraud charges may result in jail time (up to 12.5 years) and fines that can be as high as $150,000.00. Fraud is charged as a class 2 felony in many cases. When a perpetrator causes losses that exceed $100,000.00, he or she may not be eligible for probation and will most likely need to serve time in prison. Some fraud crimes may be eligible for probation, but a well-versed Mesa fraud attorney may be able to help convince a judge to allow a defendant to receive the minimum sentence applicable to the crime, often in exchange for restitution and payment of fines.
Can an Attorney Help Get Fraud Charges Dismissed?
If you have been accused of fraud, working with a well-versed Mesa law firm focused on criminal defense may make the difference in your case. Whenever possible, a fraud attorney will employ a set of defense strategies to try and get your case dismissed. An example of that is arguing that the evidence presented against you was a result of an illegal search and seizure and thus is not admissible in court. This may result in key pieces of evidence being thrown out and weakening the prosecution’s case, often causing it to be dismissed. This is a best-case scenario and not every fraud charge results in a dismissal.
When charges cannot be dismissed, an attorney can work to minimize the impact a conviction may have. Common defense strategies that can be used in this instance include showing that the defendant did not have the intention to defraud anyone or that the defendant did not obtain any personal or financial gain from the fraudulent incident. In addition, an attorney may also be able to demonstrate that the alleged victim of the fraudulent activity was in agreement and any benefit obtained by the defendant came as a result of that mutual agreement.
Being charged does not mean an automatic conviction, and a fraud crime is a serious offense for anyone’s criminal record. There is simply too much at stake for you to fight it alone or give in to the prosecutor and accept a plea deal that may not be the most favorable choice for you. A criminal defense attorney that is knowledgeable and aggressive can give you a fighting chance of getting your charges dropped or reduced, and he or she may also convince the judge to allow for minimum sentences. If you have been arrested and/or are under investigation for fraud in Arizona, hiring an attorney is highly recommended. Contact the Naegle Law Firm, PLC, at (480) 378-9000 and request a case review to see how we may assist you.