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Being convicted of or pleading guilty to any type of fraud charge can result in a fine, jail time, probation, and a permanent criminal record. Given that someone may be charged with fraud without even realizing they did anything wrong, such severe potential punishments can be hard pills to swallow.

That is why you should consult with a San Leandro fraud lawyer if you ever find yourself facing this type of charge. Fraud charges require very specific circumstances to be turned into convictions, and a qualified criminal attorney could work with you to contest the prosecution’s allegations that those circumstances apply to your case. En Español.

How Fraud Is Defined By State Law

In California, the term “fraud” refers to a broad range of deceptive acts that result in an unjust benefit for the perpetrator and an otherwise avoidable loss for the victim. In general, fraud occurs when one person intentionally misrepresents or fails to disclose a material fact in order to get another person to do—or not to—something. More specifically, the person committing the fraud must benefit from the misrepresentation or omission.

In order to prove that someone has committed the crime of fraud in California, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, each of the following elements of that crime:

  • The alleged perpetrator intentionally misrepresented an existing material fact to—or withheld an existing material fact from—another person or entity
  • The alleged perpetrator knew or believed that the misrepresentation was important and false or that the omission was important and relevant
  • The other person or entity relied upon the misrepresentation or would have acted differently if they had known about the omission
  • The misrepresentation resulted in an unjust benefit for the alleged perpetrator and an unnecessary loss for the other person or entity

Potential Charges and Consequences

Allegations of fraud in San Leandro are typically filed as some variety of larceny charge under California Penal Code §484, since fraud usually involves taking property or money from another person under false pretenses. There are, however, some types of fraud that are named in independent statutes and automatically result in felony charges. For example, insurance fraud is specifically addressed in CPC §550.

Regardless of whether the charge is brought as a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction or a guilty plea can result in a fine, jail time, and/or probation. In many cases, it will also lead to a permanent criminal record that may negatively affect your ability to obtain or retain certain types of professional licenses, rent property, or obtain a job.

Finally, because most fraud offenses are considered to be crimes of moral turpitude in California, a fraud conviction can subject even a legal resident alien to removal or deportation. In order to avoid any of these potential consequences, it may be critical for you to retain a San Leandro fraud lawyer to help you with your defense.

Possible Defenses to Fraud Offenses

Although the specific defense strategy utilized in a given case generally depends on the applicable facts and circumstances, there are several defenses that are often employed in this type of case. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The alleged perpetrator did not intend to make the alleged misrepresentation or omission
  • The alleged misrepresentation or omission was not material or important
  • The alleged perpetrator did not obtain any benefit from the misrepresentation or omission
  • The victim did not suffer any loss as a result of the alleged misrepresentation or omission
  • The alleged perpetrator was enticed or lured into committing the fraud by law enforcement authorities

A fraud lawyer in San Leandro could work with you to determine whether any of these defenses could be successfully applied to your case. Regardless, your attorney could ensure your rights are respected at every stage of the process.

How a San Leandro Fraud Attorney Help

If you were charged with any type of fraud—or even if you were questioned by law enforcement officials about a situation that could lead to such charges—you should discuss the details of your case with a San Leandro fraud lawyer as soon as possible. Doing so could ensure that all your legal rights are fully protected and that your attorney can take full advantage of whatever options there are to defend you.

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