What Constitutes Consumer Fraud?
Consumer and business fraud can lead to state and federal criminal charges. There are myriad fraud offenses that you can be charged with if you are accused of participating in any scheme to defraud an individual or a business. Both New York State law and federal law prohibit the use of false or misleading statements, as well as false promises, as part of a scheme to defraud.
If you are accused of any fraud offense, a consumer fraud lawyer can provide you with legal representation. Defenses may include good faith, insufficient evidence to prove the offense, puffery or permissible exaggeration in sales material, and other defenses specific to the crime you have been charged with.
Your attorney at Bukh Law Firm can help you to determine if you have a viable defense to fraud or if plea bargaining is advisable under the circumstances of your case.
Types of Consumer Fraud
Types of scams in business that may result in criminal charges include:
- Offering to produce or display advertising materials with no intention of providing or displaying company information.
- Soliciting charitable donations without registration or the intent to use money for its donated purpose.
- Sending invoices or billing for products or services never provided.
- Investment scams including selling unlicensed investments or making false promises regarding returns.
- Charging for services there was no agreement to purchase.
The federal government may also charge you with criminal offenses for different types of consumer fraud including:
- Bank and ATM fraud
- Credit card scams
- Financial aid fraud or false scholarships
- Internet fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Investment fraud
- Telephone scams
Federal and state prosecutors are aggressive in pursuing investigations and criminal charges against individuals and businesses they believe engaged in defrauding consumers or businesses. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Top Rated Criminal Lawyer
Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Criminal Charges for Fraud and False Statements
New York State prohibits a variety of fraud behaviors in Article 190 of the Penal Code, including false advertising, false personification, criminal usury, criminal use of access devices, unauthorized radio transmissions, and identity theft. The Consumer Frauds and Protections Bureau mediates consumer complaints and prosecutes businesses and individuals who are engaged in behaviors that authorities believe involve cheating. Many individuals and companies are prosecuted for state level fraud offenses.
Defendants accused of fraudulent activities may also face federal charges. The Federal government addresses scams and false statements in Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 47 of the United States Code. This Code Section addresses:
- Fraud against the United States and/or any government agencies, including possession of false papers or fraud against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
- Identity theft offenses including knowingly possessing, transferring, or using someone’s identification without lawful authority.
- Fraud in connection with computers, which encompasses virtually any computer crime that involves accessing a computer without lawful authorization to obtain something of value, to obtain protected information, or to facilitate other criminal acts
- False information and hoaxes, including any conduct done with the intent to convey false and misleading information that is likely to be believed and that relates to other enumerated criminal offenses.
Other federal laws also prohibit various types of consumer and business fraud including 18 U.S. Code Chapter 63, which addresses mail fraud, health care fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and fraud in foreign labor contracting.
You may be charged with multiple offenses depending upon what was involved in the alleged scheme to commit consumer fraud. You can also be charged for unsuccessful attempts and conspiracy to commit a crime. Many types of fraud crimes are predicate offenses for RICO (racketeering) charges.
Getting Help from a Consumer Fraud Lawyer
If you have been accused of engaging in any type of fraudulent behavior, you have legal rights. You should not be found guilty of any fraud offense unless a prosecutor can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced consumer fraud lawyer can provide you with advice on responding to charges and help you to raise appropriate defenses or negotiate a plea agreement.
Call as soon as possible if you are under investigation for any types of consumer fraud.