Fraud is the act of theft through deception. Unlike other types of theft, like robbery and shoplifting, fraud relies on the victim being conned into voluntarily giving away money or critical information like his or her bank account or social security number.
Fraud is generally considered to be a white collar crime, which means it is committed by individuals in privileged positions like accountants, financial advisors, and other professionals. Fraud is not violent, nor does it have to involve direct contact with the victim’s money – often, fraud is committed to steal identifying information that the offender can use to access the victim’s money. If you are facing a fraud charge, it is important that you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight it.
Because fraud is a type of theft, how an instance of alleged fraud is charged depends on the amount of money stolen from the victims. In Illinois, fraud can be charged as anything from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class X felony, depending on the type of fraud that allegedly occurred and the value of the victims’ losses. Incarceration terms for a fraud conviction range from less than one year in jail to more than 30 years in prison. Individuals convicted of fraud also face a fine of $25,000, probation, and restitution. Additionally, individuals who are not United States citizens can face removal proceedings or be denied citizenship.
A few examples of specific fraud charges are:
Within each of these categories, there are multiple ways to commit fraud. For example, investment fraud can be committed through a Ponzi scheme, a pump and dump scheme, advance fee fraud, and other means of using fraudulent investment opportunities to steal from victims. Sometimes, a legitimate investment opportunity is mistaken for an act of fraud, and one or more individuals involved face fraud charges. If you are in this position, you need to develop an effective legal defense strategy with a criminal defense lawyer.
Your legal defense against a fraud charge could possibly involve demonstrating:
If you have been charged with fraud, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to start working on your case’s defense strategy. To learn more, schedule your legal consultation with the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus today. During your consultation, Mr. Minkus can answer your questions and advise you about what to do next regarding your charge.
Senior Partner Jonathan Minkus has successfully defended individuals charged with every conceivable criminal offense, from traffic misdemeanors to death-penalty eligible homicides.