Fraud is a type of prosecutable crime in Arizona. It is the occurrence of someone falsifying information to defraud another person for personal benefit. Fraud schemes can be simple or complicated in nature.
Knowledge is power if you are facing fraud charges. The information below is a great place to start familiarizing yourself with the process. However, the only way to apply legal advice to your specific case is by speaking with a licensed Arizona criminal defense attorney.
Definition of Fraud in Arizona
The State of Arizona can charge a person with fraud if he or she intentionally receives any gains through the use of lying and dishonesty, including omissions. Arizona currently designates this crime as a class 2 felony.
So, what types of fraud crimes commonly occur? There are an infinite number of ways that a person can commit fraud, including:
- Identity theft
- Check and credit card fraud
- Tax fraud
- Mail and wire fraud
- Ponzi schemes
- Securities fraud
- Medicare and Social Security fraud
The facts of your case dictate whether the state or federal government prosecutes you. Generally, prosecutors at both levels review the details to determine the proper venue and jurisdiction.
How the State of Arizona Prosecutes Fraud Charges
Being accused of a crime is not the same as being guilty of committing one. Therefore, the prosecutor assigned to your case must prove the allegations against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Elements of their arguments must establish that you:
- Received some benefit (typically money or quid pro quo),
- Obtained it through false means, and
- Intentionally ran a scheme to defraud others
It is important to note that fraud does not limit itself to money or tangible goods. Courts can bring fraud charges against someone who deprives another of honest services.
Penalties for Fraud Charges in Arizona
The presumptive sentence for a fraud conviction in Arizona is five years. However, aggravating factors may increase this number to 12.5 years. A judge may order you to pay up to $150,000 plus court costs, attorneys’ fees, and restitution to the victim.
Cases involving personal gains greater than $100,000 are likely not eligible for suspended sentences, probation, early release, or pardon.
Possible Legal Defenses to Fraud
Hiring an attorney is the most efficient and effective way to establish a strategy for your case. There are many defenses your lawyer can use to fight your case in court, including:
- You never intended to defraud someone;
- Your ‘victim’ clearly understood the terms of your agreement;
- You never received any personal gains.
There are other details your attorney can address, such as civil rights violations you suffered during the arrest or while in custody. He or she can attack so-called forensic data used against you. The possibilities are endless.
Hiring an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney
You do not have to face fraud charges on your own. Consider working with Arja Shah Law. The firm’s founder, Arja Shah, is an aggressive criminal defense attorney with offices in Phoenix, AZ. Clients appreciate her strong advocacy in the courtroom and service-centered approach. You can discuss your case with Ms. Shah by calling (602) 560-7408 or by sending her a message through the firm’s request form.