Top Fraud Defense Lawyers in Maryland
If you have been charged with fraud, or believe that you are in danger of having fraud charges leveled at you, the best thing to do is to find a good fraud defense lawyer.
There are many variables that can play important roles in any criminal law investigation. If you are in danger of criminal fraud charges, then you should acknowledge that this isn’t something you should try to handle by yourself. Great care, knowledge, and discretion are necessary to confidently defend against fraud charges and having a seasoned fraud defense lawyer to help you is essential.
If you are concerned about criminal fraud charges and live in Maryland or Washington, D.C., then the lawyers at Houlon Berman may be your best chance for success. Their experienced team can help you organize your defense and face criminal fraud charges.
Understanding Fraud Charges
There are many different kinds of fraud but the unifying feature is that they involve the use of deception to gain money, property, or information. Our White Collar Crime Charges page goes into a bit more detail on the different types of fraud crimes.
Proving that someone has actually committed fraud is more difficult than showing they were simply dishonest. There are five (5) elements to the defendant’s actions that must be proven in order to substantiate a criminal fraud charge. Each of these elements of fraud is detailed below.
False Statement of Fact
It must be shown that the defendant made a deliberate and “factual” statement that was false.
While this seems simple at first glance, it is more nuanced than it appears. A statement of belief or opinion is far different from material fact. If a salesman tells you an item is “the best he’s seen”, even if it is of low quality, this cannot be considered fraud.
The false statement must also have significant bearing on the situation or event in question to be considered as fraud.
Knowledge of the Truth
It must also be proven that the defendant was aware that his false statement was, in fact, untrue when he made it.
A person who believes incorrect facts cannot generally be guilty of committing fraud, though there are exceptions to this rule. When an individual or organization has a legal responsibility to know the facts, and by failing to do so relays false information, they can be found guilty of a fraud crime.
An example of this might be a realtor who declares a home to be completely safe even though they have not conducted a professional home inspection.
Intent to Deceive
It must be shown that the defendant made conscious and deliberate use of a falsehood with the intent to deceive the potential fraud victim.
The purpose of the deception must be for the defendant to deprive the victim of assets or a legal right.
Victim’s Reliance on the False Statement
For deception to be considered fraud, the victim must have had a reasonable reliance upon the false statement. If a person is convinced of something that is completely absurd, it cannot generally constitute fraud.
This means that the false statement used to deceive needs to be something believable. It is also implicit that the victim would have reason to believe the falsehood and to believe the person presenting it.
There can be exceptions to this rule in cases where the victim is ignorant, superstitious, illiterate, or otherwise at a disadvantage in determining what is reasonable.
Damage to the Victim
Perhaps the most important aspect, and the easiest to determine, is that this deception resulted in some sort of substantive damage to the victim. The most common damages related to fraud are monetary in nature. The victim is deceived into giving up money, goods, services, or any number of things.
There are also many ways to use accounting to commit fraud against a government or organization.
But the main factor is that the defendant has caused damage to the victim, and benefited thereby.
Get an Experienced Fraud Defense Lawyer
Each of these criteria for criminal fraud can be seen from numerous perspectives and are very nuanced. Without the guidance and experience of a good fraud defense lawyer, the prosecution will have a distinct advantage over the defendant.
The team at Houlon Berman can prepare your best defense against criminal fraud charges. Speak with a fraud defense lawyer, and get the legal advice you need today.
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