Fraud is most simply defined as the use of misrepresentation or subterfuge for personal gain. For the most part, fraud cases that go to trial are monetary in nature, but they can also involve the transfer of property, authority, or official favors. Depending on the nature of the case, fraud can be a violation of state or federal law.
Fraud occurs when someone attempts to gain an advantage, financially or for other reasons, over another individual, the government, or a company. Fraud comes in many forms and types: credit card fraud, insurance fraud, tax fraud, and welfare fraud, to name a few. Identity theft has become a particularly prevalent source of fraud in recent years.
When you sell, transfer, or provide the personal identity of another person, without that person’s consent, with the intent to commit a fraud crime, you are in violation of Penal Code 530.5 Identity theft. This statute makes it a crime for any person to unlawfully and intentionally acquire and retain possession of the personal identifying information of another person. In most identity fraud cases, a charge of theft is usually added. The type of theft charged depends on the value of the items obtained. For a value under $950, you will face petty theft charges; if the value was over $950, you will face grand theft charges.
Credit card fraud is a white collar crime in California. It is a type of theft or fraud involving another individual’s credit card, which is frequently stolen. The stolen card is used to purchase items without the knowledge or approval of the rightful owner.
Credit card fraud is tracked down by law enforcement and prosecuted aggressively by special fraud units in the District Attorney’s office. Credit card companies also have their own fraud divisions that work closely with law enforcement. California laws are specific and if convicted you can expect to receive very severe penalties.
Insurance fraud involves defrauding a health insurance, life insurance, homeowners’ insurance, car insurance, or business insurance company. A common type of insurance fraud is faking an injury or disability in order to receive workers’ compensation insurance payments. When you falsify information regarding your insurance policy, which results in you obtaining payments that you are not entitled to, you can be found guilty or insurance fraud. California Insurance Code Section 1871 defines insurance fraud as the providing of false information to either their insurance company, or to another person’s insurance company, which results in money or services being provided to which they are not entitled.
Welfare fraud is defined as the taking by fraud of undeserved benefits from any of California’s state-sponsored assistance programs. Welfare fraud may be internal fraud (committed by program employees) or recipient fraud (committed by the public). You may be charged under Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 WIC violations if you gave false or misleading information on your application to obtain or retain welfare benefits that you were not eligible for. You can also be charged if you made application for benefits using more than one name, or if you filled out multiple application forms in order to get multiple benefits from the state.
If you find yourself facing state or federal fraud charges, you need the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Having a legal representative can make all the difference in securing an acquittal or making a deal with prosecutors. Sevens Legal, APC, is dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcome for their clients and has the skill you will need when building an aggressive defense against your charges. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.