In New Jersey law, fraud is a misrepresentation of a fact by deception (mistruth) or omission (failing to include essential facts) when representing something that causes someone to reasonably believe in that fact. The law requires that the fact be material or necessary to whatever is being represented. With the various types of fraud offenses that exist and the ease with which people often unsuspectingly walk into committing fraud crimes, it is exceedingly important to understand what you have been accused of in a fraud case, the elements of the particular offense, the penalties and consequences you face if ultimately found guilty, and the defense approaches that may be used to your benefit.
Our seasoned criminal defense lawyers with offices in Union County, NJ, fight fraud charges using all of our knowledge and decades of combined experience handling criminal charges against our clients across the state of New Jersey. We have the know-how and the commitment to help you successfully navigate the criminal justice process if you have been charged with fraud in Clark, Union Township, Westfield, Rahway, Roselle, Elizabeth, or another town in the greater Central Jersey area. Contact our local office in Cranford for a free consultation today. We encourage you to seek answers and advice from our experienced fraud attorneys by sending us a message, filling out our convenient form, or calling us directly at (908) 838-0150.
Types of Fraud Crimes in New Jersey
Wherever one can derive a benefit from falsifying documents or impersonating another, there is a potential for fraud. And the gains are not only monetary. For example, forging prescriptions to get pharmaceuticals is a fraud that pays with drugs, often to feed an addiction. The media used to deceive for money, drugs, or other gains can be the internet, wire, mail, airwaves, written documents, or other transmission methods. New Jersey prosecutes a broad range of fraud crimes. Particularly, when accused of fraud you may be charged with and prosecuted for:
It can be much easier to commit fraud than one would otherwise think. In fact, people run into trouble with the law based on very real mistakes or misunderstandings on a regular basis.
Bank Fraud Charges
For example, if you applied for a loan from a bank and wrote in the application that you made $60,000.00 a year when you make $55,000.00 a year, the difference may not seem significant. However, when the bank relies on the truth of your statement to lend money that they expect you to pay back, it is a material misrepresentation of fact. Your signature certifying that the information on the application is correct is meant to cause the bank to rely on your representation. However, you could have miscalculated your annual income based on your gross monthly payments, and missed it by $5,000.00. That may not amount to fraud as the applicant did not intend for the bank to rely on an inflated income statement to obtain the loan. Of course, bank fraud is only one type of deception.
Consumer Fraud Offenses
Victims call them scammers, cheats, frauds, imposters, or con artists. They call, text, or email with the latest scheme to obtain personal and financial information. Those feeble attempts to lure their prey with bait about winning large sums of money or helping someone out with a small loan from a stranger are transparent to most people. But other attempts to make someone buy a product or invest in an opportunity may not be so obviously a scam. There may be a fine line between exaggerating the benefits of a new facial cream, an investment in a novel currency, or an opportunity to make money with the latest multilevel marketing business and fraudulent misrepresentation.
New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud laws protect buyers of goods and real estate from false advertising and other means of unlawfully obtaining funds from consumers. And no matter what your profession or station in life, fraud opportunities abound. For example, suppose you are a medical professional who has access to billing insurance companies. In that case, you can be charged with healthcare fraud if you overbill to gain advantages for yourself or others.
Internet Fraud Crimes
Probably the most accessible vehicle for fraud is the most popular medium. Internet crimes are rampant across social media, email, or any form of networking using computers or other devices for online communication. An individual may commit internet fraud to obtain funds, real property, intellectual property, or anything of value. Those committing fraud may acquire or use false identities, credit card information, hacking, sex, or child pornography to obtain or extort funds. Moreover, internet fraud commonly involves other crimes such as theft by deception, endangering the welfare of a child, or extortion, which compounds the penalties for the convicted.
Serious NJ Penalties for Fraud Charges
The penalties for fraud are significant: prison, fines, probation, and restitution. In essence, the specific type of crime and the amount of benefit obtained determines the penalties in a given case. The prison term and fines increase as the value of theft, damages, or multiple offenses rise. For example, if you committed insurance fraud, you would likely go to prison for three to five years and pay $15,000.00 in fines for a third degree crime. However, if you are convicted for your fifth insurance fraud incident, in all totaling $1,000.00 or more, you could be sentenced to ten years for a second degree crime.
In another example, mail fraud convictions may land you in prison for 30 years with a million-dollar fine. Suppose you use the United States postal service to solicit money or information with a false representation. In that case, you could suffer significant penalties and be forced to pay those you deceived for their losses in restitution before you can free yourself of the judicial system.
Perhaps the most significant penalty of a fraud crime conviction is the lasting effects of a criminal record. Employers, business venturers, investors, housing authorities, and personal relations may not trust you when you have a fraud conviction on your record. That can mean immeasurable financial and personal loss. Therefore, you want to be sure that you minimize your chances of fraud conviction by retaining talented, highly competent representation for your defense.
Get a Free Consultation with Fraud Crime Attorneys in Elizabeth NJ
If you or a loved one has been arrested for fraud, contact our Union County criminal law office for immediate assistance in a free consultation. Your attorney’s role is to help you defend yourself and make sure you are not bullied or taken advantage of by the state and their agents, like the prosecutor. You may not have intended to commit fraud, make errors that others relied on to their detriment, or deceive someone who did not get harmed. We may be able to use those facts as leverage for a better sentence or to dismiss the case against you for insufficient facts to support a fraud charge.
Depending on the particular facts and evidence in your fraud case, our lawyers use what we know to work toward the best possible outcome. In some cases, we may be able to cause some, if not all, of the charges against you to go away for other reasons like the prosecution’s discreditable witnesses. The rules of evidence require that a prosecutor can use only legally obtained evidence in a court of law. If the police did not lawfully obtain the evidence used against you, the prosecutor might not be able to make their case against you.
You might ask your attorney to explain your charges and how fraud is defined in New Jersey. What if you misrepresented unintentionally, say, passing on the information your boss or someone else gave you that turned out to be false? What about a person who was deceived but did not lose anything by the deception? What if you made a mistake and did not intend to mislead anyone? We can answer these questions and more in a free consultation. Speak to an attorney to discuss these and more issues involving your fraud charges by contacting (908) 838-0150 today.
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