Yes, there are numerous different types of fraud even though the basic elements of fraud remain the same regardless of the type committed. Types of fraud may include:
- Mail fraud;
- Romance scam fraud;
- Identity theft;
- Gambling fraud;
- Bankruptcy fraud;
- Wire fraud;
- Pharmacy fraud;
- Securities fraud;
- Check fraud;
- Charity fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Welfare Fraud;
- Credit and/or debit card fraud;
- Perjury; and
- Pigeon drop scams.
This list, if course, is not a comprehensive list of all types of possible fraud. The basic elements of criminal fraud are satisfied when:
- An individual conceals a material truth or truths or lies; and
- Another individual or entity justifiably relies on the false information; and
- That individual or entity suffers an injury based on their reliance.
There are several elements the prosecution must prove in order to convict an individual of criminal fraud, including:
- A misrepresentation of material fact occurred;
- By an individual who was aware that the material fact was false;
- And intended to defraud;
- An individual or entity who justifiably relied on the misrepresentation of fact; and
- That individual or entity suffered damages or actual injury as a result of their reliance on that false fact.
What is the Difference between Criminal Fraud and Civil Fraud?
As previously noted, the basic elements of fraud are the same, no matter the type, including civil fraud cases and criminal fraud cases. A conviction for criminal fraud, however, may result in jail time and/or fines.
Additionally, criminal law has a higher standard of proof that the prosecution must meet, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to convict an individual of fraud, each element of the charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In criminal fraud cases, it is not relevant whether or not the fraud was actually successful. The fact that the perpetrator intended to and attempted to commit fraud is enough.
Depending upon the jurisdiction and the facts of the case, criminal fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. In cases of criminal fraud, the victim, or the plaintiff, is required to prove the previously discussed elements as well as prove the suffered damages as a result of the fraud.
The distinction between a criminal fraud case and a civil fraud case is that, in a civil fraud case, the plaintiff is required to show actual damages. In contrast, in a criminal case, the prosecution is only required to show that the defendant attempted to engage in fraud.
What is Criminal Fraud?
Criminal fraud is a criminal action which is committed by an individual who intends to deceive another individual through a false representation of a fact or facts. This misrepresentation of fact results in a legal detriment because the victim relied upon that information as if it were true.
Criminal fraud is a type of crime which involves schemes to cheat or deceive other individuals or entities in order to obtain a financial gain or other type of gain. Criminal fraud is considered a white collar crime.
Pursuant to criminal fraud laws, any action which is intended to deceive another individual through a false representation of fact which results in legal detriment to the individual who relied upon the information may be considered an act of criminal fraud. In other words, if an individual knowingly tells a lie regarding important to key facts in a relationship or transaction and the other party relies on that misrepresentation and, as a result, suffers harm, fraud has occurred.
It is important to note that criminal fraud does not occur if an individual provides a false or inaccurate key fact which they believe is true, even if they are mistaken. One category of criminal fraud is financial fraud.
What is Financial Fraud?
Financial fraud, or finance fraud, includes fraudulent or deceptive business practices which occur during a financial transaction. Financial fraud may occur in different ways, including:
- Fraudulent billing;
- Payroll fraud;
- Credit card fraud; and
- Bank fraud.
Victims of financial fraud may include:
- States; or
- Organizations, such as charities.
What is Bank Fraud?
Bank fraud involves knowingly attempting to or actually engaging in a scheme to defraud or deceive a financial institution. The perpetrator’s intent in these cases is to obtain assets, property, or money from the financial institution by means of:
- False statements;
- Fraudulent means;
- False pretenses; and
- False promises.
Is Healthcare Fraud a Type of Financial Fraud?
Yes, healthcare fraud is a type of financial fraud which involves falsifying health care bills in order to obtain a profit and/or to reduce healthcare expenses. For example, an individual may provide false statements on a health care application in order to receive a discount or the financial benefit of insurance.
What Should I Do if I am a Victim of Criminal Fraud?
If an individual believes they have been the victim of criminal fraud, they should contact their local law enforcement immediately to report the fraud. If there is sufficient evidence, the case will be forwarded to the local District Attorney or prosecutor’s office in order to prosecute the perpetrator of the fraud.
It is very important for the individual to keep records of any and all losses which resulted from the fraud. These records may be especially important in cases where restitution is a possible penalty.
Additionally, it is important for the individual to consult with an attorney to determine if they may be able to pursue a civil fraud case in addition to the criminal fraud case.
What if I have been Accused of Criminal Fraud?
A conviction for criminal fraud may include serious consequences. The penalties for a conviction of criminal fraud will vary depending upon several factors, including:
- The jurisdiction;
- The severity of the fraud;
- The individual or entity which was the victim of the fraud; and
- The amount of property or money that was lost as a result of the fraud.
A criminal fraud conviction may include various penalties, such as:
- Jail or prison time;
- Probation or parole;
- Fines; and/or
A court will also examine several other factors when determining the sentencing for a criminal fraud conviction, which include:
- The severity of the fraud;
- Whether the defendant has any prior convictions;
- Whether the defendant is currently on parole or probation;
- The amount of property or money which was stolen; and
- The individual or entity that was the targeted victim.
A defendant’s penalties may also be influenced by the attitude of the court or the community towards this type of offense. It is important to be aware that if the victim of the fraud was the Federal Government, charges may be brought under federal laws instead of state laws and may result in harsher penalties for the defendant.
What Are Possible Defenses to Financial Fraud?
There are several available possible defenses to financial fraud, including:
- Insufficient evidence: The prosecutor or insurer is unable to meet the burden of proof required to prove fraud occurred;
- Non-fraudulent statement. Part of the crime of financial fraud is making a false, or fraudulent, statement. If a defendant can prove that the misleading fact was actually an opinion or that the statement was technically true, then no fraud occurred;
- Entrapment. The government compelled an innocent individual to commit a crime they would not have done otherwise for the purpose of trying to trap them in the crime; and
- Absence of intent of financial fraud. The burden of proving deceit falls upon the insurer or prosecutor. A defendant would have to show that they did not intend to commit financial fraud.
Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer about Financial Fraud?
It is very important to have the assistance of a fraud lawyer if you have been accused of or charged with financial fraud. A financial fraud conviction carries the possibility of serious criminal punishments.
It may also ruin your personal and professional life, as you will appear untrustworthy in the eyes of potential clients, future employers, and your peers. Your attorney can advise you regarding the laws in your state, how you may defend yourself against the charge, and represent you when you are required to appear in court.