Fraud cases are among the most complex criminal matters in North Carolina. The statutes are complicated, and there are numerous actions that fall under the umbrella of fraudulent conduct. Plus, the punishment for a conviction is quite harsh, since fraud is charged as a felony in virtually all cases. If you’ve been arrested or are under investigation, time is of the essence to retain the help of our skilled Charlotte fraud lawyers at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys.
We understand that your situation may appear bleak, but you should always remember that an arrest isn’t a conviction. Our white-collar crime attorneys are dedicated to fighting the prosecution’s allegations at every opportunity, and presenting the best defenses available in your case.
North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) Article 20 outlines a wide range of fraud offenses. Though the specifics vary based upon the type of conduct, the foundation of fraud crimes is using deception, lies, statements of false pretenses, or other misrepresentations to obtain something of value. The elements of a fraud case are:
Unlike crimes that can lead to your arrest on the spot, law enforcement and prosecutors often work to develop fraud charges over a period of time. Still, even if you haven’t been charged, you do have rights during the investigation and pre-arrest stages. The help of a Charlotte fraud lawyer can play a critical role in protecting them and ensuring police don’t overstep their bounds.
Fraud is commonly associated with theft offenses such as obtaining property by false pretenses, financial card fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, forgery, embezzlement, or related crimes. It does share a key characteristic with these crimes: unlawfully taking something of value from its rightful owner. However, fraud centers on obtaining property by false pretenses. Legal representation is essential if you’re charged with:
Fraud is classified as a felony offense in North Carolina, so a conviction means the court will apply a complicated set of rules when sentencing. Factors considered during sentencing in a fraud case include:
Considering the wide range of factors, the sentence for a fraud conviction is very case-specific. For example, first offense credit card fraud can be classified as a class I felony, which is punishable by a prison sentence of anywhere between three and 12 months in prison.
Due to the complicated nature of fraud sentencing, it’s important to retain the help of a skilled Charlotte fraud attorney who will explain your possible sentence in-detail.
Though the punishment for a fraud conviction is harsh, defenses may be available to fight the charges in your case. The prosecution must present evidence with respect to each of the elements described above, and the burden is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Fraud lawyers are adept in identifying and exploiting weaknesses in the allegations against you.
Additional defenses to the charges may include:
Plus, you’ll recall that a fraud case may involve extensive pre-arrest investigations. When you have a fraud attorney represent you during this stage, you’re in a better position to prevent police from obtaining evidence in violation of your rights. Without key information, a prosecutor may not have sufficient evidence to convict.