What is Fraud?
Fraud costs victims billions of dollars every year.
Under Georgia law, fraud is basically a misrepresentation of a material fact that is made with the intent to obtain an unlawful financial gain. Prosecutors must prove all the elements of this offense, and any other offense, beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the highest burden of proof in U.S. law.
Because of this high burden of proof, a lack of evidence is usually the most effective defense against fraud or other criminal charges. “Guilty” in a criminal court doesn’t mean morally guilty. Instead, guilty basically means “proved.” So, a Norcross criminal defense lawyer frequently represents fraud and other defendants who are morally guilty, but they are not legally guilty because there is not enough evidence to prove guilt.
Types of Fraud
The Georgia fraud law is very broad. This law could apply to a number of situations, including:
- Credit Card Fraud: Until recently, magnetic stripe skimming was, by far, the most common kind of credit card fraud. Chip and Apple Pay technology has almost eliminated this kind of fraud. Many other kinds of fraud, such as CNP (card not present) fraud, remain.
- Bank Fraud: This offense usually involves false statements on loan applications and other such forms. Not all such statements are fraudulent. The state must prove the false statement was material and intentional.
- Healthcare Fraud: These fraud cases usually involve large investigations in multiple counties or multiple states. Unscrupulous doctors often seek reimbursement for services they didn’t perform or exaggerate their bills to get more money. Because of the scope of these cases, they’re usually federal cases.
- Insurance Fraud: This form of fraud isn’t quite as common in Georgia as it is in neighboring Florida. The Sunshine State has a no-fault insurance law. Therefore, many auto insurance claims don’t involve any judicial supervision. Nevertheless, insurance scams like the “swoop and squat” still happen in Georgia.
Fraud is usually a felony, although in some cases, it could be a misdemeanor. Either way, fraud is a crime of moral turpitude. CMTs have wide-ranging consequences in employment relationships, civil court, and other areas of life.
Frequency of Fraud
False statements on official documents are quite common. But as mentioned, not all these statements are fraudulent. Therefore, fraud prosecutions are somewhat rare.
Typically, prosecutors use conduct to prove intent. State tax fraud is a good example. Many taxpayers always give themselves the benefit of the doubt when they claim deductions. These claims might be illegal, but they usually are not fraudulent. On the other hand, if the taxpayer does something like omit a large income source or move money into a shell company, there is clear evidence of fraudulent intent.
Furthermore, prosecutors often don’t aggressively pursue fraud cases. In fact, if the defendant makes restitution and jumps through a few other hoops, prosecutors often drop the matter.
Anyone could be a fraud victim. Older adults and large companies are usually the most frequent fraud victims in Gwinnett County.
Older adults are often trusting and don’t always read the fine print. So, many people try to take advantage of older people. One common fraud is nursing homes that file fake guardianship papers to obtain control over resident finances.
Some fraudsters almost consider fraud against a large company a “victimless” crime. They reason that the company can well afford the loss. But fraud is fraud, and the law protects everyone. This protection also applies to defendants who are accused of crimes.
Count on a Hard-Hitting Gwinnett County Fraud Defense Lawyer
Fraud charges don’t always hold up in court. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law.