The term “fraud” simply means an act of deception, failure to tell the complete truth, or forms of misrepresentation. Fraud can relate to various crimes, including check forgery, bribery, false claims for health care payments, counterfeit, falsifying business records, credit card fraud, identity theft, and more.
In order to be convicted of fraud, there are several elements that must be proved:
- Making, altering, using, or possessing: Whether it’s a document, form of identification, or a check, these are considered “false writings.” Any form of misrepresenting these or other documents, including adding, deleting, or changing information is considered a crime. Making, altering, using, or possessing a misrepresented document constitutes fraud.
- False writing must have apparent legal significance: Examples of documents that have legal significance, or those that can affect rights and obligations, include driver’s licenses, passports, checks, medical prescriptions, stock certificates, and others.
- With the intent to defraud: To receive a fraud conviction, it needs to be proved that the person intended to defraud someone or a business. This prevents people who unknowingly possess or use a fraudulent document from being charged with fraud.
If you are convicted of fraud, it is considered a felony and can result in jail time, fines, probation, or restitution. In Oregon, penalties may include five years in prison or a fine of up to $125,000. Penalties do vary depending on the type of fraud and the seriousness of the crime.
If you have been charged with fraud, regardless of the type, work with the criminal defense lawyers at Donahue Law Firm. We will look closely at your specific circumstances, offer personalized guidance, inform you of various options, and will use our experience and knowledge to fight for you. Get in touch today for a free consultation.