Fraud is the intentional use of deceptive means to obtain money or property from its rightful owners without violence or threat of violence. Fraud offenses are white collar crimes for which a conviction can carry severe penalties, including months or years in prison, fines and required restitution of losses to victims.
Texas law recognizes a number of fraud crimes, such as forgery, credit and debit card fraud and abuse, use of false statements to obtain property or credit, issuance of bad checks, deceptive business practices, identity theft and exploitation of minors, the elderly and disabled persons.
An experienced white collar criminal attorney can be instrumental in helping you mount a potent defense to fraud charges. Your attorney can:
- Protect your rights during police questioning
- Move to exclude illegal evidence and to dismiss charges that are not supported by credible evidence
- Investigate the facts and find witnesses and evidence that contradict or weaken the prosecution’s case
- Negotiate a plea deal if it is the best option in your situation
- Seek leniency in sentencing based on mitigating factors, such as commitment to making restitution
There are several defenses your attorney may be able to assert, including these:
- Lack of intent — This element of fraud crimes can be negated by proving you made an honest mistake. For instance, you might have believed you were telling the truth when you made a false statement or you may have written a check without realizing you had insufficient funds in your account. You can also show that you acted based on reliable advice that your actions were legal.
- Duress — It may be shown that someone put pressure on you to commit fraud. For instance, your employer might have threatened to fire you for not acting, or there may have been a threat of violence against you or your loved ones or a threat of exposure of damaging personal information.
- Constitutional violations — If law enforcement authorities used unconstitutional means to obtain the evidence against you, it might be inadmissible in court. For instance, the police might have obtained a warrant to search your home or office based on an affidavit of probable cause that was based on false information. Even if evidence wasn’t obtained in an unconstitutional search, the court might still exclude it if it wouldn’t have been found if not for the search. This is known as the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine.
Your attorney can analyze your case thoroughly to determine other defenses that might be available depending on the charges against you and the particular circumstances.
Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio defends people charged with fraud crimes in Bexar County and throughout south central Texas. Call us at 210-598-8629 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.