Understanding Forgery And Fraud
Forgery and fraud are part of a long list of what are known as “white collar” crimes. These types of crimes involve illegally stealing money and usually using deception. They differ from blue-collar crimes, such as armed robbery or burglary, in that they usually do not involve the threat or use of physical force but rather rely on obtaining money illegally through financial transactions.
Because so many of these types of crimes cross state borders, many of them are federal crimes, investigated by the FBI and tried in federal courts.
Penalties For Forgery And Fraud
Both the federal and the state courts have harsh penalties for forgery and fraud.
In Mississippi, if the sum of money illegally obtained through forgery is worth less than $1,000, then the crime is a misdemeanor and the penalty can be up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If the value of the money obtained illegally is more than $1,000, then the crime is a felony resulting in jail sentences of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
There are different penalties for different types of fraud. For credit card fraud, if the sum illegally obtained is less than $100, then it is a misdemeanor and the penalty is up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. For sums fraudulently obtained above $100, the penalty is up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The penalties are higher if there’s an attempt to defraud the state or federal government.
What Are Forgery And Fraud?
Forgery is a particular type of fraud. It is the process of making, adapting or imitating objects, statistics or documents with the intent to deceive. The forgery can include the sale of counterfeit goods or the use of forged trademarks of legitimate businesses.
The types of fraud are very widespread. They include:
- Insurance fraud
- Investment fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Computer fraud
- Identity theft fraud
- Tax fraud
- Benefit fraud
- Bank/bankruptcy fraud
- Health Care fraud
- Medicare or Medicaid fraud
- Cellphone fraud
- Mail fraud
- Telemarketing fraud
Many of the investigations are extremely complex and involve detailed inquiries by federal or state investigators, often lasting many months. Even if you are completely innocent, it can be a very traumatic and drawn-out experience.
In some investigations, it is found that there is no evidence of fraud, but, in the course of the investigation, the accused can be charged with and convicted of providing false information to the investigators. Many public figures have been brought down by a charge of lying to investigators rather than by the original fraud charge.
With the complexity of these forgery and fraud cases, it is essential that those being investigated receive advice from attorneys with specialist knowledge of the law relating to fraud and the fraud investigation procedures, whether they are federal or state investigations. A large proportion of the work is going to be done before any case ever gets to trial, and many cases will involve months of investigation.