State and federal law enforcement authorities have made the prosecution of fraud offenses a priority. Often referred to as “white collar” crimes, fraud offenses typically involve using misrepresentation or dishonesty to obtain personal financial gain and do not usually involve any violence or bodily harm. Nonetheless, the penalties for a conviction can be harsh, so getting the advice of an experienced Fort Worth fraud lawyer may be extremely beneficial.
Fraud investigations are complex, often involving thousands of pages of financial records and other documents. A detail-oriented defense lawyer may be able to guide you through the criminal proceedings and reach a more favorable outcome in your case.
What Constitutes Fraud?
There are a variety of federal and state criminal offenses that constitute fraud. Some of the most common offenses include:
- Mortgage, bank, check, and credit card fraud
- Healthcare, Medicaid, and Medicare fraud
- Mail, wire, and Internet fraud
- Forgery offenses
Allegations of fraud often result in multiple criminal charges. A conviction on any of these offenses can have severe penalties, including high fines and years in prison. A fraud lawyer in Fort Worth may be able to assist in defense of those accused of fraud.
Common Offenses in Fort Worth
Tex. Pen. Code § 32.32 makes it illegal to make materially false or misleading statements in the course of trying to obtain credit. For instance, making false statements or producing false documents about income and savings to get a mortgage or a vehicle loan constitutes credit or bank fraud. This offense can be a felony or a misdemeanor offense, depending on the amount of money allegedly involved in the fraudulent scheme.
Under Tex. Pen. Code § 32.31, it is unlawful for individuals to use a credit or debit card to commit deception for their financial gain or another type of benefit. Credit card fraud might include using credit cards that belong to another without their consent, using an expired or invalid credit card, or using a falsified credit card. Individuals accused of this felony offense should take steps to consult with a fraud lawyer in Fort Worth.
Allegations Involving the Healthcare Industry
18 U.S. Code § 1347 makes healthcare fraud a federal criminal offense. In most cases, a medical practice or other healthcare provider defrauds a healthcare benefit program by submitting false insurance claims for services that it never provided or for fictitious patients. Many allegations of healthcare fraud arise from schemes designed to defraud Medicaid and Medicare, which are federal health care programs that primarily serve children, elderly persons, and the disabled.
In many cases, a simple audit triggers allegations that can result in years in federal or state prison, hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution, and forfeiture of assets. Since these penalties can be so severe, getting advice from a fraud attorney in Fort Worth can be crucial.
Forgery is a criminal offense that accompanies many other fraud offenses. Often, individuals use forged documents to perpetrate other forms of fraud. Tex. Pen. Code § 32.21 makes it illegal to forge any writings with the intent to defraud or cause losses to others.
Although forgery occurs in different ways, it always involves individuals making unauthorized or false changes to a document, whether it is falsifying dates or signing the name of another without authorization. Forgery is generally a Class A misdemeanor, but it can be a felony offense in some circumstances. The offense automatically becomes a felony if the forged document is a will or mortgage document.
Schedule a Consultation with a Fort Worth Fraud Attorney
Whenever you are facing allegations of involvement in some fraud, you may wish to consult a Fort Worth fraud lawyer for advice and representation. The penalties for a fraud conviction tend to be harsh and can lead to sentences of incarceration.
Having a legal advocate on your side throughout any criminal proceedings can be vital to defending yourself against accusations of wrongdoing. Call today to get the help you need.