Is Fraud a Crime?

Is Fraud a Crime?

Being charged with fraud is a serious matter that can have significant consequences for your personal and professional life. If you or someone you know is accused of this white-collar crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Read on to learn the definition of fraud, whether it is a crime, and the different facets of this charge.

What is Fraud?

Fraud is any deception or misrepresentation and concealment of information that results in personal gain and harm to others. While most of these cases are financial, they can also involve property, services, and official favors. This crime can occur in many forms against individuals, companies, or governments.

Is Fraud a Crime?

Yes, fraud is generally considered a felony.

Many such charges in California are felony offenses. The penalties for a felony fraud conviction are severe. Potential outcomes include many years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

However, not all such cases are charged so severely. Some offenses are known as “wobblers,” meaning they can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. In these instances, whether a defendant receives a misdemeanor or felony charge depends on their criminal history and the facts of the case (primarily the value of the fraud).

Some offenses are also considered crimes under federal law. Committing a federal fraud crime can lead to serious penalties and prosecution in state or federal court.

In addition to prison sentences and fines, convictions can also be penalized with:

  • Deportation/removal for immigrants
  • Suspension, revocation, or denial of professional licenses
  • Government seizure of assets obtained through the fraudulent act

Types of Frauds

There are many types of fraud crimes in California. Some of the most common categories of fraud offenses include:

  • Insurance fraud: Occurs when an individual attempts to receive someone else’s insurance payments or benefits. Includes crimes against one’s:
    • Automobile insurance
    • Healthcare insurance
    • Medi-Cal insurance
    • Unemployment insurance
    • Welfare
    • Worker’s compensation
  • Real estate and mortgage fraud: Making deliberate misrepresentations relating to a real estate transaction, including:
    • Foreclosure
    • Deed forgery
    • Predatory lending
    • Illegal property flipping
    • Rent skimming
  • Financial fraud: Obtaining an unjust monetary gain through…
    • Bad checks
    • Credit cards
    • Securities
  • Forgery and identity theft
    • Driver’s license or ID card forgery
    • False impersonation
    • Internet fraud
  • Elder fraud harms:
    • Seniors
    • Nursing homes
  • Miscellaneous fraud related to:
    • Mail
    • Handicapped parking
    • Vehicle registration stickers
    • Gambling
    • Telemarketing

Your Orange County Criminal Defense Team

If you have been accused of fraud in Orange County, you need an experienced lawyer to defend your legal rights. With extensive experience representing clients charged with white-collar crimes throughout California, the Law Office of Salvatore P. Ciulla can provide the legal representation you deserve. Sal Ciulla is knowledgeable about California fraud laws and applicable defenses, such as:

  • No fraudulent intent
  • Mistaken identity
  • Entrapment

To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a complimentary consultation.


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