In life, there’s rarely an easy way out of anything. It may be very difficult to make any headway in a certain challenge, but powering through and/or exploring other viable options are always better than committing a fraudulent act. “Fraud” is a general term used to describe a dishonest means of obtaining something of value from another party. It oftentimes occurs when buying and selling property, misrepresenting tax information and falsifying insurance claims. However, there are many actions that are considered fraudulent that can bring about both civil and criminal consequences.

Three Types

Fraud can involve a laundry list of actions, including: bankruptcy fraud, cell phone fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, identity theft, computer hacking, counterfeiting, forgery, larceny, perjury, welfare, Ponzi schemes, extortion, telemarketing fraud, credit card fraud, marriage fraud, racketeering and billing fraud. Even so, this dishonest act can be grouped into three main categories:

  1. Fraud against government bodies and institutions – This includes actions like counterfeiting, Medicare and Social Security fraud, welfare fraud, insurance fraud, tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud.
  2. Employee fraud – This action occurs when employees breach their financial obligations to their employers or their companies’ customers by engaging in acts such as embezzlement, bribery and selling confidential company information.
  3. Consumer fraud – This refers to deceptive acts that cause financial or other types of losses for consumers and includes: credit card fraud, check fraud, identity theft, telemarketing scams and Ponzi schemes.

What Are the Penalties?

Fraudulent acts can be classified as criminal as well as a civil offenses. That means that even if a prosecutor doesn’t seek criminal charges, victims of the fraudulent act(s) in question could opt to file a civil suit for restitution. In general, fraud is a felony offense that carries along with it hefty fines and prison time. However, penalties really depend on the type of act committed, its degree of severity, who it was committed against and the sum of money involved. Other consequences of fraud include:

  • A tarnished reputation
  • Difficulty maintaining or obtaining employment
  • Suspended sentences
  • Treble damages
  • Mental anguish damages
  • Probation
  • Restitution

Have You Been Charged?

If you are facing prosecution due to fraudulent actions, you would be wise to reach out to Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant for our sound criminal defense expertise. We’ll handle your case with the utmost discretion and care because we know your reputation, livelihood and future are at stake. Don’t hesitate to call us today at (940) 387-3518 or contact us here. We’ll be more than happy to provide our assistance in any way we can.