Fraud is a general category of criminal offenses under state law, all of which involve intentional dishonesty or deception designed to receive a financial benefit. Fraud usually results in others losing money or property of value.
The consequences of a fraud conviction can be severe. Individuals found guilty of this crime can face significant repercussions, including incarceration, fines, and a permanent criminal record. Working with an Atlanta fraud lawyer who could fight for your rights in and out of court may be the most effective way to protect your interests.
While the nature of fraud offenses may vary widely, each type involves dishonesty to obtain money or something of value from others unlawfully. The goal of most fraud offenses is personal financial gain. The misrepresentation or deception involved in fraud offenses might include making false statements, withholding information, or failing to correct miscommunications or misunderstandings.
Fraud can involve small or large amounts of money or property. Some fraud operations are widespread and can involve thousands or millions of dollars, such as money laundering. Other fraud offenses may be simple and concern only a few hundred dollars, such as writing bad checks.
The type of fraud, the extent of the financial losses to third parties, and other factors determine the severity of the charges and the penalties for a fraud conviction. Consulting a fraud lawyer in the area to determine available options for resolving these charges may be highly beneficial.
One common type of fraud is forgery. Under the Official Georgia Code Annotated § 16-9-1, an individual commits forgery when they create, change, or possess any writing in a fictitious name or the name of others without their permission and with the intention to defraud others. Some examples of forgery might include writing checks using a fictitious name or account, writing checks on the accounts of others without their consent, or filling out false credit applications.
State law provides for four different degrees of forgery that differ in severity and penalties. Some relevant factors include whether the forgery involves checks, the value of the forged checks, and the type of forgery that occurred. A person can face incarceration for up to 15 years for first-degree fraud charges.
Bank transactions are another common source of fraud. These transactions can involve bank accounts, debit and credit cards, and checks. For example, Georgia law prohibits deposit account fraud, which occurs when an individual writes checks drawn from a closed account or one that does not contain sufficient funds.
Similarly, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-33 governs financial transaction card fraud. An individual commits this offense if they purposely use a debit or credit card belonging to another to purchase items or services without authorization. This offense also occurs when a person deliberately uses forged, canceled, or expired debit or credit cards. A local fraud attorney may assist in defense of someone accused of deposit account or financial transaction card fraud.
Some types of fraud fall under the broader category of theft under state law. For example, Georgia law outlaws theft by deception. This offense occurs when a person uses fraudulent or deceptive means to take property belonging to another.
Similarly, O.C.G.A. § 16-8-4 deals with theft by conversion or embezzlement. This offense typically involves an individual who uses their job or position to misappropriate someone else’s funds for their personal financial gain.
Avoiding the unwanted consequences of a fraud conviction is not always an easy task. You may need a skilled and experienced Atlanta fraud lawyer to assist with your defense. Together, you could work to minimize your exposure to the penalties of a fraud conviction.
Obtaining legal representation at the outset of your case could give you the best chance of achieving a positive outcome. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.