Fraud, or white collar crime, consists of several different crimes like forgery and identity theft, insurance fraud, real estate and mortgage fraud, financial fraud, among other types of fraud. According to California law, any person who uses fraud or deceit to obtain possession of money, labor or personal property is guilty of theft by trick, which is different than larceny.
Larceny is just theft, whereas fraud and deceit requires you to obtain property you knew was owned by someone else and the property owner gave consent to your possession because you used fraud or deceit. It also requires that when you obtained it, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently. To generalize the term, you commit fraud any time you commit an act that results in an unfair or undeserved benefit for yourself and/or cause harm or loss to another person. They are usually driven by either financial gain or the desire to escape criminal liability.
Fraud is our society in a variety of different ways. It can be done on the internet, forging, counterfeiting, falsely impersonating someone, insurance and healthcare, workers compensation, real estate, credit card and securities, nursing homes, vehicle registration and so many others so it’s important to not only keep a keen eye out on these things but also contact an attorney if you’ve been charged with fraud. Besides carrying prison terms and heavy fines, California fraud crimes can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the defendant’s criminal history and the specific facts about the case.
Fraud offenses could also be as serious as federal crimes. Regardless of the charge, a fraud conviction could undermine your credibility if testifying in court and could subject both legal and undocumented immigrants to detention and deportation. An important thing to note is that fraud can only be charged when there is intent to defraud. For example, if you were charged with check fraud, but you believed you had enough money to cover the check, you cannot be found guilty of check fraud. An attorney will help your defense. Two other defenses for fraud are mistaken identity and entrapment. Entrapment, however, is not easy to prove. You would have to prove that police had to coerce an individual to perpetrate a crime that he or she would not have otherwise perpetrated.