Orange County Fraud Lawyer

What is fraud?

In most situations, you will be accused of violating California's criminal fraud laws anytime that you cause harm or loss to another person, and / or commit an act that results in an unfair or undeserved benefit for yourself. The state of California has consistently ranked among the top states in our country for various types of fraud, and is currently home to three of the top five metropolitan areas in our country with high rates of suspected mortgage fraud. Fraud is usually committed because of a motive of financial gain or a desire to escape criminal culpability, and these crimes are heavily penalized under California law.

Fraud is one of the most high-profile and common white collar crimes committed in California. If you have been accused of fraud, you may be charged with a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Fraud crimes are often referred to as "wobbler crimes" because they can lean either way depending on the facts of the case and your previous criminal history. Certain fraud offenses are automatically felony offenses in California, and other fraud charges are federal crimes that you can be tried for in either a state court or a federal court. With the help of an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer, you can determine what penalties you face for your charges and what defense strategies can be used to fight your charges.

Types of Fraud Charges

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, we understand the serious nature of a criminal arrest and are well-acquainted with the severe penalties associated with fraud charges. Below, we have taken the time to explain some of the most common fraud charges filed in Orange County and throughout California, as well as the penalties that may come as a result of a conviction. Please do not hesitate to call our firm today for legal advice or protection after an arrest.

Insurance Fraud
A person commits insurance fraud when he or she obtains insurance payments or benefits that he or she is not otherwise entitled to. This commonly occurs with auto insurance, where an individual will stage an accident or inflate the price of a claim in order to recover more benefits than they deserve. Health care insurance fraud is also a major crime in California, and anyone from doctors to pharmacists and hospital employees can be involved. Some examples of these insurance fraud violations include charging for medical services that were not provided, receiving kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs, and over-billing for services rendered. If you have violated California's Medi-Cal insurance fraud laws in any way, you may be simultaneously guilty of violating California's health care system as well.

Another common type of insurance fraud involves unemployment insurance laws. It is strictly prohibited to attempt to increase, reduce, or deny an unemployment insurance benefit, and examples of this include collecting benefits in two or more states or intentionally providing false information about why an attorney was terminated. You may also be accused of fraud for violating California's workers' compensation laws or welfare laws.

Check & Credit Card Fraud
Thousands of people take money that isn't rightfully theirs through check fraud or credit card fraud on a yearly basis. Any time you make, use, or possess a check with the intent to defraud the payee, you will commit California check fraud. Credit card fraud happens when a fraudulent transaction is made or attempted with respect to a credit or debit card. Some of the common examples of credit card debt in Orange County include using another person's card without their authorization, or using your own card while knowing that it has been expired or revoked. Statistics show that 10% of Americans say they have been the victims of credit card fraud, and federal crime agencies are constantly on the lookout for potential suspects.

Real Estate & Mortgage Fraud
It is illegal in California to punish any deliberately false representation made in connection with any portion of a real estate transaction. One of the most frequently prosecuted types of fraud in this area is foreclosure fraud, which is essentially any fraudulent activity relating to a foreclosed home or a home that is in the foreclosure process. If you have filed a forged deed or attempted to register or record a forged deed, you may end up facing serious criminal charges.

Many people are unaware that property flipping, a common practice in California, can be a crime if it is done illegally. Illegal property flipping happens when you loan documents to justify an inflated asking price or when you create fraudulent appraisals for property you are trying to sell. Landlords can also be guilty of rent skimming, which is typically a civil offense unless you engage in this activity with five or more properties in a two-year period.

Call Now for Tough Defense

Regardless of the specific type of fraud crime you have been accused of, you must take action to protect your rights and your future from the possibility of a conviction. Fraud offenses will typically result in professional license suspension or revocation, and are also considered to be crimes of moral turpitude in the state of California. This means that even legal resident aliens will be subject to deportation or removal if they are convicted. The government has the power to seize any property or money that was involved in the fraudulent activity, and you will likely face other penalties such as jail time or costly fines.

Contact an Orange County white collar crimes lawyer at our firm as soon as you learn of your charges so that we can start to investigate your case and protect your rights immediately.