Fraud offenses are a classification of crimes in which an act of theft is carried out by trick, deception or another similar device. Fraud crimes include offenses such as banking fraud, mortgage fraud, identity theft, wire fraud and mail fraud, and Medicare Fraud and Healthcare Fraud. While common crimes such as petty theft and shoplifting can come with substantial penalties, fraud crimes are often prosecuted much more severely because of the violation of trust that is involved. Furthermore, these crimes often involve a substantial amount of money. Boyle & Jasari’s fraud defense attorneys have the experience required to help navigate these complicated cases.
Not everyone investigated for or charged with fraud has engaged in conduct a layman might consider “criminal”. Some types of fraud like government fraud under the False Claims Act or securities fraud can and are prosecuted when there is no evidence of a “specific intent” to defraud. Frequently, government agents will rely upon a doctrine called “deliberate indifference” to argue that an individual is guilty of a violation because he or she knew or should have known of the criminal conduct involved. There is a fine line between intent and mistake. The presence of “intent” renders the conduct a crime. The absence of intent renders the same conduct a non-criminal mistake.
If you are suspected of or have been charged with a fraud offense, you need to seek the advice of an experienced fraud defense lawyer. It is critical to understand your rights and how you can best defend yourself if the case goes to trial.
At Boyle & Jasari, our experienced trial lawyers are skilled in complex federal and white collar crimes. The term white collar crime refers to non-violent illegal activity motivated by financial reasons. Fraud is one of the more serious white collar offenses that the government has taken strategic measures to deter. In 2002, the White-Collar Crime Penalty Enhancement Act was ratified to increase penalties for various forms of fraud. Coupled with the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, which eliminates the possibility of parole for those convicted of federal crimes, and the penalties for fraud can lead to lengthy prison sentences.
Our defense attorneys will advocate for the best possible solution to your circumstance. Every case is different. Contact Boyle & Jasari for experienced defense attorneys.
Why Choose Boyle & Jasari as Your Fraud Defense Lawyers
The attorneys at Boyle & Jasari are accomplished white collar criminal defense lawyers. Practicing in state, federal, and international courts, they have won numerous landmark victories.
Largely regarded as an expert in white collar crime, Attorney Dennis Boyle frequently lectures on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Bank Secrecy Act, International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and Anti-Money Laundering at national and international venues.
Attorney Boyle has received numerous honors for his accomplishments throughout his career, including the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbel, the Nationally Ranked Top Ten Attorney’s Award, the American Bar Association Award for Professional Merit. Also, Attorney Boyle has been listed in Washington DC’s Super Lawyers from 2011-present.
How Our Federal Fraud Defense Attorneys Can Help Your Case
Formerly serving as a Navy Judge Advocate, First Assistant District Attorney, and Special Assistant US Attorney, Attorney Dennis Boyle has extensive criminal law experience. After serving over a decade as a prosecutor, he brings unique insight to criminal defense litigation.
If you or someone you know is the target of an investigation or has been charged with fraud, contact Boyle & Jasari, for an evaluation of your case. It is important to note that early retention of our defense team will allow us to employ strategic defenses aimed at having your case dismissed or protect you from being charged in the first place. While those tactics do not guarantee a dismissal, a successful outcome is more likely if representation is secured early.
The Definition of Fraud
Fraud is an unlawful act that occurs when a perpetrator makes an illegal gain or denies an earned right to a victim. Fraud can occur in nearly any industry, including finance, insurance, investment and real estate. Fraudulent acts can occur in the purchase of real property such as land, art or personal property, as well as intangible property such as intellectual property, including trade secrets or other intellectual property. Unlawful activities can be carried out by an organization, a group of people or an individual.
States and the U.S. federal government have laws that criminalize fraud. However, these actions may not always result in a criminal trial; civil proceedings can also occur. District prosecutors can decide whether to send a case to trial or may pursue other actions such as mediation or a settlement. If the prosecutors decide to send the case to trial, the accused can be convicted and sentenced to jail time.
Banking fraud is a broad term used to describe a number of fraudulent activities aimed at stealing money from a bank, financial institution or a bank’s depositors. For legal purposes, a financial institution is one that has federal backing, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Federal Reserve banks.
A person commits bank fraud when he or she uses deception or some other deliberate action to defraud a financial institution for personal gain. Personal gain can come in many forms, including money, assets, credit, securities or property.
There are many different types of banking fraud, each of which the U.S. Secret Service Agency must investigate and prosecute. The most common types of bank fraud, however, include forgery, bank impersonation, fraudulent loans, internet bank fraud and stolen checks. A crime of this nature is a federal offense and, if convicted, a person faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
Mortgage fraud is a subcategory of banking fraud. This type of crime occurs when a person or entity makes a material misrepresentation, omission or misstatement in relation to a mortgage loan and on which lenders rely. Mortgage fraud schemes run the gamut and can be either extremely complex and sophisticated or quite simple. The following, however, are the most common mortgage crimes:
Fraudulent Supporting Loan Documentation: This occurs when a potential buyer or realtor submits falsified support documentation, such as fake W2s or an inflated property appraisal.
Illegal Property Flipping: A person purchases a property, pays for an inflated appraisal, and then quickly resells the home for the inflated value. This scheme may also involve kickbacks to third parties, falsified supporting loan documentation and/or inflated buyer income.
Silent Second: The seller uses a non-disclosed second mortgage to lend the buyer the down payment. The seller conceals the second mortgage, and the bank believes the buyer used his or her own money for the down payment.
Equity Skimming: An investor uses a straw buyer to purchase a home. Prior to closing, the nominated buyer uses a quit claim deed to sign the home over to the investor. The investor never makes mortgage payments, but he or she rents out the property for an income until the lender forecloses on the property.
Stolen Identity: A mortgage applicant uses another person’s identity to obtain a mortgage loan.
Regardless of the nature of the crime, mortgage fraud is a federal offense and, in some states, a state-level crime. If convicted, an offender faces up to 30 years in jail and up to $1 million in fines.
Identity theft occurs when an individual unlawfully uses a victim’s personal information to purchase goods, obtain credit or commit another fraudulent act. A common form of identity theft is when someone uses another person’s credit card number to make purchases. Another type of identity theft occurs when an individual uses a third party’s personal information to obtain a financial account.
Identify theft cases are often prosecuted as felonies and can result in severe penalties, including fines and jail time. Victims in identify theft cases often suffer unpleasant consequences. Credit reports can be ruined and victims can sometimes be held financially responsible for charges made on their accounts.
Mail and Wire Fraud
Mail fraud occurs when a person uses the U.S. Postal Service or another interstate delivery service to deceive another individual or entity out of money or property. Wire fraud is more or less the same except that it involves the use of an interstate wire transmission. The wire transmission may be email, fax, telephone, text or the use of an interstate chat room. Wire fraud laws are essentially an extension of the mail fraud statutes that the government created to account for evolving technology.
Both mail and wire fraud are federal offenses that carry severe penalties. Though the punishment for each crime depends on the amount of property the defendant attempted to or did obtain, the number of targeted victims and the defendant’s criminal background, a conviction could result in up to 30 years in prison, up to $1 million in fines, restitution and probation.
Medicare and Healthcare Fraud
Both patients and medical providers commit healthcare and Medicare fraud on an increasingly common basis. A provider may commit healthcare fraud in a number of ways, including misrepresenting the level or type of service rendered; billing for items or services that were either not medically necessary or that were never rendered; billing Medicare for appointments patients did not keep; billing for services that were not properly documented; and seeking payment for individual services that were performed on the same day and that were integral to one another (unbundling).
The everyday consumer can also commit healthcare fraud. The most common way this occurs is when a person knowingly submits a false claim to obtain Medicare benefits to which the law would otherwise not have entitled him or her. Medicare and healthcare fraud can result in both criminal and civil penalties, the former of which include fines and jail time.
What is Internet Fraud?
Internet fraud is defined as using the internet, internet services, or other software that connects to the internet to defraud or take advantage of a victim. Typically, internet fraud is committed as a way to gain money or property from victims or to steal a person’s identity. Common examples of internet fraud include data breaches, phishing or spoofing, and spreading malware or scareware.
What is Considered Data Theft?
Data theft is another important type of identity theft relating to internet fraud that many people may not pay as close attention to as they should. With the swift emergence of the internet and all of the activities that people participate in online, being aware of what data theft is and how to prevent it from happening is crucial.
Electronic data theft is typically defined as devising a system and/or executing a plan to extort, defraud, deceive, or commit a crime that is in violation of state law, and wrongfully control, gain access to, or obtain property, money, or electronic data. If you intentionally commit these actions, you can be charged with and convicted of electronic data theft.
Electronic data encompasses many different pieces of information, included but not limited to social security numbers, taxpayer identification numbers, bank account information, medical records, health insurance information, access codes or passwords that allow access to an individual’s financial accounts, and more.
Possible Defenses to Data Theft
Authorization or Reasonable Belief. The crime of electronic data theft is defined by the fact that you didn’t have authorization to commit these actions, or you didn’t have reasonable grounds to believe that you had authorization. If you can show that you were allowed to access the electronic data of the alleged victim, or that you had a reasonable belief that you were permitted to do so, this could be a valid legal defense to the crime of electronic data theft.
You Didn’t Do It. It’s also possible to raise the defense that you were not the person who accessed this data and committed the crime. The most common way that people are caught engaging in data theft is by leaving a trail of illegal activity that is easily traceable through their own unique IP address. Every computer has a unique IP address, and it is quite simple for the authorities to see who accessed particular information from a certain computer. If you and your lawyer can show that you weren’t on the specific computer that was used to access this information, or you can show in some other way that you weren’t the person who did it, this is a valid legal defense.
Violation of Constitutional Rights. Another common defense to electronic data theft is to provide evidence that the police violated your constitutional rights in their investigation. Perhaps they searched and seized your computer or other private information without a warrant and without extenuating circumstances being present. If they did behave in this manner, your attorney can file a motion to suppress and attempt to have all of this evidence deemed inadmissible, meaning it cannot be used if the case were to go to trial.
In Washington D.C., the crime of electronic data theft is considered a Class C felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and be faced with a fine of up to $10,000. Electronic data theft is a serious crime, and it’s not uncommon for law enforcement to question someone quite extensively before ever making an arrest. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to contact a lawyer right away so you can ensure that you don’t say anything that can be used against you should you be arrested and brought to trial.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a fraud offense, you need to seek the advice of a fraud defense lawyer as soon as possible. Boyle & Jasari, is highly experienced and is capable of defending those charged with fraud offenses. Our legal team is trained to handle all types of fraud cases including forgery, identity theft, public assistance and credit card fraud.