Criminal fraud typically involves one person intending to make personal or financial gain from another person’s property. Fraud does not always involve violence, but it usually consists of some type of deception and secrecy. In Texas, there are many different types of criminal fraud charges. Every fraud crime has a new set of elements that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. However, all fraud claims involve one person stealing another person’s money or property without permission. If you have been charged with one of the following types of fraud in Texas, we recommend speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
Medicare and Medicaid fraud have become more popular, and Texas law enforcement has ramped up their investigations of this type of fraud. In Medicaid and Medicare fraud, a doctor, nursing home, or administrator overcharges the federal government for health care services or products. In some cases, pharmacists will commit pharmacy fraud for overbilling the federal government for prescription medication.
Identity theft is another type of fraud that has become more common. Identity theft is a wide category of fraud that involves the theft of an individual’s personal identifying details. Someone can steal a person’s social security number, name, or address and misuse it for their gain. Identity fraud occurs when one person steals another person’s details to commit a specific type of fraud, such as fraudulently charging a person’s credit card or bank accounts for services or products.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is one type of identity fraud. One person uses another person’s debit or credit card without permission to purchase goods or services in credit card fraud. Or, the person engaging in credit card fraud may take another person’s funds from their account without authorization. Now, someone does not need to have a physical credit card or debit card to commit credit card fraud. Instead, they can discover someone’s credit card information online through hacking or a cybersecurity scam.
Theft of Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets
Intellectual property theft involves one person stealing another person’s trademark, copyright, or patent. Intellectual property theft can also involve the theft of trade secrets, typically involving a secret pattern, method, formula, process, design, or practice. By stealing another company or person’s intellectual property, the perpetrator can give another business competitor an unfair advantage.
Financial Statement Fraud
Financial statement fraud is also known as “cooking the books.” In this type of fraud, one person intentionally misrepresents a business’s financial status. An employee could make it look like the business made more money than they did, and pocket the difference for his or her personal gain. Or, they could falsify balance sheet and cash flow numbers to deceive their investors and make it look like the company is doing better, constituting financial statement fraud. The Enron Corporation scandal is one of the best examples of wide-scale financial statement fraud.
When people think about embezzlement, they often think about large-scale financial fraud at a corporate level. However, embezzlement can happen at small businesses and can involve relatively small amounts of money. Embezzlement occurs when an employee uses the employer’s trust to steal property, money, or other resources in their care. For example, an investment could involve an employee taking money out of the cash register and keeping it without permission. Embezzlement can also include an employee sending out invoices and pocketing the payment personally while changing the accounting to hide his or her activity.
Asset misappropriation is similar to embezzlement, but it involves a third party taking advantage of a business’s confidence to steal assets. Asset misappropriation is also called insider fraud. It often consists of a trustee or a public official who has a legal duty to oversee or administer public assets or the assets in a trust. The person uses his or her responsibility to misappropriate funds for personal gain.
Misuse of Company Assets
Misuse of company assets is a type of fraud that involves an employee misusing or stealing company-owned equipment, such as computers. Again, the asset stolen does not need to be significant for an employee to face criminal fraud charges. When an employee is entrusted with keeping their employer’s assets and interests safe and misuses the assets for their purposes, they can face charges.
Tax fraud is another common criminal fraud charge in Texas. When someone underpays the taxes they owe the government or fails to pay their taxes at all. They can be charged with tax evasion. Sometimes a defendant falsifies their tax return to indicate that they made less money than they made. Individuals and corporations can face criminal charges for tax fraud. The punishment for evasion of taxes is severe and has the potential to include jail time.
Many times people underpay their taxes unintentionally because they do not understand how to complete their return. Unfortunately, making a mistake is not a valid excuse when it comes to the IRS. If you have been charged with tax evasion or tax fraud, you need an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Modern laundering involves using money gained in illegal activities and trying to make them legitimate. Money laundering typically occurs when someone tries to illegally obtain money or assets through foreign banks, legitimate businesses, or shell companies.
Contact a Fort Worth Fraud Defense Lawyer Today
Regardless of what type of fraud charge you are facing, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. If you are convicted for fraud in Texas, you may be required to make restitution and serve jail time. Living with a criminal record will affect nearly every aspect of your life. Attorney Steven Jumes will investigate your case and use his skills and knowledge to advocate for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact Law Offices of Steven Jumes today to schedule a consultation.