NY Lawyer Explains How Sweetheart Scams Provide Unauthorized Access to Funds
There are many scams targeting the elderly for purpose of getting unauthorized access to funds. In recent years, one particular type of scam has become especially common: sweetheart scams. Sweetheart scams are focused on making connections through Internet dating for the purposes of getting vulnerable seniors or other victims to wire money under false pretenses.
If you are accused of being involved in a sweetheart scam or in otherwise taking steps to try to obtain funds unlawfully, you may face serious criminal charges including federal wire fraud charges. A NY criminal lawyer at Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can provide you with invaluable assistance in fighting against the accusations of fraud which are made against you.
How Sweetheart Scams Making Getting Unauthorized Access to Funds Possible
There are many different approaches to getting unauthorized access to funds from seniors. Fraud schemes may include a grandparent scam, in which a phone call is made to an elderly person claiming to be a grandchild in trouble who needs money, or foreign lottery fraud in which seniors are told they have won money but have to pay some fee in order to gain access to the cash they have won. Whenever false or misleading statements are made to get someone to wire money, those involved in the fraud scam can face charges.
Sweetheart scams, or romance scams, have become an especially common way of trying to gain access to cash. Sweetheart scams involve using online dating websites, social networks, or other methods of making online contact. The scam involves pretending to be a potential suitor or love interest. Over time, emails, instant messages, or even phone calls are exchanged to build trust. The person being scammed is then told his or her love interest needs money wired. There are many different excuses for why the money has to be sent: the love interest may be sick or in trouble, for example, or may need the money to book a ticket and come to visit.
Often, the requests for money are repeated once a person has already sent money to the love interest. Because there is an ongoing relationship in which false trust has been established, many people- and especially seniors- end up wiring the cash which is requested as a part of the sweetheart scam.
Penalties for Sweetheart Scams, Internet Dating Scams
Penalties for sweetheart scams can vary depending upon whether the defendant is charged with a state crime or is charged with a federal crime related to the fraudulent means used to obtain money. Often, because the Internet and sometimes phones are used to communicate, the defendant who is accused of running a sweetheart scam will be charged with wire fraud. When unauthorized funds are sent, penalties for wire transfer fraud can kick in as well. Wire fraud alone could result in up to 20 years imprisonment per count of the charge, or 30 years imprisonment under specific circumstances like when a financial institution was defrauded.
In addition to the potential for jail time, there is a real chance of being required to pay fines, fees, and restitution when accused of getting unauthorized access to funds. Through civil forfeiture, it is possible money could be taken from you even if you have not been convicted of a crime if there is reasonable cause to believe the funds were obtained through criminal acts.
Fighting the serious accusations against you is essential to try to minimize or avoid the consequences which could result when accusations of fraud are made.
A NY Fraud Lawyer Can Represent Those Accused of Sweetheart Scams
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience providing representation to clients accused of many different kinds of scams aimed at getting unauthorized access to funds. Whether you were accused of sweetheart scams, Internet dating scams, or any other type of fraud aimed at obtaining money through false pretenses, we’ll put together a strong defense strategy. Give us a call as soon as possible to learn more.