Criminal Fraud in Covington County
If you are accused of fraud or a fraud-related criminal offense, you are likely to be embarrassed, scared, and unsure of what to do to protect yourself, your family, and your rights.
Many fraud allegations arise from business situations or practices, so even an allegation of fraud, even if you are never convicted of a crime, can leave a permanent cloud over you professionally.
In the case of a conviction for fraud, you may be permanently barred from your chosen profession. In this scenario, you should consider whether a Covington County fraud lawyer could give you the guidance that you meet to properly handle this situation. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney today to discuss your situation.Criminal Offenses Involving Fraud
Alabama law provides for a lengthy list of criminal offenses involving fraud, including forgery, various types of business fraud, charitable fraud, illegal possession of food stamps, home repair fraud, residential mortgage fraud, and public assistance fraud.
Individual forms of business fraud include deceptive business practices, false advertising, bait advertising, falsifying business records, defrauding secured and judgment creditors, fraud in insolvency, and issuing a false financial statement, among others.
Many of these crimes are referred to as white collar crimes, as they are non-violent criminal offenses committed by deception to gain a financial benefit or advantage. The common factor in all of these criminal offenses is some type of fraudulent activity. Fraud cases typically involve the following elements:
- There must be a misrepresentation in the form of a lie or false statement
- That misrepresentation must involve a material fact or something that was important or central to the transaction
- The false statement caused others to reasonably rely on it
- In most cases, the individuals committing fraud had a specific intent to defraud others
Some fraud offenses may require more specificity in the elements listed above, but these are the general components of any fraud offense.Penalties for Fraud Offenses in Covington County
Although these offenses are largely non-violent, they still have significant ramifications under Alabama law that individuals typically want to avoid. Aside from the potential punishment from the criminal justice system, for instance, any conviction for crimes involving dishonesty can cause difficulties in obtaining credit and employment. This impacts individuals’ abilities to support themselves and their families, thus creating both professional and personal problems. A seasoned attorney could play an essential role in protecting you from the ramifications of a conviction.
As a Covington County fraud lawyer can tell you, these problems are only some of the consequences that a fraud conviction can create for individuals. Some of these criminal offenses are misdemeanors and more serious offenses are felonies. For example, under Alabama Criminal Code § 13A-9-45, § 13A-9-49, issuing a false financial statement and falsifying business records are both Class B misdemeanors, which can result in up to six months of incarceration and a fine of up to $3,000.
On the other end of the spectrum, pursuant to Alabama Criminal Code § 13A-9-2, first-degree forgery, which involves falsifying postal stamps, stocks, bonds, or other government instruments with an intent to defraud, is a Class B felony. A conviction for a Class B felony has a two-year mandatory minimum sentence, a potential total sentence of up to 20 years, and up to a $30,000 fine.How Covington County Fraud Attorney Could Help
Criminal charges involving fraud are often complex, extremely fact-specific, and may be interwoven with lawsuits seeking to hold you civilly liable for others’ losses. The potential range of penalties for fraud offenses involves some significant repercussions that can last well into your personal and professional future.
By contacting a Covington County fraud lawyer, you may be able to get a better sense of your rights under Alabama law, as well as your options for resolving the allegations against you.