In the state of Arizona, there are a broad range of crimes that fall under the umbrella of fraud. A fraudulent scheme may involve health care fraud, money laundering, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, forgery, extortion, bribery and more. These types of crimes are categorized as white collar crimes. A.R.S. 13-2310 outlines what constitutes a fraud and consequences. For example:
- It defines fraud as any person who knowingly benefits from another individual or business entity under false pretenses
- The first offense of a class 2 felony fraud can result in simple probation to 13 years in jail
- A benefit of $100,000+ in a fraudulent scheme excludes one from parole or pardon
- Two prior felony convictions plus a fraud conviction can add up to 35 years in prison
Types of Fraudulent Crimes
Fraudulently controlling monies or property owned by a bank would constitute a bank fraud. Health care fraud includes doctors and other health care providers charging for medical services, such as Medicaid, not rendered or using someone else’s insurance card for medical services. Medicaid and Medicare fraud and serious federal felonies. Health care professionals are often confused by overly complicated rules and may be falsely charged with upcoding, billing fraud and charging for unnecessary medical services. You might not even know that you’re under investigation for fraud until the FBI shows up at your office or clinic. Forgery occurs when a party alters documents or offers a document with false information. Mortgage fraud may result from a false statement or misrepresentation during the lending process. It also includes omissions. Even writing a bad check is considered a fraud.
Defenses for Fraudulent Crimes
The key to successfully defending a fraudulent charge is to prove that the defendant did not knowingly commit the offense. For example, you may be accused of fraud by another party due to a poor investment. The plaintiff may allege that you deliberately misinformed them. In order to defend a fraudulent, a criminal defense attorney will do a thorough investigation of all the facts. This includes interviewing the victim to uncover inconsistencies and interviewing material witnesses. A criminal defense attorney in Arizona may negotiate a civil disposition to withdraw charges or for a plea bargain with no prison time. Other defense strategies include forensic flaws in the evidence, violation of constitutional rights, non-reading of Miranda rights and law enforcement coercion in a confession.
If you’ve been charged with involvement in a fraudulent scheme, it’s important to hire legal counsel early in the proceedings. Learning that you are involved in a fraud investigation can come as a surprise. Taking a proactive approach and hiring an attorney early on in the investigative stage can prevent formal charges from being filed. As a matter of fact, it can mean the difference between living life as usual or living life in a jail cell.