Fraud is essentially an intentional deception of a person or entity made to another for money or personal gain.
Fraud offenses can cover any form of misrepresentation, false statement or deceitful conduct for the purpose of gaining anything of value as property or property by deceiving or misleading someone to thinking that the falsehood of the perpetrator is true.
What the law says about fraud
Laws against fraud vary from state to state, and it can be criminal or civil in nature. Criminal fraud includes criminal intention on the part of the doer, and has a penalty by either fines or imprisonment. Civil fraud is broadly applied to circumstances that involve bad-faith and penalties are meant to punish the perpetrator and return the victim to same position before the fraud took place.
To prove a fraud claim in general; there elements are (1) misrepresentation of a material fact; (2) a person or entity knows or believes it to be false; (3) a person or entity justifiably relies on the misrepresentation; and (4) actual injury or loss resulting from his or her reliance.
Types of fraud charges in Pennsylvania:
- Access devices as ATM cards, credit cards and debit cards and in Pennsylvania statutes, it is and this is called “access device fraud.” In Pa. law, it is illegal to use a counterfeit credit card or debit card; to use another person’s credit card or debit card without the owner’s permission; using a credit card or debit card that is revoked or canceled; or assisting and creating, aiding, using or owning a credit pr debit card that is counterfeit.
If a person own two or more credit cards, he/she is presumed to know that a card was counterfeit. Furthermore, a person is presumed to identify a canceled card a notice is sent through the mail seven days before its cancellation.
Access device fraud is considered a 2nd degree misdemeanor if the amount is less than $50; a 1st degree misdemeanor if the mount is less than $500; and a felony if amount exceeds $500.
- Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud covers offenses that involve accusations of defrauding an insurance company that includes filing of: false claims, misleading claims, or assisting in filing false statements. Under the insurance fraud are attempts to use another person’s insurance, health insurance and auto liability insurance.
Insurance fraud is classified as a 3rd degree felony although some charges are considered as first degree misdemeanor.
- Identity Theft
It is a crime to Possessing or using another person’s identifying information without that person’s consent, with the purpose of doing something illegal is a crime.
Every commission of identity theft is counted as a separate offense, and will be an additional offense to the charges of the accused. If allegedly defrauded amount in the identity theft was less than $2,000, it is considered as a 1st degree misdemeanor but if more than this amount, it is classified as 3rd degree felony. If the person whose identity is stolen is 60 or older; the charges step up one degree.
Forgery is changing or making any document for one’s personal gain or use it in any other criminal offense. It is classified as 2nd degree felony if the forged instrument is something of value as bonds, food stamps, government securities, money, postage, stocks, bonds or anything representing an interest in a company. It is considered a 3rd degree felony if the document is a will, contract, deed or any document affecting legal relations. If the forgery does not falling into one of these categories stated, it is a 1st degree misdemeanor.
- Bad Checks
When the owner writes a check fully aware that there is not enough money in the corresponding account, it is a bad check and given an additional theft charges. There will be no repercussion if the person pays in full for the amount within a period of 10 days from receiving notice of the bounced check.
If a bad check is less than $200, it is a summary offense and considered a 3rd degree misdemeanor if the amount is from $200-$500; a 2nd degree misdemeanor from the amount of $500-$1,000, 1st degree misdemeanor for $1,000-$75,000, and 3rs degree felony for more than $75,000.
In many cases, if you are a fraud victim and you would like recover your loses; you need to hire a lawyer who is an expert in handling nuances of the laws concerning fraud in your state.