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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Federal and state governments have placed a high priority on investigating and prosecuting fraud offenses. These offenses typically involve someone allegedly attempting to steal the property or services of others by using some sort of deception. The repercussions of any type of fraud conviction can be extremely severe and impact your personal and professional life for years into the future. If you are accused of fraud, you may wish to seek the advice of an Austin fraud lawyer.
A qualified defense lawyer could defend you in complex fraud cases. These prosecutions tend to be very complicated and require the review of thousands of pages in documents. Enlisting experienced legal counsel to advocate on your behalf may be crucial to a positive outcome in your case.
Check Fraud in Austin
One of the most common types of fraud in Austin is check fraud, which may involve additional criminal offenses, such as check forgery, stealing checks belonging to another, or identity theft. This offense can have serious penalties, particularly for repeat offenders and those who commit fraud involving large amounts of money.
Under Tex. Pen. Code § 32.41, it is unlawful to issue bad checks or to write a check with the knowledge that there are insufficient funds in the account on which the check is drawn. Passing a bad check is generally a Class C misdemeanor, except, if it is a child support payment, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor. Along with other penalties, individuals who pass bad checks typically must pay restitution for them.
Allegations Involving Credit Cards
Another common type of fraud is credit or debit card fraud. These charges can be quite serious. Pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 32.31, individuals commit credit card fraud if they:
- Present a credit card that is expired, revoked, canceled, not issued to them, and not being used with the consent of the owner with the intent to fraudulently obtain a benefit
- Use a fictitious credit card with the intent to gain a benefit
- Steal a credit card or receive a credit card that they know is stolen
- Buy a credit card from individuals who do not own it
- Sell a credit card if they do now own it
Credit card fraud is typically a state jail felony, but it becomes a felony of the third degree if the target of the fraud is an elderly individual. A state jail felony can result in a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years, plus a fine of up to $10,000. A third-degree felony may result in a prison term of two to ten years, plus a maximum $10,000 fine.
Using Fraud to Obtain Credit
A form of fraud related to credit or debit card fraud is credit fraud. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 32.32, it is unlawful to intentionally make materially false or misleading statements in order to obtain property or credit, including a mortgage loan. Providing an appraisal of real estate for compensation that contains an intentionally false or misleading statement is also a violation of this code.
The level of the offense and resulting penalties for credit fraud depends on the value of the property or credit involved in the offense. The charges can range from a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the property or credit is less than $100 to a first-degree felony if the value of the property or credit is $300,000 or more.
Defend Against Charges with an Austin Fraud Attorney
Fraud charges can have very serious implications, including years in prison and thousands of dollars of fines in the event of a conviction. A fraud conviction also can adversely affect your career and opportunities in the future. An Austin fraud lawyer could help you defend yourself against these charges.
By enlisting the help of legal counsel, you may be able to fight back against any fraud charges that you are facing. You can work toward the development of a comprehensive defense strategy that may be ultimately beneficial to you. Call today to get started.