Fraud has been in the news a lot over the past few years, mostly in the context of credit card fraud wherein someone steals someone's personal information to take out credit cards in their name and use them for their benefit in their possession. In actuality, there are many different kinds of fraud. Fraud is when someone does something that benefits him or her undeservingly or harms or puts at a disadvantage another person. This is a very broad criminal charge that covers a wide range of activities or behaviors. Fraud actions generally pertain to contracts and agreements. You could commit fraud by lying on an application for benefits, hiding income on your tax return or entering into a contract with someone who is not doing so willingly and knowingly. Benefit fraud could be misrepresenting your assets on an application for welfare, lying about a criminal conviction that would otherwise deny you benefits, lying about your household demographics make you eligible for more benefits or claiming a disability you don't really have to gain access to disability benefits and resources. Tax fraud is also a big problem; some people grossly misrepresent their incomes or other factors that can affect their taxes at the expense of other taxpayers. Hiding income on tax returns, loan applications or benefit applications is a form of fraud. Similarly, hiding assets during bankruptcy proceedings or during divorce proceedings is fraud. In reality, fraud happens quite often, especially in a tough economy where benefits and resources are limited, tax rates are rising and arbitrary limits are set for income-based qualifications. Fraud often results in putting someone at a financial disadvantage and/or unfairly increasing your financial advantage or allowing you to avoid being held accountable for your actions. Fraud crimes are often considered "white collar" crimes however still carry with them criminal charges and harsh consequences. Deceit is a kind of fraud. Deceit in specific is when you misrepresent yourself to intentionally defraud someone else, thereby causing him or her harm in some way. The misrepresentation must be done willingly and knowingly. Examples of deceit include withholding information from someone, telling someone a lie or making a promise or commitment to them with no intention of following through. An example of deceit would be knowingly selling someone something with a default or defect, that you do not disclose, and that would cause them harm or injury. You deceive someone when you willingly and knowingly enter into a contract with someone under false pretenses and/or with no intent to obey the terms of the contract. You cannot make someone enter into a contract with you out against his or her free will. Free will cannot be exercise under duress, menace, coercion, fraud, and undue influence or by mistake. There are a lot of factors the prosecution will consider when hearing your case. To be convicted of deceit, they must prove that you knowingly and willingly took possession of property owned by someone else. They also must demonstrate that you only convinced them to allow this under the premise that you were someone other than you are or had different intentions. As well, you must have had to have no intentions of returning the property in a way that did not rob the owner of the value of the property. This is different from regular theft, even though it is in a way taking something from someone without his or her full and knowing consent. With fraud or deceit, the owner of the property allows you take the property without being fully aware of your intentions to keep the item and benefit from it yourself. If you have been accused of fraud or deceit, it is best to obtain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled fraud cases. Fraud cases are often very complex and require several factors the prosecution must prove before you are convicted. Hire an attorney to have the best chance as having a successful defense against this charge in court. Fraud or deceits are serious charges to have on a criminal record. They could prevent you from getting a job working with money, contracts or other resources and are charges worth fighting against.
Have your or a loved one been accused of fraud? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team. Experienced in fraud defense, our Visalia area legal team can ensure you take the right steps towards fighting the charges. Call our offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.