In addition to Assault and battery, theft, driving, drug, and sex crimes, fraud is among the most common criminal charges in the state of California. If you have been charges with any of these common yet very serious crimes, you need a skilled and experienced California criminal defense attorney to fight to protect your legal rights and mount the strongest possible defense against the state’s aggressive efforts to convict you. Besides the damage to your reputation, which has serious ramifications on educational, vocational, and professional aspirations, conviction may result in jail time, fines, fees, community service, probation, loss or restriction of driving privileges, and more.
Types of Fraud
California is tough on fraud of all kinds. Fraud charges point directly to one’s honesty or lack thereof, usually in regards to finances, whether those of an individual, business, or the state itself. One of the oldest types of fraud – check fraud – is the manufacture, possession, or attempted manufacture or use of a check with the intent to defraud the party being paid. The illicit intent in check fraud is revealed by a representation that the bad check is actually genuine. If you have seen the film Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, then you know something about check fraud. While check fraud is on the wane in the debit card / smart phone / Internet era, it does still occur, and is still punished harshly by the state.
Other, more modern types of fraud, such as credit card fraud and identity theft, are perpetrated online as much or more than old fashioned fraud at the cash register or counter. It is important to note that credit card fraud encompasses debit and access cards as well as credit cards. As such, credit card fraud constitutes any fraudulent activity with a credit, debit, or access card, or with information contained in or related to a credit, debit, or access account. So, whether you have the physical card itself, or the information specific to a card, you may be charged so long as you possess the requisite fraudulent intent. What makes intent “fraudulent” is a motive to deceive another person, business, or institution to the point where that party suffers a loss, and you gain an illicit benefit.
Identity Theft is on the Rise in California and Elsewhere
Identity theft is a crime that commonly allows one to commit the crime of fraud more easily. This crime involves the wrongful taking of another person’s identifying information for use in an unlawful or fraudulent manner. Unlawful or fraudulent purposes include the use of personally identifying information to obtain credit, goods, services, or medical information.
What to Do if You Have Been Charged With Fraud in California.
If you have been charged check fraud, identity theft, or another type of fraud (insurance fraud, welfare fraud, workers compensation or unemployment fraud, healthcare fraud) in the state of California, contact a skilled and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney.