Fraud is considered a scheme or deception that is knowingly attempted or perpetrated in an effort to obtain someone else’s property or money. Some types of fraud involve use of the mail, phone or the Internet. Other categories relate to the industry or institution affected such as social security, banking, insurance, healthcare, credit cards or securities. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid fraud as well as tax fraud involving federal income tax are investigated by federal agencies and fall under federal jurisdiction.
There are numerous categories of fraud some of which include, but are not limited to the following crimes:
Wire Fraud involves the use of electronic communications to commit fraud. Wire fraud is federally prosecuted and if convicted under federal statutes, the person is fined and/or imprisoned for up to 20 years. If the wire fraud involves a financial institution, fines may be as high as $1,000,000 and imprisonment can be up to 30 years. Wire fraud is considered any scheme or means to defraud or obtain money or property by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises through the use of wire, radio, television, computers or other electronic devices.
Mail fraud involves use of the postal system to commit fraud by unlawfully obtaining money or valuables through the mail. What may have otherwise only fallen under state law becomes a federal offense when the postal system is used during the commission of the fraud. Mail fraud takes on a variety of forms such as misrepresentation or non-delivery of mail-order merchandise, promoting Internet auction fraud through the mail, get rich quick scams, work at home scans, theft through the mail, soliciting business by mailing invoices and soliciting false charity or religious donations.
Mortgage fraud involves misrepresentation, material misstatement or omission in the underwriting of a mortgage loan committed on the part of the underwriter or lender that is funding, purchasing or insuring the loan. The FBI investigates mortgage fraud through federally insured financial institutions, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG).
The two main areas of mortgage fraud are fraud for profit and fraud for housing. Fraud for profit includes defrauding by falsely inflating property value, basing loans on fictitious properties and revolving equity. This type of fraud is also referred to as “Industry Insider Fraud” which involves industry insiders collaborating or colluding in these endeavors. Fraud for housing is fraud committed by borrowers. This type of fraud is usually committed through income or employment history misrepresentation in order to qualify for the loan. The purpose of this type of fraud is to acquire and maintain house ownership even though the individual would not qualify for the loan.
Social Security Fraud
Social security fraud involves obtaining social security numbers for use in identity theft and similar crimes as well as fraud committed in order to obtain social security benefits such as disability or retirement income benefits. This latter type of fraud could involve collecting social security benefits based on false statements on claims, or by concealing material facts or events that affect eligibility. When a representative payee uses the social security benefit funds for personal expenses or in a way that deprives the beneficiary of needed, services this is also considered fraud. Buying or selling social security card information or Social Security Administration information, as well as scams involving Social Security Administration employee impersonation, are other types of social security fraud.
If you are being investigated or accused of fraud, the sooner you obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney, the greater the opportunity there is to avoiding charges or preparing a strong defense on your behalf. To arrange a consultation to discuss your concerns regarding fraud charges, please call 312-368-0611 or use our online quick contact email.