The term “fraud” is one of those terms that everyone has heard and most people use in everyday language. Fraud, however, is also a legal term that is used both in civil law and criminal law. If you have been charged with a criminal offense that includes fraud in Nebraska it is important that you understand exactly what you have been charged with and what potential penalties you face if convicted.
“Fraud” is not a single crime. Instead, “fraud” is found in wide variety of criminal offenses. The element of fraud is often found in what are commonly referred to as “white collar crimes.” White collar crimes are typically non-violent offenses that are committed by professional, educated people, usually for financial gain. Though the State of Nebraska has several criminal statutes that include fraud, such as identity fraud and insurance fraud, many criminal offenses in which fraud is found are federal crimes. Some common types of criminal fraud include:
· Insurance fraud – most often includes filing a false claim with an automobile, homeowners, or business insurance company for financial gain.
· Banking fraud – this runs the gamut from obtaining a loan based on falsified documents to convincing people to deposit money into an account based on a fraudulent scheme.
· Identity fraud – in the 21st century, identity theft and fraud have become increasingly popular. Once enough personal information is obtained, a perpetrator can “assume” a victim’s identity and use that identity to apply for credit, make purchases, or even collect benefits.
· Public benefits fraud – this type of fraud occurs frequently with public assistance such as Food Stamps (now SNAP), welfare benefits (now TANF) and even public housing. Applicants fail to acknowledge sources of income or people living in the home in order to obtain benefits.
· Mail fraud – this covers many different types of schemes and scams. In the U.S., anytime the mail is used to effectuate a scam, federal statutes apply because the mail system is a federal system. For example, if money was mailed by a victim to a perpetrator of a fraud scheme, federal law could be evoked because of the use of the U.S. Post Office.
As you can see, there are a seemingly endless variety of criminal offenses in which fraud plays an integral role. As such, the penalties for a conviction also range from no jail time to potentially spending years in jail. As a general rule, the sentencing range depends, to a large part, on the value of the items or money involved.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense that includes fraud in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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