When Does a Fraud Case Require an Attorney?

Published 10/09/20 by Admin


Fraud is a term that encompasses an intentionally dishonest act that aims to deprive another person of something. In most cases, it involves the illegal use and deprivation of money, property or even an identity. It is different from theft, which involves the act of taking something by physical force. Fraud, on the other hand, can be perpetrated through other means.

What is a Fraud Crime?

In a case of fraud, a person commits an act that is not only immoral and harmful to the victim, but also illegal. There are criminal acts of fraud that are perpetrated every single day. For example, identity theft and credit card theft are crimes that fall under the category of fraud. When a person commits a fraudulent crime, they are seeking to deliberately take something away from another person and deprive that person of it.

At the same time, it’s important to note that merely committing a fraudulent act does not automatically equal a criminal act. For instance, if a person under the age of 21 obtained a fake driver’s license that says they are older than their actual age, it is a fraudulent act but not necessarily a crime.

If a person commits a fraud crime, they can be arrested and charged if caught. They will also face fines and even a potential sentence to serve jail or prison time. Victims may seek financial compensation if they file a civil lawsuit as well.

Elements of Fraud

business fraud

In order for a victim to be able to win a civil fraud lawsuit, they must have suffered damages. If the defendant merely attempted to perpetrate a fraudulent act against them but was unsuccessful because the fraud was discovered before any damage was done, the case would be thrown out. There are certain elements that make up a fraud crime that the prosecution is required to prove in the case. Fraud crimes can also be prosecuted both criminally and civilly, which means if a person is convicted, they can face not only prison and fines but must compensate the victim as well.

The elements of fraud include the following:

  • Misrepresentation of a material fact: A false statement must have been made that involved a material fact. That statement must be severe enough to seriously affect the victim’s actions and decisions.
  • Knowledge of falsehood: The defendant must have known they were making a false statement.
  • Intent to deceive: There must have been an intent to deceive when the false statement was made.
  • Reasonable reliance by the victim: The victim must have relied on the false statement to a significant degree.
  • Actual loss or injury suffered: The victim must have suffered some type of actual loss directly due to the false statement and their dependence on it.

Penalties for Fraud

In general, penalties for fraud can be severe depending on the specific crime. They usually include a prison sentence or probation, hefty fines and repayment for their fraudulent gains.

Depending on the severity of the crime, a conviction for fraud can result in a prison sentence as little as six months or as long as 30 years. A fine can be significant in some cases. For example, if a person is convicted of mail fraud, they may face fines as high as $250,000 for each violation.

If the fraud crime affected multiple victims or large amounts of money were stolen, a fine can even run into the tens of millions of dollars region or even higher.

How Can an Attorney Help?

If you have been arrested and are being investigated for criminal fraud in Ohio, it is imperative that you have a criminal defense attorney in Cleveland Ohio on your side. A criminal attorney in Cleveland can use their expertise to build a strong defense that can help your case. A Cleveland Ohio criminal defense attorney knows the ins and outs of the legal system and how to defend you against the fraud charges.

Barr Jones & Associates LLP is there for you when you need them. Contact their office to discuss your case with an experienced Cleveland OH criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. Retaining a criminal defense attorney in Cleveland is your best chance to have the charges against you reduced or, potentially, even dropped.