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What to Do If You Have Been Charged with Fraud in Arizona

Being charged with fraud can be terrifying. The term “fraud” describes a range of offenses that have been committed dishonestly or through misrepresentation of facts. These offenses may also be the result of a falsified statement or deceitful behavior, for which the term “fraudulent acts” may be used.

Fraud is committed when a person intentionally deceives others for profit, toward other personal gain or to damage another party. There are many environments and settings in which fraud may occur, such as through business transactions or on the Internet. These offenses are charged at the state or federal levels according to the nature of the crime. As examples, counterfeiting and crimes involving multiple states are federally charged.

If you are facing fraud or theft charges, having an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney on your side is critical for your future. Fraud attorneys of DM Cantor have successfully defended clients charged with many different types of fraud. When you need to defend yourself against fraud charges, work with an attorney who knows what defense will be most effective in your case.

What is fraud, according to the law?

There are two primary types of fraud, civil and criminal. “Bad faith” is the primary focus of civil fraud, with offenders punished through reprimand and return of fraudulently gained money or property to the victim. Criminal charges stem from clear intent on the part of the perpetrator. Criminal fraud cases can result in prison terms and other more severe punishments.

In order for a criminal fraud charge to be upheld, it must prove:

  1. Misrepresentation of a fact
  2. That the offender knew or believed the fact representation to be false
  3. The act was committed against a person or entity who justifiably relied upon the misrepresentation
  4. Injury or loss resulted from that reliance upon the misrepresentation

Fraud Types in Arizona

In Arizona, as in other states, there are multiple forms of fraud that can be committed by individuals against others. The most common means of committing these acts today are through the mail, Internet or by telephone.

Frequently committed types of fraud in Arizona include:

  • Tax evasion or other tax fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Credit card fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Bribery
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bank fraud
  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement
  • Political corruption
  • Pyramid schemes
  • Wire fraud
  • Government fraud
  • Unemployment fraud

Fraud can involve many varied actions, ranging from white collar offenses to grand theft. So fraud charges are categorized as three primary types:

Consumer Fraud

Consumer fraud includes defrauding of individual consumers through actions like identity theft, telephone scams, credit card fraud, check fraud, Ponzi schemes or securities fraud

Employee Fraud

This type of fraud includes employee violation of fiduciary duty to the company or clients through bribe acceptance, selling of trade secrets or embezzlement of funds

Fraud against Government Institutions or Entities

Tax fraud, tax evasion, counterfeiting, insurance fraud, welfare fraud, social security fraud, Medicare fraud and bankruptcy fraud are some frauds against government institutions or entities

Possible Punishment for Fraud

When convicted on a first-offense Fraudulent Schemes charge, the charge is a class two felony. Possible punishments include:

  • Probation with between zero days and one year in jail
  • Prison for three to 12.5 years

If it is a second offense, then punishments may include four and one half years to 23.25 years in prison.  With two prior convictions, prison sentences range from 10.5 to 35 years of incarceration.

When the defendant has received $100,000 or more in benefit from the fraud, probation is not an option.

Defenses to Fight Fraud Charges

To defend a Fraudulent Schemes charge, it is key to prove that the defendant did not “knowingly” commit the offenses. It must be shown that benefits received by the defendant were with the alleged victim’s consent, due to a mutual misunderstanding or without benefit to the defendant.

Dishonest employers often accuse people of Fraudulent Schemes. When the employment relationship turns negative, the employer then may accuse the employee of some sort of fraud. The same is often true in business partnerships, with one partner accusing the other.

For the defense to be strong, the case must be thoroughly investigated and the alleged victim interviewed to find inconsistencies in their claim. Witnesses will also need to be located and interviewed, particularly those that can serve as material witnesses for the defense.

A “Civil Disposition” can often be negotiated to serve as settlement as all claims against the defendant. As part of this type of resolution, the prosecutor will withdraw criminal prosecution or plead it to charges that are lower in penalty and do not involve any jail time.

Cases can often be intercepted before the prosecutor ever even files charges. These are referred to as “pre-charge” or “investigation stage” cases.

Other means of defending clients against charges of fraud includes challenges to constitutional violations as part of the criminal case. Miranda rights violations are frequently asserted in defense. Coercion by police into confessions or inculpatory statements can also be demonstrated.

Hiring the Right Lawyer for Your Criminal Defense

When you face criminal charges, such as fraud, it is critical that you gain the expert representation of an AV® rated law firm, the highest rating awarded by Martindale Hubbell®. The Arizona Board of Legal Specialization has designated David Michael Cantor as a Fraud Lawyer in Arizona and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. All of the attorneys of DM Cantor, P.C. are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, with the majority being ex-Prosecutors who know the system extremely well.

To ensure David Michael Cantor is on your side, call DM Cantor at 602-307-0808 for a free, no obligation consultation regarding your fraud case.


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