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A fraud conviction can lead to severe penalties. Not only could you be forced to pay substantial fines, but you could also be sentenced to incarceration in a county jail or state prison facility, loss of your right to own a firearm as a convicted felon, and a criminal record that may impact your ability to get a job or a mortgage for the rest of your life. Typically labeled as white-collar crimes, fraud involves the use of deceit to gain something of value from another person or entity. There are occasions, however, where simple or honest mistakes can sometimes lead to a fraud charge. Regardless of why you were charged with fraud, the penalties can be severe so it is wise to enlist the help of a fraud attorney at the earliest stage of your investigation.

No matter the type of fraud charge you are facing, you could benefit from the counsel of an experienced Richmond fraud lawyer. A fraud attorney in Richmond could look at the circumstances and details that led to your charges to build a defense strategy that is tailored to your case. At The Nieves Law Firm, we understand California’s fraud laws and can work with you to find a solution to your fraud charges. Call our team today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.

 What Constitutes a Fraud Crime? Fraud vs Theft

Fraud and theft are similar crimes that deprive another person of their property. In this context, property can include anything of value.

Fraud is a deliberate form of deceit, used with the intention of gaining something of value from another person or entity for your own benefit. Some examples of fraud include forgery, insurance fraud, embezzlement, and workers’ compensation fraud.

Theft, on the other hand, occurs when an individual takes something from another person or company without their expressed consent. Unlike fraud, theft does not require the use of deceit. Some common examples of theft are petty theft, grand theft auto, and burglary.

However, it is important to note that some fraud crimes can be charged as theft. For example, embezzlement could be charged as petty theft (P.C. 488) or grand theft (P.C. 487).

Fraud crimes can often be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature of the offense, the victim of the fraud, and the value of the misappropriated funds or property. If the crime is charged as a misdemeanor, a conviction could include penalties include of up to a year in county jail and relevant fines and restitution. If  the charge results  in a felony conviction the offender can face lengthy prison sentences, restitution, and substantial fines in the tens of thousands.

In almost all cases of theft or fraud, a conviction will also result in the person convicted of the fraud repaying restitution as outlined above.  This is reimbursement of the property loss to the victim of the crime.  It can also include other items that are substantially related to the crime like lost wages, replacing equipment or property, recruitment efforts to hire a new employee, and therapy.

Penalties for Fraud in Richmond

Individuals facing fraud charges in Richmond should be aware of the potential consequences they could face if convicted.  The potential penalties  vary based on the specific crime of which they are convicted, and the amount of property illegally obtained.

Insurance fraud (P.C. 550), for example, is a wobbler and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the crime is charged as a misdemeanor, penalties include up to one year in county jail and a $10,000 fine. If the charge results in a felony conviction, the penalties could include up to 5 years in jail and a fine of $50,000 or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater.

Similarly, forgery is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The crime of forgery occurs when a person with the intent to defraud:

  • signs the name of another person or a fictitious name to an items such as, but not limited to, a check, bond, cashier’s check, money order, promissory note, or power of attorney
  • counterfeits or forges the seal or handwriting of another
  • alters a will or conveyance, or judgment of a court
  • makes, alters, forges, utters, attempts to pass as true items such as, but not limited to, a check, bond, cashier’s check, money order, promissory note, or power of attorney

If forgery is charged as a misdemeanor, an individual could face up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. As a felony, forgery is punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Keep in mind, a felony conviction can result in the loss of your right to own a firearm and could potentially impact your employment and professional licensing options in the future. That is why it is so important to contact a Richmond fraud attorney if you are facing criminal charges. They could look at the details of your case and work with you to determine the best course of action moving forward.

Contact a Richmond Fraud Attorney

A fraud charge is often accompanied by serious penalties, including jail time and hefty fines. That is why it is so important that you hire a skilled attorney if you are facing fraud charges. A Richmond fraud lawyer at The Nieves Law Firm can work with you to build a strategy for your case. Call The Nieves Law Firm today to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with a member of our team.

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The Nieves Law Firm is dedicated to providing aggressive criminal defense representation to working professionals who have found themselves in trouble with the law. We show up to win, and we’re not afraid to fight aggressively to accomplish our client’s goals.

We understand that being accused of a crime can be a scary and confusing experience. That’s why we take the stress off our clients by handling the full scope of their legal situation from the initial consultation to the final outcome. Our bilingual attorneys and staff are here to ensure that our clients feel heard and understood every step of the way.

As one of the largest criminal defense teams in Oakland and the Greater Bay Area, we have the resources and experience to handle even the most complex cases. Our experienced team examines various aspects of your case and, perhaps most importantly, we genuinely care about our clients and their future. We take the time to learn about their goals and priorities so that we can achieve an outcome that allows them to move past their mistakes and focus on the future they want. When you work with us, you become part of our team.

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From the moment you reach out to us, we prioritize your well-being and legal interests. Our criminal lawyers are with you every step of the way, from arrest to hearings and beyond, to ensure that your rights are protected. Whether you’re facing charges related to DUI, drug offenses, assault, sex crimes or any other allegation, we have the knowledge and courtroom experience to fight vigorously on your behalf.

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