El Paso Fraud Defense Lawyer
Fraud is a serious offense in the state of Texas, and a conviction can lead to harsh penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and probation. A fraud charge can also interfere with professional opportunities, particularly for those in accounting, banking or finance. Moreover, fraud crimes are frequently prosecuted at the federal level which comes with even stricter punishments. If you are under suspicion of, or have been charged with, a state or federal fraud crime, it is crucial to have the right attorney defending you. Please do not attempt to discuss your situation with your employer or other person making an accusation. Most people have made up their mind before they talk to you and are accusing you, not interested in listening to you.
With offices in El Paso, the Benjamin Law Firm represents clients who are facing a wide range of fraud charges throughout the state of Texas. As a Board Certified criminal defense attorney, Brock Benjamin has the legal knowledge and courtroom skills that are essential for achieving successful outcomes. As a former prosecutor, Brock’s insight into the tactics the government uses in trying fraud allows our firm to design well-conceived defense strategies. When your freedom and reputation are at stake, the Benjamin Law Firm is the wise choice in criminal defense.
What is fraud?
Fraud occurs when an individual or entity deliberately (knowingly or willfully) deceives another in order to gain something of value — typically money or property — or to deprive the victim of a legal right. Knowing that each case is unique, we will take the time to understand the facts surrounding your case in order to determine the best line of defense. Please understand that the accuser is the one who will believe that the actions were deliberate. This is not necessarily your belief that they are looking for.
We are highly experienced handling an array of fraud offenses including:
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Bank fraud
- Check fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Healthcare fraud (Medicare/Medicaid fraud)
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Mail fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Securities fraud
- Telemarketing fraud
- Wire fraud
Texas Fraud Laws
In Texas, fraud can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, and the applicable statute covers activities such as forgery, writing bad checks, credit/debit card abuse, making false statements to obtain property or credit, fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle, rigging a public contest, and others. The penalties for fraud in Texas depend on the nature of the offense and the value of the property or amount of money that was defrauded. In any event, fraud can lead to charges ranging from a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, to a first-degree felony, which can result in a sentence of life in prison.
Federal Fraud Laws
In addition to state offenses, fraud is often prosecuted at the federal level. One of the most common federal criminal charges is mail fraud. In sum, it is unlawful to use the U.S. mail, or a private interstate carrier (Federal Express or United Parcel Service), to engage in fraudulent activity. In this regard, mailing contracts, receipts, invoices or communications regarding a fraudulent scheme could constitute mail fraud. In any event, mail fraud in punishable up to 20 years in federal prison and heavy fines. If the scheme involves a financial institution, benefits related to a federally declared disaster or emergency, or other special circumstances, the penalties are elevated — up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
Another common federal fraud charge is wire fraud, which involves the use of wire, radio, or television communications in interstate or foreign commerce. The statute broadly defines communications to include any writings, signals, pictures or sounds and interstate wire communications can involve telephone calls, or other e-communications such as fax machines, the internet, or television. One common example of wire fraud perpetrated over the phone is telemarketing fraud. There are many others, and as you can imagine, everything in today’s world is transmitted and the U.S. Government is very good about using this statute as a general criminal statute.
An individual who is convicted of wire fraud faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 while an organization may be fined up to $500,000. The penalties are elevated under the special circumstances referred to in the discussion about mail fraud.
Finally, in federal cases, agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may spearhead the investigation and prosecution. Armed with limitless financial resources, teams of highly skilled attorneys and aggressive investigative techniques, state and federal prosecutors have a distinct advantage over defendants in fraud cases. This is why you need the powerful legal representation the Benjamin Law Firm is prepared to provide.
Potential Defenses Against Criminal Fraud Charges
Depending on the circumstances of your particular case, we may use assert one or more of the following defenses against fraud:
- Insufficient evidence — The prosecution must be able to prove that you are guilty of fraud “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the state’s evidence indicating that fraud has been committed is not convincing, the charges may be dismissed.
- The absence of intent to commit a crime — If you have passed along information that you didn’t know was false, or that was not false at the time you provided it, you may not have shown the requisite “intent to deceive.”
- Non-Fraudulent Statement — In order to be considered fraudulent, the misleading statement must refer to an existing fact. If the statement is simply an opinion or a promise to take an action in the future, that statement may not constitute fraud.
- Entrapment — It may be possible to show that you would not have committed fraud unless you were coerced by law enforcement. While sting operations are legal, entrapment is not. We know exactly how to use an entrapment defense in your favor.
Why Clients Choose The Benjamin Law Firm
We are keenly aware that a conviction for state or federal fraud charges can have long-lasting consequences. In addition to imprisonment and fines, the damage to your reputation will follow you for years, dogging you at work and in your community. With so much at stake, it is crucial to have the powerful legal representation we are capable of providing. Our objective is to clear your good name, but we will always give you an honest assessment of your prospects for an acquittal.
In the event that the evidence against you is insurmountable, we may seek to have the charges reduced. At the same time, we are Board Certified in Criminal Law and trying cases is our specialty. Well-versed in all the applicable fraud statutes and rules of procedure in multiple jurisdictions, we have a proven track record of successfully defending clients in state and federal court. If your freedom is hanging in the balance, call the Benjamin Law Firm today or complete the convenient online contact form to set up a consultation.