Portsmouth Fraud Lawyer

The crime of fraud involves unlawfully obtaining money or property through the use of deception. This deception could take the form of lies, falsified documents, or other misinformation. If convicted, the penalties can include serious fines and harsh jail time. You should not try to fight your case alone. Let a tenacious criminal defense attorney help.

If you have been accused of fraud, it is crucial that you have the right legal counsel on your side. A Portsmouth fraud lawyer could review the evidence and help build a defense on your behalf. Speak to a knowledgeable attorney to understand your rights.

Understanding Fraud Charges

Fraud is an expansive term that applies to dozens of individual criminal charges in the Commonwealth. Not only do many of these offenses overlap with each other, but they also mirror federal fraud statutes. In some cases, it is possible both commonwealth and federal prosecutors could pursue you for fraud charges. Generally, the federal government will only get involved when acts of fraud cross state lines.

While all of the fraud charges covered by the Code of Virginia involved deception, these charges can differ substantially. Some of the most commonly charged fraud offenses include:

Check Fraud

Code of Virginia Section 18.2-181 governs check fraud crimes. This statute covers any act involving bad checks, including issuing a check with the knowledge that the account balance will not cover it.

Prosecutors could treat check fraud as a felony or a misdemeanor offense, depending on the amount of the check. A fraudulent check for more than $200 is a Class 6 felony. A conviction carries between one and five years in prison or up to one year in county jail, depending on the judge’s prerogative. A check for less than $200 is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail. A series of checks for small amounts that add up to more than $200 over 90 days is treated as a felony, not a misdemeanor.

False Pretenses

False pretenses is a crime that typically involves tricking another person into signing a legal document per Code of Virginia 18.2-178. This could involve tricking a person into signing the wrong document or misrepresenting what the document is in the first place. Common examples include powers of attorney or deeds.

If convicted under the false pretenses statute, a person will serve up to 20 years in prison if the item taken was worth more than $200. For items worth less than $200, the potential jail term is no more than one year. An experienced attorney in Portsmouth could work to help get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Fraud Versus Theft

There are many differences between fraud and theft. While both charges involve taking the property of another without authorization, there is a key distinction. Fraud relies on the use of deception and often involves convincing another person to hand over their property willingly. Theft occurs when a person takes property using force or stealth, often without the victim knowing. A Portsmouth attorney could provide an in-depth distinction between the two offenses and could build a defense against the charges.

Work with a Portsmouth Fraud Attorney Today

Fraud charges are taken very seriously in the State of Virginia. In addition to jail time and fines, you could also face challenges obtaining employment or housing with a fraud conviction on your record.

A Portsmouth fraud lawyer could help you build a defense against the charges to help you avoid a conviction. Call today to learn more about how an attorney could help your specific case.