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Fraud – Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys for Fraud Charges

Fraud is often regarded as a white-collar crime. It involves a person or entity who uses deception or lies to try to steal valuables or assets or to damage another company, entity or individual. Examples of fraud include:

  • Writing bad checks
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Tax fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Commercial fraud
  • Fraud involving public or government programs, including welfare, worker’s compensation, government
  • Fraud involving government contracts
  • Counterfeiting goods or currency
  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Financial fraud targeting the elderly or the vulnerable
  • Securities fraud
  • Insurance fraud

Fraud can include many different types of activities. For example, it can mean withholding information about income on income tax statements. It can mean opening credit cards in another person’s name or stealing an identity. It can also include misrepresenting an injury on a Social Security disability application or worker’s compensation application. Insurance fraud can mean lighting fire to a property or a car to fraudulently collect insurance money.

All of these things are a crime, even though they are all different actions. All carry significant penalties.

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Why You Need a Texas Lawyer for Fraud Charges

If you’ve been charged with fraud, it’s important to retain a defense lawyer for fraud charges right away. An attorney can work to ensure you are not subject to illegal searches and there is due respect for your rights. In addition, an attorney can start defending you.

An attorney can start gathering evidence and seek to have your case dismissed. An attorney can also work to settle out of court. If there’s a chance you may be tried in federal court, an attorney can work to move your case to a state court, where penalties may be less severe.

Even if you have not been charged yet, if you have been accused of fraud or are under investigation, it is important to consult a defense attorney. In these cases, you will want an attorney representing you during the process.

Whether you are ultimately charged or not, an attorney can protect you to ensure you are not charged illegally or held illegally pending charges. An attorney can also help protect your rights during the investigation process. If authorities are trying to intimidate you or use suspect tactics, your attorney can take steps to prevent this and help you avoid incriminating yourself.

How Attorneys Protect Clients Accused of Fraud

A fraud defense attorney can do many things for you. They can represent you in court, help you determine how to plead, negotiate with prosecutors and guide you through the legal process.

If your case goes before a court, a defense attorney may be able to protect you by introducing doubt. In a court of law, the prosecution must prove a person committed fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, and a defense attorney can introduce doubt to ensure you are not used as an example. These cases often rely on the prosecutor proving you did commit fraud or misrepresented aims intentionally, and this can be difficult to do. A skilled attorney can introduce uncertainty as to the intentions of your actions.

The Penalties for Fraud in Texas

The charges for fraud are significant. Cases such as the Enron claim have meant legislators face pressure to get tougher on fraudsters. In addition, federal sentencing guidelines ensure those cases tried in federal court may face stricter penalties.

People convicted of fraud can face years in jail, significant fines and more. They may also find their reputations or companies severely damaged by the accusations. Seeking the dismissal of charges or an out-of-court settlement can help address some of these issues. In cases of fraud, those who have been affected most often want to recover their money. An out-of-court settlement allows this to happen without a long and arduous legal process. It can also help you avoid a lengthy trial.

The penalties for fraud in Texas vary widely. A number of things determine penalties, including:

  • The classification of the offense
  • The type of fraud committed
  • The amount of money involved
  • The victims involved
  • Any past criminal record
  • Other factors

For identity theft, for example, someone charged with fraud in Texas faces a state jail felony and between 180 days to two years in a state jail. They may also be fined up to $10,000, either instead of the jail time or alongside it. Identity theft, however, can also be a first-degree felony in Texas, involving up to 99 years in a state prison and fines of up to $10,000. Some fraud crimes also require restitution, or paying back money owed to the victims.

Penalties in Federal Fraud Cases

Fraud involving the federal government can have even stricter penalties. Mail fraud and wire fraud, for example, can carry penalties of $250,000 per violation as well as jail time. In addition to the jail time and financial losses, people charged with or accused of fraud are also subject to civil penalties, which may result in even larger financial losses.

In the case of fraud involving the federal government, for example, whistleblowers can file qui tam lawsuits, which allow them to pursue a claim on behalf of the government. This can result in civil suits that award millions of dollars.

Contact a Texas Defense Lawyer for Help Fighting Fraud Charges

If you’re looking for a lawyer for fraud charges or because you are under investigation, the Georgetown, Texas, offices of Morales & Sparks are open to those in need of defense. At our location in Georgetown, Texas, a lawyer for fraud can work with you during this challenging time.

Members of our team speak Spanish, so we speak your language. In addition, we pride ourselves on treating every client like a member of the family, and we defend each client with the same compassion and aggressive defense strategy we would use for member of our own family. If you’re looking for fraud lawyers in Georgetown Texas, contact Morales & Sparks.

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