Fraud is a criminal offense that involves deceiving someone in order to obtain money or something else of value. Although fraud is not necessarily a violent crime, prosecutors usually charge it as a serious felony.
If you believe you are being investigated for fraud, it is important that you secure a hardworking criminal defense attorney right away. Legal counsel could respond to investigator’s concerns and attempt to bring the inquiry to a halt without charges. If you are currently facing charges, a Hennepin County fraud lawyer could help you fight these allegations. Your reputation and freedom are at stake, so do not hesitate to secure professional advice.
Elements of a Fraud Crime
There are many ways to commit fraud, but to get a conviction a prosecutor must prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The crime of fraud requires the prosecutor to demonstrate that:
- The defendant intentionally lied about something essential to the scheme
- Other people believed the false statement to be true
- The false statement’s purpose was to induce others to action
- Someone suffered a loss, usually a financial loss, because they acted on the defendant’s false statement
It might be challenging for a prosecutor to prove that someone intentionally made a false statement to induce others to act. It is possible the person who made the statement was innocently mistaken, did not intend it to be taken seriously, or did not expect anyone to rely on it. A local fraud lawyer could raise these issues as a means of asserting that the defendant did not have the intent to defraud anyone.
Common Fraud Crimes in Minnesota
Because fraud involves taking something by deception, any situation where someone might gain access to money or other property by misstating facts could give rise to fraud charges. Both the state and federal government have laws against fraud, so someone being investigated for fraud would be wise to seek out a Hennepin County fraudulent activities lawyer who is knowledgeable about both prosecutorial systems.
Misstating information on an application for a mortgage is fraud. Applicants must honestly state their income, liabilities, assets, and all other information the lending institution asks for to make a decision.
According to Minnesota Statutes § 609.611, filing insurance claims for property that was intentionally lost or destroyed is insurance fraud. So is inflating the value of an item on an insurance claim or an application for insurance. Insurance companies that improperly and knowingly deny payment on a legitimate claim also could be charged with insurance fraud.
Identity Theft/Credit Card Fraud
A person could face fraud charges if they use someone else’s identity to purchase items or secure any benefit, use a credit card issued to someone else, or use a bogus credit card to pay for goods or services.
Diverting funds from an employer, church, school, club, or any other organization for personal use is a form of fraud known as embezzlement.
People also may face fraud charges for allegedly claiming public assistance to which they were not entitled, writing a bad check, counterfeiting, cheating on their taxes, and committing any other act that relies on deception to gain something of value.
Seek the Help of a Hennepin County Fraud Attorney as Soon as Possible
Fraud is often a complex crime and law enforcement authorities might spend months or years investigating. By the time the prosecutors charge someone, they might have lots of evidence that they believe proves their case.
Getting experienced counsel as soon as you suspect you are the target of a fraud investigation is a wise decision. A Hennepin County fraud lawyer could keep an investigation tightly focused and present alternative arguments that might explain some of the evidence the prosecutors collected. Schedule a consultation today.