Fraud refers to a broad category of offenses involving intentional misrepresentations and false statements, usually in pursuit of financial gain. The specific elements of a fraud offense depend on the nature of the fraud involved.
Fraud offenses may result in state or federal charges, depending on the dollar value and type of fraud involved. From insurance fraud to check fraud, though, all fraud offenses can have severe consequences that can result in a permanent criminal record.
For advice about a specific fraud charge that you are facing, you may wish to contact a criminal defense attorney. A Tarrant County fraud lawyer may be able to protect your rights and work to defend you from these types of allegations.
Types of Fraud in Tarrant County
Texas state law establishes many fraud and fraud-related criminal offenses. The level of crime charged usually depends on the amount of money involved in the fraud offense and any prior criminal history of fraud.
Some common types of fraud include:
- Real estate, bank, and check fraud, including falsifying appraisals and loan applications or writing checks on accounts with insufficient funds
- Unemployment benefits and tax fraud, such as failing to report income to receive unemployment compensation or a larger tax refund
- Embezzlement and investment fraud, which entails stealing money from employers or clients
- Medicaid, Medicare, or other health care fraud, due to filing false claims for reimbursement
A conviction on any of these fraud offenses may result in harsh consequences, including incarceration, fines, restitution, and other penalties. For help understanding the potential penalties that apply to your fraud charges, reach out to a Tarrant County fraud attorney.
Defrauding Financial Institutions
One common type of fraud that arises in a variety of situations is bank fraud, which can range in scale from writing bad checks to retailers to large-scale real estate and banking loan scams. Bank fraud often occurs in conjunction with other types of fraud, such as forgery, identity theft, or credit card fraud.
Under Texas Penal Code §32.41, it is illegal for individuals to write checks on accounts that they know contain insufficient funds. Generally, check fraud is a Class C misdemeanor under Texas law, which carries the potential for only a fine rather than jail time, but it can increase to a Class B misdemeanor when it involves checks written for child support payments.
Likewise, bank fraud can involve illegally obtaining credit under Tex. Pen. Code §32.32 by intentionally making or using materially false or misleading financial statements. This could occur in the context of applying for a mortgage loan, a personal loan secured by an asset, or a loan to purchase a vehicle.
In many cases, the level of criminal charges and penalties for fraud depend on the value of the property or money resulting from the fraud. As is the case with theft offenses under Texas law, fraud involving less than $2,500 in property or money is generally a misdemeanor offense. If the fraud involves property or money worth $2,500 or more, then it is a felony offense.
Most misdemeanor offenses carry the potential for a jail sentence, fines, and often restitution—or repayment—of the money involved in the fraud. For a felony conviction, the penalties generally increase and include the loss of individual civil rights, such as the right to vote or possess a firearm. Since all fraud convictions create a permanent criminal record, it may be wise to call a fraud lawyer in Tarrant County for advice.
Build a Defense with a Tarrant County Fraud Attorney
The consequences of a fraud conviction can include not only incarceration and fines but also difficulty finding a job or working in specific industries. To fight back against these potential repercussions, you may wish to enlist the assistance of a Tarrant County fraud lawyer.
When facing criminal charges with severe consequences, you should start building a strong defense from the outset of your case. Developing a clear strategy early on may enable you more effectively counter the accusations against you. For more information, call today to set up an initial consultation.