Fraud Defense Lawyer in Birmingham, AL

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Fraud in Alabama

If you have been accused of fraud in Alabama, contact a fraud defense lawyer as soon as possible. Fraud cases can be quite complex, and likely outcomes are only possible to predict after a thorough review of all evidence. A white collar attorney may be able to challenge evidence presented by the prosecution and get your charges reduced or dismissed. It is important to understand the different types of fraud and the penalties you could be facing if convicted of a criminal charge.

Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.

Fraud and Forgery

Many cases of fraud also involve forgery. Forgery is just one type of fraud and involves making, altering, passing, or unauthorized signing of a financial or legal document. Forgery involves the intent to commit fraud or to “defraud” an individual or corporate entity. Fraud includes wide range of acts such as the following:

  • Insurance fraud
  • Food stamps or welfare fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Unauthorized use of a credit card
  • Depositing a fake check
  • Forging a signature without permission
  • Writing a bad check
  • Cashing stolen checks

If you forge another person’s name on a written instrument or attempt to cash a check with a fraudulent signature, you may be found guilty of forgery. It is possible to be charged with forgery even if you did not sign a check that wasn’t yours.

For example, if a friend gave you a check they had endorsed in another person’s name with no legal authority to do, you may be charged with forgery if you attempt to cash the check. You could potentially even be charged as an accomplice if you were with a person who forges a written instrument or attempts to cash a forged check.

Fraud is not only a crime but is also an “intentional tort” which means that you may be sued in civil court for acts that would constitute fraud. If you are charged with a crime involving the intent to commit fraud, the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, including your intent to commit the crime.

If your acts were a result of an honest mistake, it is unlikely that you will be convicted of a crime of fraud since you lacked criminal intent.

Government Benefits Fraud

When you apply for government benefits, your statements on any official documents are considered sworn statements. This means that you must furnish complete and accurate information to the best of your knowledge. Supplying false information is much worse than, for example, lying on a job application.

If you are caught making a false statement to obtain government benefits unlawfully, you may not only be required to pay back any benefits you received–you may be subject to prosecution for a serious crime.

Even if you were honest on your application, you must still comply with rules and regulations regarding SNAP benefits. You are not allowed to transfer or sell your benefits and must report any changes in income and members of your household when required to do so.

Under Investigation for Benefits Fraud?

If you have received a food stamp investigation letter, it is a good idea to speak to a food stamp fraud lawyer about how to respond. An investigation letter does not necessarily mean that you will be charged with a crime. In some cases, you will only need to supply further information. If you have any questions about an investigation letter, an attorney can advise you regarding the next best steps in your case.

If you believe that someone else fraudulently used your identity to obtain food stamps, you may need to report the identity theft to local law enforcement. However, if you think that you could in any way be implicated in a benefits fraud case based on someone else’s actions, speak to a SNAP benefits fraud attorney first.

Sentencing for Fraud Crimes

The sentence that you may receive for a financial crime will depend on the seriousness level of the offense. If you cashed a hot check that was from your own account you may only be facing misdemeanor charges with a potential sentence of fines and time in jail. If you are accused of a more serious charge such as wire fraud or mail fraud, you could be facing a lengthy federal prison sentence.

There are often alternatives to prison if you are charged with felony forgery or another crime that involves the intent to defraud. If you do not have a lengthy criminal history on your record and the state has enough evidence against you to prove the case, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain for you to be on supervised probation for a term of years.

If you are placed on probation, you will need to report to a supervising officer and follow all conditions of your probation which includes paying fines and costs. Revocation of your probation could result in you being sentenced to jail or prison.

A conviction for forgery or fraud often involves restitution to any victims. Restitution is intended to compensate any person who suffered a financial loss or destruction of property as a result of a crime. Payments of restitution may be agreed upon as part of a plea bargain.

In some cases where the state has evidence of your guilt, such as camera footage of you committing the crime or multiple witness statements, agreeing to pay restitution may help prevent you from receiving a harsh sentence such as time in prison.

Reach Out to an Experienced Fraud Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a financial crime, speak to a defense lawyer with Alabama Criminal Lawyers as soon as possible. A crime involving theft, dishonesty, or fraud could have a huge impact on your finances, your freedom, and your future.

You have a better chance of prevailing in your case if you talk to an attorney before making any statements to law enforcement and prior to an arrest. Remember that the state must prove your guilt, and an experienced attorney may be able to challenge the prosecution’s evidence.

Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.