San Diego Fraud Attorney
Fraud is a crime that has become more widespread over the past decade, and both federal and state prosecutors have been devoting a lot of time and resources to pursuing criminal cases of fraud. As one of the largest investigative units in the California State government, the Fraud and Economic Crimes Division is working hard to put those who commit fraud behind bars and to discourage others from engaging in fraudulent activity.
What is a Fraud Crime?
At the surface, fraud might seem as though it’s a simple crime to understand, but the laws related to it are more complex than most people realize. San Diego criminal fraud attorney George Gedulin provides a simpler definition of fraud: “A criminal fraud allegation is essentially the prosecutor alleging that someone sought financial gain through misrepresentation or lying.” For example, “a false statement on a loan application to a bank, or writing a check knowing there is not enough money in the account can be charged as serious fraud offenses.”
San Diego fraud cases fall under California law, which defines the crime as actions that give an unfair financial benefit to a defendant at the expense of another person. Actual fraud involves the willful misrepresentation of facts, hiding the truth and any other intentional act of deception used to gain a monetary reward. Constructive fraud, though, does not include intentional deception or violation of another person or entity. Breaching a contract is a good example of constructive fraud, and it’s vital for anyone who wants to avoid legal trouble to understand this fact.
In most cases, the court will only define an act as fraudulent when it’s clear that the person who committed the act had clear intentions with an objective result in mind. Because the prosecution will have a hard time using solid evidence to prove whether or not the individual in question intentionally committed the act of deception, they will often use circumstantial evidence to gain a conviction. In addition to using false information to obtain a financial advantage, the legal system also defines the act of concealing information to avoid criminal culpability as a case of fraud.
Fraud is often prosecuted at a state level, but people usually believe that they don’t need to worry about federal prosecution, which is a mistake that you will want to avoid. When a fraud case goes to the federal court, the defendant will likely face worse penalties than you would expect from a state level. Getting prosecuted by the federal court often results in more time behind bars and steeper fines for those who are convicted of the crime. Credit card fraud, tax fraud, and wire fraud are just a few of the crimes that the state will hand over to the federal court system.
Another problem that you will want to consider is that federal cases of fraud are rarely prosecuted alone. You are likely to face several other charges when you stand in front of the judge, which include conspiracy and illegal financial gain allegations. Because fraud is often considered a white-collar crime, you might not believe that you will get a significant amount of time behind bars, but the justice system takes any act of fraud seriously and will seek stiff penalties.
Types of Fraud
White Collar Crime
White collar crime is a broad heading which includes most types of criminal fraud crimes. Those categories below detail the more common state and federal fraud allegations which are handled by a fraud lawyer. White collar crimes can also include theft crimes that are defended along with serious fraud cases alleging millions in losses.
Federal Criminal Fraud
The FBI and United States Attorney devote millions of dollars every year seeking to prosecute individuals for fraud crimes like credit card fraud, tax fraud, and wire fraud. These charges most often bring a combination of allegations including conspiracy and allegations of illegal financial gain. Wire fraud and money laundering are among the complex federal cases we have represented clients in. While these are popularly known as white collar crimes, the penalties sought by the US Government are severe and long lasting. We have obtained dismissals and victories for clients under prosecution for years.
When your goal is to learn about the most common types of fraud, welfare fraud is a good place to start. It’s not uncommon for people to use false information in a welfare application in an attempt to earn more benefits than they would receive otherwise. Welfare and the benefits that it offers are often a topic of debate for many citizens. While some people feel as though the government should provide support to people in need, others feel as if doing so puts too much stress on public resources. Depending on the age, income and several other factors, an applicant might be denied the benefits for which they had been hoping. Those applicants commonly use false information to gain money, food stamps and other things that they need to survive.
Medicare is a government program that offers health insurance benefits to those who can’t afford the proper medical treatment. Since Medicare is a public resource, officials will invest a lot of time and energy into earning a conviction for these cases. Medicare fraud is the process of filing a claim to profit from unneeded funds. People are using this method of fraud more than ever before, but they don’t always think about the possible outcome of their choices. Medicare fraud charges are serious and can result in years of imprisonment if the defendant is found guilty.
No matter the situation, you will want to have an expert fraud attorney by your side when you stand in the courtroom. Making the wrong statement can destroy your case, but our legal team will keep you safe. With the guidance of a caring and professional lawyer, you will enjoy the best possible odds of success. Although nothing can guarantee a victory, our legal team will do what it takes to protect you, allowing you to put your fears to rest.
Insurance companies exist to provide their clients with the money that they need to overcome a disaster or unexpected expense. If your insurance company does not agree with the claim you have filed, it can try to pursue fraud charges. Under section 1871 of the California Insurance Code, insurance fraud consists of providing false information to an insurance company to illegally gain funds. People use a variety of tactics to take advantage of insurance companies – faking an injury is one of the most common. Those who commit this type of fraud can gain a lot of money in the process, but they take a big risk when they do so because each insurance company will investigate any claim that seems suspicious. Auto insurance fraud is another area that can be taken advantage of. If an individual claims injury to an insurance company, this is fraud.
Anyone accused of tax fraud should be aware of how serious these charges are. In federal court, tax fraud, or tax evasion, can result in many years of imprisonment and hundreds of thousands in fines. Tax fraud is a common charge in federal fraud actions where there are allegations of improperly obtained funds. Unlawful use of company money or credit cards by employees can have tax implications. Having a fraud attorney with experience and tenacious investigative efforts have helped clients facing 20 years in prison and millions in restitution resolve their cases with no jail time and minimal fines.
Credit Card Fraud
Fraud cases involving the improper or unauthorized use of a credit card are often filed in federal court. For cases that involve smaller amounts of money or do not involve multiple victims, these are usually resolved at the state court level. Obtaining credit using false information, or using the identity of another to obtain credit is how many credit card fraud cases start. In the past few years, increasing concerns from the FBI and local police about identity theft and cyber-security have driven a large increase in the filing of these cases. State and local governments are increasing their authority to file the most serious charges and seek severe penalties.
Check fraud is a criminal offense which is sometimes referred to as “passing bad checks.” This type of fraud crime is related to check fraud; however, the difference involves a bank account having insufficient funds. Penal Code 476 deals specifically with forgery or altering of checks. Check fraud is where a person specifically knew that a bank account did not have sufficient funds or was closed when they wrote a check.
A fraud case is never a simple case. Identity theft is an allegation that a person possessed or stole another person’s personal information to commit a fraud. In the State of California or in federal court, allegations of fraud often involve multiple crimes. It is common to see indictments and criminal complaints with sixty or seventy separate counts. Identity theft is alleged as the means by which another person committed a fraud. Tax fraud or bank fraud cases will include identity theft charges if there is some evidence a person’s ID was stolen and used to obtain money illegally.
Bank fraud is usually only charged in federal fraud cases along with other serious charges like identity theft or tax fraud. The US code makes it illegal to use any scheme or false statements to obtain funds or credits from a bank. The theory of the crime is basic – that someone made false or fraudulent statements in an official document with the bank and did so to get money.
Our devoted and experienced law firm has years of experience handling investigations from the FBI and banks. Using financial investigators and experts to defend and explain the most serious charges in federal cases is sometimes the only means to build a strong defense. Bank fraud, like other fraud prosecutions, has significant penalties and fines. Understanding your rights in the face of the government’s unlimited resources is essential.
A Real Fraud Case We Handled
A recent client of the firm was charged with check fraud and bank fraud in an amount over $20,000. The client was a doctor who faced serious felony fraud allegations with a potential State Prison sentence of 5 years. The client was amazed to get a letter from the prosecutor’s office charging him with 10 counts of fraud and requesting his presence at a felony arraignment. The client never had any intent of submitting bad checks, however before he could cancel his payments the accounts had been frozen and no funds were available. The checks he had written did not clear and the client was charged with criminal fraud. We negotiated away the most serious charges through motions and the client saved his career and standing.
How are Fraud Cases Prosecuted?
Criminal charges can often stem from honest and unfortunate mistakes. Difficult times in a person’s life can lead to a life-altering criminal case.
Often, simple mistakes in how a person reimburses themselves from professional accounts leads to allegations of criminal fraud. Any allegation of criminal fraud requires proof of intent. Intent to defraud or intent to get some financial advantage by lying are difficult to prove but easy to allege. The problem with financial crimes like bank or wire fraud is that once a transaction takes place, intent can always be implied if the defendant received financial benefit. Someone who processes a credit card transaction using inaccurate personal information may have received significant benefit. Although a mistake was made in how credit or funds were received, once a transaction goes through, the evidence is cemented in time.
The most serious federal fraud crimes relating to tax and wire fraud may require forensic accounting. The FBI and CA state prosecutors all employ financial specialists who comb through financial records, bank receipts, and credit card statements to look for any transactions that may have been unauthorized.
Fighting a Fraud Case
If you were entrapped during a police investigation, you did not intend to commit a crime, or you are facing a case of mistaken identity, your attorney may be able to have the case against you dismissed. The prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed a fraudulent act. If the evidence against you is weak or there is reason to believe you had no intention of engaging in criminal behavior, you may be able to walk away from a case with a dismissal or an acquittal. For other cases with overwhelming evidence, an experienced fraud attorney may be able to argue for reduced charges.
Finding a Fraud Crime Attorney in San Diego
At the Law Office of George Gedulin, we believe a thorough investigation is the best way to approach fraud cases at the state and federal level. With a commitment to being passionate counselors to our clients and relentless negotiators in the courtroom, we have a reputation in San Diego and throughout the country for strong legal defense in a variety of criminal cases.
In the event that your case did not go well, we are committed to appealing cases to higher courts to address issues with a previous case. After your case has been concluded, if you have been convicted, we will also fight to have your conviction expunged so you can get back to living your life. Our team will not rest until we know we have done everything possible to defend your rights in and out of court. For more information, get in touch with our firm in San Diego today.