Fraud is among the broadest and most commonly charged financial crimes under federal and New York law. Many people who face such allegations did nothing wrong, from a legal or moral standpoint. Perhaps for that reason, fraud charges catch them off guard.
So, rather than partner with a fraud attorney, they think they can talk their way out of it. After all, I did nothing wrong, they reason. So, if I tell the auditors, grand jury, or other authorities my side of the story, they hope these charges will go away. That’s much better than getting a fraud attorney involved, they conclude.
Yes, an attorney is an investment and does make things more confrontational. But that investment is definitely worthwhile. And, no matter how much the authorities smile, the issue is already confrontational. An attorney cannot make things any worse from this standpoint. A dependable Rochester fraud attorney almost always makes things better.
So, as soon as you receive notice of charges or possible charges, you need a fraud attorney on your side. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1341, as well as most other fraud laws, this offense is basically:
- A false statement,
- Of a material fact,
- With the intent to mislead someone,
- And realize a financial gain.
Monroe County prosecutors must establish all these elements in court beyond any reasonable doubt. Subtle differences sometimes make a difference.
For example, intent is often hard to prove in bankruptcy, tax, and other government fraud cases. Particularly if a defendant did not benefit from professional advice, these forms are very complex, and it is easy to make innocent mistakes, especially if English is not the defendant’s first language.
Additionally, the misrepresented fact must be a current fact. Assume Marie convinces Joe to invest money in a real estate deal because she says, a proposed freeway will radically alter land values. Even if the freeway is never built and there never was such a proposal, Marie is probably not guilty of fraud.
Types of Fraud
Financial fraud may occur in many different contexts, regardless of whether money changes hands. Some examples include:
- Bankruptcy Fraud: Most bankruptcy fraud prosecutions involve an alleged failure to report all sources of income. Technical violations are also possible, such as overclaiming a property exemption or misclassifying property as exempt.
- Tax Fraud: Somewhat similarly, authorities usually file tax fraud cases if taxpayers fail to report all their income. Other charges include overclaiming deductions and using false statements to obtain tax credits.
- Insurance Fraud: Some policyholders manufacturer false claims or exaggerate valid claims. Others submit fake repair invoices and profit from the difference, usually after a kickback from the provider.
- Mail/Wire Fraud: Federal prosecutors are notorious for adding wire fraud changes to another type of indictment to increase the penalties. Every time the defendant clicks “send” or licks a stamp, authorities can add another fraud charge.
Other types of fraud include healthcare fraud. In these cases, prosecutors commonly allege that doctors issued bills for services they did not provide, or they intentionally coded tasks differently to pad their bills.
How a Rochester Fraud Attorney Can Help
If there is a clear lack of evidence on any one of the elements mentioned above, a Rochester fraud attorney can sometimes get the case thrown out of court or, in rare instances, convince a grand jury not to indict.
However, most criminal cases settle out of court. These resolutions often include either reduced charges or reduced penalties. A Rochester fraud attorney can often reduce serious felony charges to less-serious misdemeanor charges. Some form of pretrial diversion may also be available, especially if the defendant makes restitution and has no prior criminal record.
If the case goes to trial, complex financial fraud cases are difficult to prove in court and have lots of moving parts. Therefore, a Rochester fraud attorney has an excellent chance to create reasonable doubt.
Connect with a Tenacious Lawyer
Financial or other fraud cases may mean stiff penalties. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester fraud attorney, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. Convenient payment plans are available.