Georgia Fraud Lawyer
Fraud-based crimes in Georgia cover a wide range of offenses, including everything from identity theft to forgery. What these crimes all have in common, however, aside from severe penalties for conviction, is the use of deception to obtain a financial gain. Without this element or proof that a person intended to defraud someone else, an individual cannot be convicted of fraud. To learn more about defending yourself against unfair allegations of fraud, please reach out to our experienced Georgia fraud lawyers today.
What Qualifies as Fraud?
All fraud cases, regardless of the exact nature of the crime, require proof of certain factors in order to obtain a conviction, including that:
- The accused misrepresented the truth;
- The accused knew that the information was inaccurate when they presented it;
- The accused misrepresented the information with the intent that it would be relied upon by the alleged victim; and
- The alleged victim suffered a loss as a result of believing the misinformation.
When these elements have been fulfilled, a person can be convicted of fraud, the penalties for which will vary depending on the nature of the crime, the number of people affected, whether the scheme involved victims in multiple states, the value of the losses, and the defendant’s prior criminal record.
Common Fraud Crimes
A fraud-based offense is any crime that involves the taking of someone else’s property by means of deceit. Fraud can take a number of different forms, but most often falls under one of the following categories:
- Identity fraud, which involves using someone else’s personal information without his or her consent;
- Forgery, or using a false document, signature, or other imitation with the intent of deceiving someone else;
- Unauthorized use of a financial transaction card, such as a debit or credit card;
- Embezzlement, which occurs when someone misappropriated assets that were entrusted to them;
- Healthcare fraud, which often involves billing for services that weren’t provided, paying third parties for referrals, or charging for unnecessary treatment; and
- Money laundering, or concealing the origins of illegally obtained funds by a number of banking transfers or transactions
Being convicted of any of these fraud offenses typically comes with a prison term and a fine, with the length of the sentence and the amount of the fine differing based on the type of crime. In addition to these penalties, some defendants may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim, or reimburse that individual for any expenses resulting from the crime, including the cost of paying for the stolen property itself or even for pain and suffering.
Defenses to Fraud Charges
While many fraud-based crimes have specific defenses, there are a few that can almost always be used by defendants to avoid conviction, including:
- Proving that they had permission, or consent from the owner of the property to use the information or card in question;
- A lack of evidence tying them to the fraudulent acts; and
- A lack of intent, as most fraud crimes require proof that a defendant acted intentionally or knowingly deceived the alleged victim.
For help with your own defense strategy, please call our legal team today.
Are You Facing Fraud Charges?
If you are being investigated for fraud, it’s important to begin planning your defense as soon as possible. Please call Hawkins Spizman at (770) 209-2310 to learn more about how an experienced Georgia fraud lawyer could help with your own case.