Fraud charges can be intimidating due to the financial and social effects they have on the individual accused. Fortunately, the Virginia fraud lawyers at our firm understand how these types of cases work and are prepared to hear your side of the story to help you construct your defense. Therefore, if you are facing fraud charges contact a criminal defense attorney in Virginia as soon as possible.
Benefits of Working with an Experienced Virginia Fraud Attorney
When you find yourself facing fraud charges, having an experienced presence guiding you through the legal process can make all the difference in the world. The Virginia fraud lawyers at our firm provide clients with aggressive, proactive representation and are available to provide case updates, offer support, and answer questions outside of the courtroom.
The types of fraud charges our lawyers handle include, but are not limited to:
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Securities Fraud
- Mortgage Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Mail and Wire Fraud
- Health Care Fraud
- Check Fraud
Call our law offices today, and we’ll conduct your free initial consultation, which will help our Virginia fraud attorneys get to know the specifics of your case.
About Fraud in Virginia
Depending upon the type of fraud a person is accused of committing, fraud may be charged as either a Virginia state crime or a federal crime. Typically, an alleged act of fraud that is confined to the borders of Virginia and that does not involve a federal agency or its funds will be prosecuted as a state offense in one of the Virginia Circuit Courts.
If the alleged crime is perpetrated across state lines, if it involves a federally insured bank, or if it is thought to have victimized a federal agency or program, such as the Internal Revenue Service or Medicare, the case is typically handled in federal court.
Courthouses for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia are located in Alexandria, Newport News, Norfolk, and Richmond.
Courthouses for the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia are located in Abingdon, Big Stone Gap, Charlottesville, Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Roanoke.
Regardless of the court in which a fraud case is handled, a defendant should allow himself or herself the ability to effectively fight the charge by hiring a Virginia fraud lawyer who is experienced at challenging the prosecution in both state and federal fraud cases.
When debts get out of control, bankruptcy can offer a way to repay or discharge the debts and get back on track. Often, bankruptcy requires a person to forfeit some of his or her assets or property in order to pay the creditors.
While there are a few ways that people may commit bankruptcy fraud, the majority of bankruptcy fraud cases involve concealing assets. Other cases involve making false claims or creating multiple filings in separate states. As a federal offense, bankruptcy fraud is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The Virginia Securities Act is found in Title 13.1, Chapter 5 of the Virginia Code. Statutes 13.1-502 and 13.1-503 deal with committing fraud or deception in the sale of securities or investment opportunities. Making false claims and misrepresentations and giving unlawful advice are strictly prohibited in an attempt to protect investors from investment fraud. In Virginia, allegations of securities fraud are investigated by the Virginia Corporation Commission’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising. Securities fraud is subject to both civil liability and criminal prosecution.
Federal securities fraud cases are often investigated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The SEC and FBI investigate various types of securities fraud, including high yield investment fraud, Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes, advance fee schemes, and other types of fraud.
The federal statute regarding securities and commodities fraud is found in 18 U.S. Code 1348. Under this law, securities fraud is punishable by a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, making contact with a fraud lawyer in Virginia imperative.
Mortgage fraud occurs when anyone involved in the sale or purchase of a home attempts to defraud the lender into granting a loan or granting a greater loan than it would have had it known the true nature of the property’s value or the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.
There are a number of ways in which mortgage fraud is perpetrated, including failure to disclose liabilities, claiming occupancy on a home the borrower does not intend to occupy, misrepresenting or lying about one’s income and/or employment, deliberately overstating the appraised value of the property, cash-back schemes, and more.
While lenders are the primary targets of mortgage fraud schemes, homebuyers may also be targeted through foreclosure rescue and loan modification schemes.
According to the FBI, more than $10 billion in mortgage loans originated with fraudulent information on loan applications in 2010.
Because mortgage fraud often targets federally insured financial institutions and lenders, it is a federal crime punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Credit Card Fraud
“Credit card fraud” is a general term for a wide scope of illegal activities involving the fraudulent use of a credit card or debit card. It can range from the use of a stolen credit card to identity theft to sophisticated hacking schemes.
Skimmers attached to gas pumps and ATM machines, or handheld skimmers used by service professionals such as waiters, can collect a person’s credit card information, which may then be used to “purchase” goods or services without ever paying for them or to withdraw funds from someone else’s accounts without authorization.
Recently, data breaches at major retailers have garnered media attention as millions of shoppers’ information has been illegally obtained as they swipe their credit cards.
In Va. Code 18.2-195, the state legislature defines four types of credit card fraud and ascribes penalties for conviction.
If the value of the property, funds, or services obtained through credit card fraud is less than $200, credit card fraud is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. If the value exceeds $200 in a 6-month period, the offense becomes a Class 6 felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Because fraudulent use of a credit card often crosses state lines, as in the case of online hacking of credit card information or purchasing items over the internet with a fraudulently obtained credit card, or because it often involves identity theft or an attempt to defraud a federally insured financial institution, credit card fraud may be prosecuted as a federal offense by the United States government. Federal credit card fraud cases may include charges of identity theft, wire fraud, and bank fraud.
While credit card fraud may involve organized crime and millions of victims of retail hacking, it is often a much simpler offense. Accidentally lying on a credit application or using someone else’s credit card without authorization are other types of credit card fraud that, while perpetrated on a much smaller scale than credit card skimming or counterfeiting, can still lead to felony criminal conviction.
Credit card fraud defense is best handled by a Virginia Fraud lawyer who understands both federal and state law regarding fraud, and who has the experience and skill to fight aggressively and successfully for a positive outcome.
Work with a Virginia Fraud Attorney Today
When you call our firm, we will conduct a free initial consultation to get to know you and the charges that you may be facing. This is an important step in the legal process because it allows the Virginia fraud lawyers at our firm to hear your side of the story and to begin gathering evidence. To learn more about our attorneys and how we may be able to assist you, please call our law offices today.