Fairfax Fraud Lawyer
The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides comprehensive criminal defense services in fraud cases and other crimes. Rates of fraud increased significantly during the recession of 2008 and have continued to rise since then. Correspondingly, the Commonwealth has stepped up its efforts to aggressively crack down on these crimes. In their zealous attempt to do so, however, they have lodged false allegations at many innocent people. If you have been charged with any form of criminal fraud in Virginia, you will need an aggressive, professional, and passionate Fairfax fraud lawyer on your side to vigorously argue for your innocence. Towards the bottom of this page, you can obtain more information on Virginia fraud laws and the potential penalties associated with Fraud crimes.
What Crimes Are Considered to be Fraud-Related?
There are a litany of fraud-related crimes under Virginia law, and a comprehensive list of these crimes can be found further below. However, a few of Virginia’s fraud crimes include, but are not limited to, the following:
Obtaining money by false pretenses
Pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-178, it is illegal to obtain money, goods, or services through fraudulent means. False pretenses essentially means that the accused has lied in order to obtain money.
Forging public records
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-168, it is a Class 4 felony for a person to forge any public record or any writing which can be used as legal proof. An example would be a false driver’s license, birth certificate, affidavit, or any other notarized document.
According to Virginia Code § 18.2-246.3, it is a crime for a person to conduct any financial transaction with funds or property which were obtained through illegal activity. An example of money laundering would be to use funds from drug dealing to start a legitimate business as a way to “wash” or “launder” the dirty money. Virginia takes money laundering extremely seriously, and this is reflected by the potential punishment for a money laundering conviction – up to 40 years in prison and a fine of $500,000. If you have been arrested, charged, or are under investigation for money laundering, you will want to consult with a Fairfax fraud lawyer as soon as possible, and certainly before giving any statements to law enforcement.
Credit Card Fraud/Forgery
Credit card fraud schemes are constantly becoming more sophisticated, but these cases almost always involve the use of another person’s credit card or credit card info to purchase items or pay bills. It can also refer to unauthorized access to a bank account, account numbers, PIN numbers, or the possession of equipment designed or used for the purpose of carrying out credit card fraud. Virginia fraud laws make it a crime to alter a credit card, forge the signature of someone else or a fictional person on a credit card payment form, make a counterfeit credit card, or use a card that does not belong to you without permission and an intent to defraud.
Credit card fraud for less than $200 will be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If the fraud is for more than $200, it will be charged as a Class 6 felony carrying a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Conspiracy to commit credit card fraud is a Class 6 felony as well. If you are being investigated for credit card fraud, the investigation may involve both state and federal law enforcement. Suffice to say, criminal charges of credit card fraud are very serious and require the representation of an aggressive, professional, and intelligent Fairfax fraud lawyer to defend you.
Writing Bad Checks/Check Fraud
Check fraud is among the most common fraud offenses. Check fraud is a somewhat broad term as it could involve producing a fake check, altering the dollar amount, forging the payor’s name, or writing a check knowing that the check will bounce (knowing that the dollar amount represented on the check will not be available). In practice, however, it is very uncommon for a one-time mistake to be prosecuted. Instead, fraud charges often occur after an investigation which has documented the fraud over a period of time. As is the case with most other criminal charges, the prosecution must prove the defendant intended to commit fraud, and that his/her actions were not the result of a simple mistake or negligence. This is a difficult threshold to meet. Particularly when the government must show, through specific evidence, that intentional and knowing conduct was occurring.
Check fraud-related crimes are typically charged as Class 4 felonies with a sentence of 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Any fraud-related crime is a crime of moral turpitude, and it is taken very seriously and prosecuted aggressively. Accordingly, it requires the assistance of an aggressive, knowledgeable, and savvy Fairfax fraud lawyer.
Virginia’s insurance fraud laws were designed to punish fraudulent claims by policyholders. Insurance fraud can occur through the exaggeration or fabrication of an injury, damage to a person’s home, damage to their vehicle, and other forms of insured loss. Insurance fraud is treated very seriously in Virginia because of the crime’s economic impact. Indeed, medical insurance fraud costs providers billions of dollars every year. Automobile insurance fraud may cause injury when a driver slams on their brakes to cause a rear end collision. Businesses sometimes suffer when an employee fraudulently attempts to collect worker’s compensation by faking on-the-job injuries.
Whatever the case may be, insurance fraud is prosecuted aggressively. Many times, however, fraud charges are merely just bookkeeping mistakes. Whenever there is suspected insurance fraud, the insurance company will launch an internal investigation first, which can then lead to a criminal investigation and charges. If you are under investigation, you are going to want to hire a Fairfax fraud lawyer immediately. At the Law Offices of Randall Sousa, we can not only protect you once charges have been filed, but also at the very beginning when the insurance company launches an investigation.
Fairfax Fraud Lawyer Explains Why the Penalties in Fraud Cases Are Entirely Dependent on the Facts
To be sure, it is extremely difficult to provide people with a blanket assertion of the potential penalties in their fraud case because each and every case is so unique. And while each criminal case is unique in its own right, any reputable Fairfax fraud lawyer will tell you that they will have to know the facts of your case, the evidence against you, and the value of the allegedly ill-gotten money or property you are accused of improperly acquiring.
With that said, fraud charges can be charged as Class 1 misdemeanors all the way up to Class 2 felonies. For more information on white collar crimes, please see our white collar crime page.
How a Fairfax Fraud Lawyer Can Help You
If you have been charged with fraud or any fraud or forgery-related crime, your Fairfax fraud lawyer may be able to work out a plan for you to pay back the allegedly ill-gotten funds. If you are capable of paying back some or all of these funds, there is an increased likelihood that your attorney can work out a deal for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.
Likewise, if you are resolute in going to trial, a good Fairfax fraud lawyer will be able to craft a strong defense. Some examples of possible defenses to fraud charges include the following:
Lack of Intent
The most difficult element to prove in any fraud or forgery case is intent. If law enforcement is seeking to interview you or you are the target of a fraud investigation, you will want to have a Fairfax fraud lawyer present at all times during questioning. Misunderstandings and confusion can easily lead to misplaced suspicions and criminal charges. But succeeding on the defense of lack of intent can require an extremely deep understanding of the law and a meticulous eye for detail.
Motion to Suppress Evidence
Motions to suppress evidence can be used to exclude any evidence which may have been obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. Sometimes, when conducting fraud investigations, the questions posed by law enforcement are asked in a manner which elicits your opinion, but law enforcement will deceptively spin your statements as statements of fact. In turn, they will use these statements to show that you intended to commit fraud. That is why you should never, under any circumstance, speak to law enforcement without a Fairfax fraud lawyer present at your side.
Contact a Fairfax Fraud Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
Under any form of analysis, fraud is a serious crime, and it requires a highly skilled, intelligent Fairfax fraud lawyer with an understanding of not just the criminal laws, but of the complex issues of admissibility of evidence. What might appear to be a slam dunk case for the prosecution can be destroyed by a savvy, intelligent attorney who has a fine attention for details. If you or a loved one has been charged or is under investigation for fraud, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa now for a Free Consultation with a Fairfax fraud lawyer. We can openly and safely discuss the details of your case and devise a strategy to protect your rights and your freedom. 571-354-6164
Fairfax Fraud Attorney Explains Virginia’s Fraud Laws
On this page, Virginia fraud attorney Randall Sousa provides an overview of Virginia fraud laws and their possible penalties. An exhaustive list of Virginia fraud laws can all be found within Virginia Code Title 18.2, Chapter 6. Although the list below is not exhaustive, this page covers the most common fraud-related crimes in Virginia. If you have been charged with any fraud-related crime, you will want to contact a Virginia fraud lawyer to help you fight the charges.
Forgery, Uttering, etc., Other Writings (Virginia Code § 18.2-172)
Forgery is defined as creating a fake document, or altering a real document, with an intent to commit fraud. Uttering is not just creating a fake document, but actually using that document for the purposes of committing fraud.
Pursuant to Virginia fraud laws, forgery and uttering are designated as a Class 5 felony. As such, a conviction will include a sentence of one to 10 years in prison.
However, if the person forges or utters a public record (such a birth certificate or driver’s license) with knowledge that the record has been forged, then they will be charged with a violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-168. A violation of § 18.2-168 is a Class 4 felony which carries a penalty of two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
If you have been charged with forgery, uttering, or other writings, contact a Fairfax fraud lawyer today for a free consultation.
Obtaining Money or Signature by False Pretense (Virginia Code §18.2-178)
Like most other states’ fraud laws, Virginia fraud laws define false pretenses as a lie or trick used to obtain money or property of another person. This crime can be charged when someone tries to pass a fake or fraudulent check. As such, a person who violates this law will be charged with larceny.
- If false pretenses were used to obtain money or property under $200, they will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.
- If false pretenses were used to obtain money or property worth over $200, then they will be charged with grand larceny. Grand larceny is a felony which subjects the offended to a punishment of one to 20 years in prison.
Obtaining money by false pretenses is a serious crimes and requires the assistance of an aggressive and highly skilled Fairfax fraud attorney. Call the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a free consultation.
Issuing Bad Checks (Virginia Code § 18.2-181)
Any person who issues a check with knowledge that they lack sufficient funds to complete the transaction shall be charged with larceny. Under Virginia fraud laws, a violation of this section will be charged as a larceny. If the order of the check is for under $200, the crime shall be charged as petit larceny – a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the order of the check is for more than $200, the crime shall be charged as grand larceny – a Class 6 felony. A Class 6 felony carries a sentence of one to five years in prison.
Additionally, under Virginia Code § 18.2-181.1, a person shall be charged with a Class 6 felony if, within a 90-day period, they issue two or more checks while lacking sufficient funds, and these checks were worth a total of more than $200 or are (1) drawn from the same account of a bank; and (2) are payable to the same party.
Importantly, pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-183 and Virginia fraud laws, the issuance of bad checks, the value of which have not been repaid in 5 days, will serve as proof that the person who issued the bad check had actual knowledge that they lacked sufficient funds to cover the check. Your Fairfax fraud lawyer will be able to provide a more detailed explanation of how Virginia Code §18.2-183 can affect your check fraud case.
False Statements to Obtain Property or Credit (Virginia Code § 18.2-186)
If a person lies in any writing about their financial condition or their ability to pay in order to receive a loan or credit, that person shall be guilty making false statements to obtain property or credit. If the value of the benefit obtained is under $200, the crime shall be charged as misdemeanor petit larceny. If the value of the benefit is more than $200, the crime shall be charged a felony grand larceny.
Identity Theft (Virginia Code § 18.2-186.3)
Virginia fraud laws make it a crime for a person to use identifying information of a third person without their permission in order to:
- Obtain or access identifying information not available to the general public (i.e. financial records);
- Obtain goods or services;
- Obtain identification in the other person’s name;
- Avoid arrest, prosecution, or to impede a criminal investigation;
Under Virginia fraud laws, the term “identifying information” includes a person’s name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, bank account or credit card numbers; PIN numbers, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person’s financial resources.
Violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-186.3 shall be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor if the financial loss is under $200. If the loss is over $200, the crime shall be charged as a Class 6 felony which carries a penalty of 1 to 5 years in prison. Additionally, the court may order the accused to pay restitution for the benefit received.
Irrespective of the amount of financial loss, if 5 or more person’s identifying information has been unlawfully obtained, that person shall also be charged with a Class 6 felony. If 50 or more person’s identifying information has been unlawfully obtained, that person shall be charged with a Class 5 felony which carries a sentence of two to 10 years in prison.
If the person has used identifying information for the purpose of avoiding arrest or prosecution or to impede a criminal investigation, that person shall be charged with a Class 6 felony even though their actions may have caused no financial loss. If you have been charged with identity theft, call us today for a free consultation with an aggressive, affordable, and highly skilled Fairfax fraud attorney.
Obtaining Public Utilities Without Payment (Virginia Code § 18.2-187.1)
It is a violation of Virginia fraud laws to obtain oil, electric, gas, water, telephone, cable television, or electronic communications through the use of any scheme, electronic device, or false information.
If the value of the services obtained is under $200, the crime shall be charged as a petit larceny – a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the value of the services obtained is in excess of $200, the crime shall be charged as a felony grand larceny. In addition, the court may order the accused to pay restitution of actual damages or $500 – whichever is greater.
Credit Card Fraud (Virginia Code § 18.2-195)
A person will be charged with credit card fraud if, pursuant to Virginia fraud laws, they:
- Use a credit card which they know has been revoked or is expired;
- Use a credit card without the consent of the card holder or use a credit card or card number which has not actually been issued;
- Obtain control over a credit card or credit card number as security for a debt;
- Use a credit card to obtain good or services when the cost of obtaining those goods or services is in excess of the amount authorized by the cardholder;
Like most other crimes covered under Virginia fraud laws, if the amount of loss or damage does not exceed $200 in a six-month period, the accused shall be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the value of the ill-gotten goods or services is in excess of $200, the accused will be charged with a Class 6 felony.
Money Laundering (Virginia Code § 18.2-246.3)
Money laundering also falls under the umbrella of Virginia fraud laws. Under this statute, it is a crime to conduct a financial transaction with funds obtained from criminal activity. A violation of is a felony any is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
A person who, for compensation, converts cash into negotiable instruments or electronic funds with knowledge that the cash was obtained as proceeds from illegal activity, shall be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, any subsequent offense of this law will be charged as a Class 6 felony.
What to Do if You Have Been Charged with Violating Virginia Fraud Laws
If you have been charged with violating any Virginia fraud laws, it is imperative that you obtain the counsel of an aggressive, knowledgeable, and passionate Virginia fraud lawyer. At the Law Offices of Randall Sousa, we have an in-depth understanding of Virginia fraud laws. We also understand precisely what it takes in order to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today for a free consultation with a Fairfax fraud lawyer. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa
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The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.
Law Offices of Randall Sousa
2920 District Avenue Suite 524 Fairfax, VA 22031