Fraud is perhaps the most common incarnation of “white-collar” crimes. Although these offenses do not involve any violence against other people, a fraud conviction may still result in a jail sentence.
Fraud is not a specific criminal offense in Frisco. Instead, a collection of statutes outlaw a variety of behaviors meant to cheat another party out of money or property, including what other states refer to directly as fraud. As a result, it is often necessary to closely examine a defendant’s specific criminal charges and the relevant evidence to formulate an effective defense.
A Frisco fraud lawyer may be able to help you if you face any allegations involving fraud. An experienced defense attorney could help defend your rights and freedoms in court and refute allegations that you intended to defraud another party out of their property.
What is Fraud?
Fraud is one of the oldest concepts in criminal law. In short, a defendant commits fraud when they acquire the property or money of another through deception. Chapter 32 of the Texas Penal Code addresses and criminalizes a wide variety of fraud-related offenses.
One thing these offenses all have in common is that a prosecutor must prove that a defendant intended to defraud their alleged target, typically based on a paper trail or text messages that indicate false information. Because of this, a common defense in fraud cases is to argue that the defendant did not have the required mental state to cheat another party.
Another common factor is the determination of the value of the fraud. According to Texas Penal Code §32.03, the court can aggregate the value of the items involved in fraud to charge the defendant with a higher grade of offense. A Frisco fraud attorney could help an accused person understand the basics of this type of charge and how they apply to their case.
Examples of Fraud Charges in Frisco
As mentioned before, there is no specific criminal offense labelled as “fraud” in the Texas Penal Code. Instead, prosecutors utilize a collection of offenses that may fit the alleged activity, one of the more common of which is forgery.
Under Tex. Pen. Code §32.21, forgery involves making, completing, or altering any written item with the intent to defraud another party. For example, a defendant may face accusations of changing the dollar value in a promissory note in an attempt to over collect a debt. Most allegations of forgery are class A misdemeanors, but the offense may climb to the level of a state jail felony under certain circumstances.
Other varieties of fraud-related charges include:
- Criminal simulation to make an item appear to have value
- Counterfeiting of trademarks
- Fraudulent use of a credit card
- Making a false statement to obtain credit
- Issuing a bad check
These offenses can range from misdemeanors to serious felonies depending upon the dollar value of the alleged fraud. However, a conviction under any of the fraud statutes could result in a jail sentence, and some of the felonies carry mandatory minimum sentences. A fraud lawyer in Frisco could fully explain the nature of these charges and work on a defendant’s behalf to construct a credible defense.
A Frisco Fraud Attorney Could Protect a Defendant’s Rights in Court
Any allegation of fraud must include proof that you intended to commit the offense. It is not enough for a prosecutor to simply state that you passed a bad check—to secure a conviction, the prosecutor must also prove that you knew the check was bad and that you intentionally used it to deceive another party.
This concept of intent is key to most fraud cases. As such, it is usually essential that any person facing a fraud allegation take steps to protect themselves. Even relatively minor allegations that are misdemeanors could result in jail time upon conviction and will create a criminal record.
A Frisco fraud lawyer could help prevent this from happening. Contact an attorney today to learn how they could protect your freedoms in court.