Los Angeles Fraud Defense Lawyers
Criminal fraud covers a wide range of activities. The person charged with fraud could be facing a conviction on insider trading, pyramid schemes or other crimes involving the manipulation of investments. Fraud can cover tax evasion, money laundering, or the illegal use of the mail. Credit cards and healthcare billing are areas where fraud charges can be levied.
In short, anything that involves obtaining financial gain through cheating falls under the umbrella of criminal fraud. Therefore, the penalties for those convicted can be just as wide-ranging. The person who uses someone else’s credit card to go on a weeklong vacation will certainly suffer consequences–but not as severe as those imposed on the person convicted of swindling millions from people in a stock fraud.
One thing everyone accused of fraud has in common though, is the need for a rigorous legal defense. Even so-called “low-level fraud” can come with life-changing consequences for the accused that include prison time. The good news is that prosecutors have a high burden of proof to meet when making fraud charges and there are several viable defense strategies available.
Put your legal strategy in the hands of a Los Angeles-area fraud defense lawyer from our office. Call us today at (818) 918-5838 or contact us online.
Common Defenses Against Fraud Charges
Mistaken Identity: What if it really wasn’t you that committed fraud? Identity theft is a serious business and there are people who are exceptionally skilled at making themselves appear to be someone else.
For example, what if a scammer goes through your garbage and finds bank statements. They, or their associates, have the ability to use the account numbers to hack in and access your account. This account is close to defunct–you really don’t use it anymore. The hacker can see that you rarely, if ever, check this account. They begin a fundraising campaign for anything ranging from a sick child to the investment opportunity of a lifetime. Your account becomes the end point of where the money goes.
Eventually, authorities get wise, the hackers take the money and close the account. They’re in the wind, and you’re the one left holding the proverbial bag.
Bank statements are just one way identity theft can be executed. A stolen Social Security number could offer a fraudster even more ways to impersonate you. Your attorney can help you fight the charges on the grounds of mistaken identity. If a lot of money was made by these means, you might be able to demonstrate your lifestyle did not change in any way that indicated you were stealing money.
Duress: Sometimes, good people are in the wrong place at the wrong time. A white-collar criminal ring identifies someone they want to use as a “front” for fraudulent financial schemes. Threats are made to force them to participate. Under these circumstances, duress is a legitimate defense.
It will still take some good work from your legal team to establish this. By pleading duress, a person is essentially acknowledging that yes, they committed the illegal acts. Proof of the duress will have to be demonstrated. The jury will need to be persuaded that a reasonable person would have considered the threat legitimate
Furthermore, it must be shown that the harm threatened was greater than the harm done to the victims of the fraud. For example, participating in a scheme that defrauds the elderly of their pensions on the grounds that someone threatened to key your car won’t cut it. But a fraudster showing you pictures of your children at school with an unspoken threat of kidnapping or murder? Now we’ve got duress.
Both of these defense strategies presume one thing though–that the prosecution has met its burden of proof that fraud was committed, and it was done in your name. This alone is no easy bar to hurdle. In criminal cases, a jury must be persuaded of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
That means fraud defense lawyers can and should go to work asking how the prosecution obtained their evidence. Did they have a search warrant to check your bank account? Was there reasonable grounds for getting that warrant? Are there other possible explanations that a reasonable person would believe? This is the prosecution’s responsibility to do. It’s the defense’s responsibility to make them.
Shevin Law Group takes this responsibility and all other responsibilities in a fraud defense very much to heart. The freedom, future and good name of our clients depends on it. Our society depends on everyone getting a fair trial where high burdens of proof must be met. We’ve been fighting for the accused in the Los Angeles area for nearly thirty years.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to call us today at (818) 918-5838 or to contact us online to set up an initial consultation.
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