The crime of fraud must include an intentional, willful plan to use deception to either harm others or to benefit personally. Many acts that are considered fraud would be on a misdemeanor level, either by a single instance, or by involving an item of small value. To make a felony fraud charge, the fraud needs to be on a large scale of fraudulent activity.
Most fraud charges that are felonies involve government agencies or goods of substantial value, including money. The seriousness of the violation can be in terms of the pattern. If a person has committed a repeated practice of forging checks, or constantly overdrawing on their checking account knowing there is no money in it, they are more likely to be charged with a felony-level charge.
Felony Fraud Examples
Fraud can occur in many different ways. There are the traditional types, like mail fraud or check fraud, where a criminal will obtain checks or mail from a victim and present those are if they are their own in order for personal gain. A check would have to be written for more than $250 to be a felony.
- Insurance Fraud - Another form of felony fraud is insurance fraud. Any time a person files a claim against an insurance using false information or intentionally deceive the claim representative, they are committing a felony fraud.
- Mortgage Fraud - Mortgage fraud is another way that people can be charged for a felony level fraud. Any person that knowingly obtains money deceptively for home mortgage totaling $200,000 becomes charged as a first-degree felon. This is the most serious felony, other than murder.
- Wire Fraud - Wire fraud is another form that involves any form of electronic communication. With the prevalence of the nearly instant access to the internet of today, crimes on electric formats like the internet are becoming an increasing part of the criminal community.
Felony Fraud Punishment
A conviction on this crime would leave a person expecting both jail time and fines. As a felony, it should be anticipated that the sentence would be at least one year, but in some cases of involving government agencies or extremely valuable items, sentences can go as high as 20 years.
Similarly to most crimes, if the person has a past involving felon convictions, there is likely to be a steeper sentence. If the fraud is something that was repeated on a large scale, then those times would be longer. In some mortgage fraud cases where loan processors devised grand networks to intentionally harm borrowers, they have been given life sentences for this kind of fraud.
In addition, Massachusetts courts are regularly handing out sentences for after their release from prison, which then require them to perform community service, but also may take away their right to vote, join the military, vote, or own and license a handgun.
Felony Fraud Defenses
It is always necessary to look at all of the information in the case before determining the best course of action. A professional attorney knows how to investigate the evidence of the case and to see if there are any problems or issues with the primary items in the case.
By investigating all evidence and collection techniques they can assure you of a fair trial. If the person being charged can show that they did not know what they were taking pat in, and can show that they are a part of a bigger crime, then that has been shown to help their case.