Fraud is one of the most well-known white-collar crimes. But there are many types of fraud, all of which can lead to criminal charges and severe penalties.
Fraud occurs when a person commits a wrongful act intended to create an unfair (usually monetary) benefit and cause harm to someone else.
Fraud allegations are serious, and a conviction carries severe penalties, including hefty fines and years of jail time. Fraud charges cover a wide range of criminal activity, and the specific type of fraud a person will be charged with depends on the nature of the criminal activity, the type of property at issue, and its value. Here are four types of fraud that are commonly charged in Colorado.
Insurance fraud occurs when a person “intentionally provid[es] false statements or false documentation to an insurance company in the claims process.”
Other examples of insurance fraud include misappropriating insurance premium payments, creating false insurance certificates, staging a fake car accident to collect insurance proceeds, or intentionally causing an accident to obtain money damages in a car insurance claim.
Lying on an insurance application is a class 1 misdemeanor. Other types of fraud are charged as a class 5 felony.
Money laundering occurs when someone participates in financial activity intended to conceal or promote illegal activity. It often occurs in conjunction with other criminal activity, such as selling drugs or buying stolen goods.
Identity theft occurs when someone knowingly and intentionally uses someone else’s personal information to make a financial payment or tampers with a financial device for financial gain.
The most common example of identity theft is using stolen information to apply for a credit card. Other examples include buying goods with a stolen credit card or using someone else’s personal information to apply for a loan or open a bank account.
Identity theft is a class 4 felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.
When people think of forgery, they often think of stacks of fake hundred-dollar bills. But a person can be charged with forgery for creating any type of fake document, including forging a Will, an application for unemployment benefits, or tax returns. Even possessing the tools to falsify documents is a crime and can result in prison time and fines of up to $100,000.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with fraud in Colorado, you need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may have various defenses available for certain types of fraud.
Most fraud crimes require that the defendant intended to commit the crime. A common defense is to challenge the element of intent. If your lawyer can negate the intent element, the prosecution cannot prove that you committed fraud.
Fraud charges often arise when someone’s money, property, or identity was stolen. But in today’s marketplace, theft often does not occur face-to-face but instead takes place over the internet.
If you were wrongly identified and charged with fraud, your lawyer will fight to prove that yours was a case of mistaken identity.
Even if the prosecution can prove that you intentionally engaged in fraudulent activity, you may have a valid defense if you were compelled to commit fraud. If a third party pressures you to commit an unlawful act by threatening your well-being or that of your family, you can raise the defense of duress.
Any criminal defense should address the weight and sufficiency of the evidence. To secure a conviction, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor fails to do so—even if there is one element of the crime that they have not proven—a skilled criminal defense lawyer will point out this fact and argue for a Not Guilty verdict.
Fraud can be charged as a state crime, a federal crime, or both. If you have been accused of fraud in Colorado, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney with a proven record of success.
Colorado criminal defense attorney Kevin Cahill has decades of experience defending people accused of financial crimes in state and federal court. He will help you understand the charges against you and the possible penalties. He will develop a plan to fight the charges and argue for a Not Guilty verdict or dismissal of the case against you.
Keven Cahill proudly represents people accused of different types of fraud and other crimes throughout Colorado. In some situations, he can put an end to the investigation before an indictment has been made, saving your reputation and sparing you the embarrassment of a public trial. But when a trial is the only option, attorney Cahill has the skills and experience to mount an aggressive defense and fight to protect your rights.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with fraud in Denver or anywhere in Colorado, contact Kevin Cahill today.