White-collar crimes carry serious legal repercussions, including incredibly high fines and length prison sentences. If you are arrested for fraud, the consequences of your charges could impact you personally and professionally for the rest of your life. This means that it is important to get the best legal representation possible if you are accused of this offense, and you should contact a Minnesota fraud lawyer as soon as you are aware of the accusations against you.
The Crime of Fraud
To be found guilty of fraud, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was intentionally dishonest in order to gain a benefit. A person who is charged with fraud can be convicted if the following elements are proven in court:
- The defendant knowingly misrepresented a material fact
- The misrepresentation was believed to be true
- The defendant meant for someone to act on their misrepresentation
- The person acting on the misrepresentation suffered a loss
Fraud does not require actual money to have been taken by the defendant. Defendants can use fraud to gain any benefit, including services or the property of another person.
Credit Card and Check Fraud
A person who uses another person’s financial information for their own benefit can be charged with fraud. Improperly using another person’s check, credit card, debit card, or information from their card could result in a fraud charge.
Additionally, defendants can face fraud charges when they use bad or counterfeit checks to purchase goods or services without actually making the payment. Defendants facing a fraud charge for the improper use of a credit card or check should contact a Minnesota attorney for help.
Lying to an insurance company or making false insurance claims to receive a benefit is considered insurance fraud. Under Minnesota Statute §609.611, a defendant commits insurance fraud when they lie, provide false information, or conceal a material fact concerning:
- An application or renewal of an insurance policy
- A claim for payment or benefit
- A payment made according to the insurance policy terms
- An application used in a premium finance transaction
Identify Theft and Counterfeiting
When a defendant uses or produces an alias other than their own, they commit fraud. The most common forms of this offense include identity theft and counterfeiting.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s personal information for their own financial gain. This crime often involves stealing another’s name, social security number, credit card number, or bank account information.
Penalties for Fraud
Despite being a nonviolent crime, the penalties for fraud can be significant, depending on the severity of the injury or monetary loss that resulted from the action and the defendant’s criminal history.
The most severe fraud cases may result in the defendant receiving up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Defendants face these penalties when they take more than $35,000 worth of property or services, or the item taken is a firearm. When the property or services taken is $500 or less, the defendant faces up to 90 days imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.
Defendants who have a criminal record are likely to receive higher penalties that are within the sentencing guidelines. A Minnesota attorney could help an accused person advocate for a lower sentence after they are charged with fraud.
Contact a Minnesota Fraud Attorney as Soon as Possible
If you face fraud charges, the prosecution believes they have enough evidence to convict you of the crime, which means that you should reach out to a Minnesota fraud lawyer for help. An experienced attorney could prepare a defense strategy to help you avoid conviction or minimize the potential penalties of this offense. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our skilled attorneys and learn more.