When Can You Be Charged With Fraud?
In recent months, Arizona has been thrust into the national spotlight with two greatly different fraud cases. First, the University of Arizona has found itself involved in the FBI's sweeping investigation into NCAA Division I basketball programs' ethical improprieties.
In early November of 2017, University of Arizona assistant coach "Book" Richardson was indicted by a federal grand jury for multiple criminal charges, which included committing wire fraud.
In the same month, Dr. John N. Kapoor — billionaire owner, founder and former CEO of Insys Therapeutics — was arrested and charged with leading a nationwide conspiracy involving fraud to further the illegal distribution of Fentanyl spray intended for cancer patients.
These stories grip the collective national consciousness because of the shocking allegations and alleged ethical improprieties, but the legal consequences for the accused defendants are no less important.
Even — or perhaps, especially — in the most high-profile cases, defendants charged with fraud are innocent until proven guilty.
Given the severe legal consequences of a fraud conviction, it is important for defendants to know when they can be charged with fraud and how their lawyer can fight these charges.
Defining Fraud and Fraudulent Schemes in Arizona
A.R.S. 13-2310 legally defines when fraud occurs, stating that "any person who, pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud, knowingly obtains any type of benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions."
As to what "scheme or artifice to defraud" entails, Section E of this same statute helpfully clarifies that such a scheme must deprive a person of the intangible right of honest services.
Such schemes are generally classified as a Class 2 Felony, and there are a number of offenses that fit this statutory definition.
Some lesser fraud offenses receive Class 5 and 4 treatment with more lenient prison terms, however. Arizona fraud offenses include, but are not limited to:
Medicare and/or Social Security Fraud
There are many offenses that qualify as fraud, and the general Class 2 felony offense for most fraud offenders leads to severe consequences if a defendant is convicted.
With a presumptive prison term of five years and a maximum possible sentence of 12.5 years, it is no exaggeration to say that a fraud conviction is life-changing.
Some lesser fraud offenses listed above include credit card fraud (a Class 5 felony with a possible sentence of 1.5 years for first offenders) and forgery (a Class 4 felony with a potential 4.5 years of prison time for a first offender) still will drastically impact a defendant's life and freedom if convicted.
How an Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer Helps Defendants Charged With Fraud
Given the dire consequences of a fraud conviction, you need a lawyer who can cast doubt on the charge that the defendant "knowingly" defrauded someone.
Your criminal defense lawyer will work to present evidence clearly demonstrating that no scheme or artifice to obtain a fraudulent benefit was ever created by the defendant.
Further, if your lawyer can also show that any benefit the defendant received occurred through a mutual misunderstanding or the alleged victim's consent, this too will provide the defendant with the strong legal defense needed to combat fraud allegations.
Presenting these defenses in the best light requires a lawyer who will thoroughly assess all facts and give your case the attention it deserves when your freedom is at stake.
Tyler Allen Law Firm provides such a defense and will fight your fraud case by raising all possible legal defenses on your behalf and asserting your constitutional rights.
Contact us for a legal consultation to discuss the facts of your case so we can provide you with the legal defense that protects your legal and constitutional rights.