Fraud can occur in many ways and bring serious consequences. If the police accuse you of fraud, you must take the allegations seriously.

Call our criminal defense attorneys if you face any fraud charges in Folsom. Formerly prosecutors, we now dedicate our practice to protecting people’s rights and defending their freedom.

A Folsom fraud lawyer is who the good guys call when they get in trouble. Call 916-237-8270 or contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.

Types of Fraud

Criminal fraud is a white-collar crime that occurs when someone, through deception or deceit, gains an undeserved personal benefit — usually money — at someone else’s expense.

Financial Fraud

Financial fraud involves stealing money through trickery or other manipulation. Some common examples include:

  • Identity theft where personal information is stolen to open accounts and rack up debt
  • Credit card fraud (PC §484e–484j) where purchases are made with stolen card numbers
  • Investment scams, where people are lured into fake high-return schemes that disappear with their money

Financial fraud can also occur if someone creates false checks (PC §476), alters real ones, or forges someone’s name to gain a benefit. Securities fraud is also a financial crime.

Insurance Fraud

When someone attempts to claim insurance payments wrongfully, they can be charged with insurance fraud (PC §550). Insurance fraud can occur in several ways, such as:

  • Faking a car accident, staging vandalism, or reporting a stolen car that was not stolen
  • Healthcare professionals billing for services never rendered
  • Patients who doctor-shop to get prescriptions for controlled drugs
  • Falsifying job records to claim unemployment benefits
  • Employers who falsely claim an employee was terminated to avoid paying higher insurance

Real Estate Fraud

California’s bustling real estate market presents many opportunities for fraud, such as:

  • Rent-skimming (Civil Code § 890) in the first year of owning a property
  • Forging a deed or inspection paperwork
  • Lying about the condition of a property, square footage, or ownership status
  • Hiding structural problems, environmental hazards, or pest infestations

More complex scams such as Ponzi schemes can also lure investors with promises of high returns through nonexistent rental income or property flips.

Fraud Against the Elderly

Criminals often target vulnerable older people and lure them into financial traps through:

  • Telemarketing scams: Phony offers for high-return investments, prize winnings, or tech support
  • Home repair scams: Predatory contractors promise home improvements, charging exorbitant fees for shoddy work or nonexistent services
  • Grandparent scams: Impostors call, posing as a grandchild in need of emergency financial help
  • Social Security scams: Threats of suspending benefits and tricking the elderly into revealing sensitive data

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud involves using the U.S. postal service to defraud someone through schemes like:

  • Phishing scams: Official-looking letters or emails claiming urgent action needed, often related to taxes, bills, or prizes
  • Lottery scams: Unsolicited winning notifications for non-existent lotteries lure victims into paying fake “processing fees”
  • Fake check scams: Convincing but bogus checks tempt recipients into depositing them, leaving them on the hook for the money
  • Charity scams: Heartfelt pleas for fake charities or exaggerated claims about the impact of donations exploit people’s generosity

Mail fraud can be charged as a federal crime since the postal service operates under the federal government.

Penalties for Fraud in California

Fraud is a wobbler crime in California. Prosecutors can charge you with either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the details of the alleged offense.

Regardless of the level of charge, the state will confiscate any money or property acquired through fraud. A fraud defense lawyer in Folsom will ensure you fully understand the charges against you and the possible penalties.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Fraud Charges

Many fraud crimes are charged like theft, which means the charge level you face is influenced by the value of the money or property allegedly taken. For misdemeanor fraud (involving amounts less than $950), you face up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. You also may be sentenced to probation, community service, and restitution.

Since fraud often involves wrongfully taking large amounts of money, it is more often charged as a felony. A felony conviction can carry years in jail and fines of $10,000 and up to $50,000. These offenses typically have multiple options for prison sentences based on the statute, often between two and five years. Similar to misdemeanors, you may face additional penalties such as probation and restitution.

Defenses to Fraud Charges in Folsom

Working with a fraud defense lawyer in Folsom is crucial to avoiding the harshest penalties when facing fraud charges. Just because you’re arrested doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted.

Your attorney will investigate the case against you to build a strong defense strategy, which might include:

  • Lack of intent; you did not intend to commit fraud; for instance, if you believed you had permission to use someone’s credit card
  • Mistaken identity; you were not involved
  • Entrapment: The police pressured you into doing something you wouldn’t have done otherwise
  • Rights violations: Evidence seized in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights can’t be used against you

We can also provide defenses to specific types of fraud charges. For example, if you’re charged with identity theft, you can prove the stolen information was not used by you or that you were a victim of identity theft yourself. Or, if you were charged with insurance fraud, you can provide evidence showing that you did not intentionally exaggerate your claim or fake an injury.

No matter what type of fraud charge you face, our defense attorneys will uniquely address the allegations against you and work hard for the best possible outcome.

Call A Fraud Attorney in Folsom Today

When you are charged with fraud for the first time, you need an attorney who will fight to clear your name and do what they can to help you avoid a conviction. Don’t answer police questions until you speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

Fraud charges are serious and carry jail time and fines if convicted. Working with a fraud defense lawyer provides the best chance to retain the freedoms you enjoyed before the arrest.

Call 916-237-8270 today or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Protect Your Future

Contact a Folsom Criminal Defense Attorney Today