A conviction for fraudulent crimes could have serious consequences. It could mean losing your career and reputation and potentially acquiring hefty fines and prison time.
If you are facing accusations and considering your defense options, a Mount Pleasant fraud lawyer could provide you with experienced counsel every step of the way. A dedicated criminal defense attorney could work with you to best represent your interests in a damaging criminal defense case.
What are the Elements of Fraud?
Fraud is a crime of dishonesty. Under South Carolina Code §16-13-230, fraud could be charged when someone deceives another for personal gain. There are many different elements that must be present when an individual alleges the charge against another in Mount Pleasant. These include a misrepresentation of and intent to falsify fact, a belief in that misrepresentation, and damages that occur as a result.
The first element of fraud is the misrepresentation of a material fact, also known as a breach of trust. For example, if a real estate seller states that a house did not need any repairs knowing that the roof needed to be replaced, they would be selling a home-based upon a misrepresented material fact.
Intent to Falsify
Fraud can only be alleged if it is committed by someone who knowingly falsifies material facts. Referring to the above example, if the seller was not aware that the roof needed repairs, they would not be fraudulent in proposing that the house was in good condition.
To charge fraud, the deceit must have been believed by a person or entity. For example, if an investor justifiably relies on a stockbroker’s misrepresentation of an investment’s financial information, the stockbroker could be criminally liable.
There also must be definite damage resulting from the reliance on the wrongdoer’s false representation. If no harm is apparent, fraud may not be charged. A fraud legal representative in Mount Pleasant could examine an individual’s allegations based on these elements and inform them of the validity of the claims against them.
Types of Fraud in Mount Pleasant
Fraud is a broad umbrella term for theft, typically by deception. In South Carolina, there are many different types, including bank, credit card, identity theft, insurance, mortgage, and wire fraud.
- Bank: When a person uses fraudulent or deceptive practices to defraud a bank, or its customers, they could be charged with bank fraud.
- Credit card: When someone uses another person’s card without the owner’s permission, it could constitute as credit card fraud.
- Identity theft: This offense occurs when one person fraudulently obtains the personal information of someone else, such as their name or birth date, to gain credit or access to the victim’s financial account.
- Insurance: This offense involves filing a fraudulent insurance claim for an event such as a house fire that was staged or is dishonest about the number of damages sustained.
- Mortgage: When individuals use false information to obtain a mortgage from a financial lending institution, they can face charges of mortgage fraud.
- Wire: Any time electronic communications, such as a smartphone or computer, are used to defraud someone out of property or money, it is considered wire fraud.
These are just a few of the most common types. Anyone facing these or other fraud charges should speak to a legal advisor as soon as possible.
What are the Penalties for Fraud Offenses?
Due to the fact that fraud is such a varied offense, there are many different possible penalties for those convicted in Mount Pleasant. The specific penalty will depend on the type committed. Upon conviction, defendants may have to pay fines, serve time in jail, and sometimes have to pay restitution to victims.
Some types of fraud are also considered federal offenses. These include mail, tax, wire, and more. These cases are heard in federal court and convicted individuals may face even harsher penalties, including longer jail sentences.
Reach Out to a Mount Pleasant Fraud Attorney Today
If you were accused of fraud, your personal and professional reputation may be at stake. A Mount Pleasant fraud lawyer could help you restore your reputation and pursue relief from your charges. They could go up against your accusers and help you develop a strategy for your defense. Contact an attorney today to discuss your next step to defend your rights.