Fraud encompasses many distinct crimes. While each of these crimes has unique elements, each crime of fraud includes the intent to deceive another person either to cause a loss of something of value (for example, money, goods, or services) or to cause damage to a legal, financial, property right. As an experienced Orange County fraud defense attorney, William Weinberg understands the many different elements particular to each crime of fraud.
Many people don’t know that a crime of fraud does not require that actual loss or damage occur; the crime requires only that by the act, there was the intention to cause that loss or damage. Just as one example: if a person attempts to purchase an item with a fraudulently produced credit card, and even if no purchase is actually made on the card because the purchase is denied at the point of sale, the crime of credit card fraud has already been committed by the use of the fraudulent card.
Crimes of fraud may be prosecuted by the federal government, sometimes even in addition to the state's prosecution, but under separate federal statute and liability. A knowledgeable fraud defense lawyer in can guide you through these complex situations, whether you are prosecuted by the Orange County district attorney or the federal government, or both.
Crimes of fraud include:
- Forgery (Penal Code §470)
- Counterfeiting (Penal Code §472)
- Possession of forged or counterfeited documents with intent to defraud (Penal Code §475)
- Check fraud (Penal Code §476)
- Filing false documents (Penal Code §115)
- Credit card fraud (Penal Code §484)
- Check fraud (Penal Code §476)
- Insurance fraud (Penal Code §550)
- Making, obtaining, or making use of false financial statements (Penal Code §532)
- Identity theft (Penal Code §530.5)
Many fraud offenses in California can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, a crime commonly called a “wobbler” offense in California. The punishment for these crimes can range from probation to many years imprisonment in state prison, which is a possibility when, for example, someone suffers a physical injury by the fraudulent act or when the person who commits the fraud has a criminal history. Factors that are often determinative of level of the charge and the punishment include the amount of loss or damage, previous criminal history of the defendant, and the number of fraudulent transactions that occurred in the totality of the crime. An attorney experienced in criminal fraud defense can often make the difference between a very harsh sentence, such as a term of imprisonment, and one that is less severe, such as home confinement.
Even if convicted as a misdemeanor and even when the act is seemingly a minor one, a fraud conviction can have serious consequences. For example, many employment opportunities that involve any degree of trust may be closed forever to someone convicted of fraud. It is essential that a person accused of any fraudulent act consult an experienced fraud defense attorney who can assess the evidence proffered by the prosecution and determine the appropriate defense strategy. Depending upon the circumstances of the alleged crime, an experienced fraud defense attorney can often get the charges dismissed or negotiate a conviction on a lesser crime.
Orange County criminal defense attorney William Weinberg has many years of experience defending those accused of fraud crimes. He offers proven results and he promises to vigorously defend your rights to the full extent of the law. Contact Mr. Weinberg at any time to set up a confidential consultation without charge at (949) 474-8008 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Weinberg will work with you and your family to provide a fee structure that best suits your circumstances.