Baltimore Fraud Lawyer
Fraud can take many forms under the law. Common fraudulent activities include mail fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud, identity theft, etc. If you have been accused of fraud, know that you are not alone. The prevalence of fraud accusations has increased with the widespread use of technology. To discuss your legal case with a Baltimore County fraud lawyer, call for a consultation. A qualified Baltimore criminal defense lawyer can help you and your rights.
Elements of Fraud
Fraud offenses are considered white-collar crimes, meaning they are financially motivated and non-violent, typically occurring in an office setting, or digitally. The common element in most fraud cases is intent, or scienter. Scienter refers to one’s knowledge or intent of wrongdoing.
For criminal offenses involving fraud, it usually is not enough for the prosecutor to prove that a crime occurred. The prosecutor must also prove that the accused knew of or intended to commit the crime.
This can sometimes be challenging in that a criminal defendant can potentially prevail at trial if they can prove to a jury that there was no ‘mens rea’, or mental element, required to prove that element of the crime.
Types of Fraud
Below is a list of the types of fraud a person could be charged for. Contact a Baltimore fraud lawyer if you have further questions about them.
Welfare fraud – Maryland Criminal Code §8-503 – applying for and receiving social welfare benefits by knowingly withholding or giving information to the government to obtain benefits that would normally not be distributed.
Mail/Wire fraud – 18 U.S.C. Chapter 63 §1343 – alleges that a wire, radio, or television communication was used by the accused in a scheme to defraud. Examples include:
- Telemarketing schemes
- Chain letters
- Fraudulent online auction (never delivering item)
- Phishing scams (used to obtain personal identifying information)
Bank fraud – 18 U.S.C. Chapter 63 §1344 – falsifying information in order to obtain bank funding, or an attempt to defraud another financial institution for pecuniary gain. Bank fraud could involve an elaborate scheme or be as simple as forging a check or stealing a credit card.
Insurance fraud – Maryland Criminal Code §27-403 – filing an insurance claim for any event other than what actually caused the injury or damage could be considered insurance fraud. There are several red flags that indicate fraudulent activity might be occurring:
- Filing a claim recently after purchasing policy
- Inconsistent versions of the accident
- Failing to cooperate with the insurance company
- Filing duplicate claims with multiple insurance companies
- Theft claims (sometimes the insurance companies even send an investigator to locate the vehicle)
Identity theft – Maryland Criminal Code §8-301 – the fraudulent acquisition and use of another individual’s personal or private identifying information without their consent, including:
- Dates of birth
- Social security numbers
- Social media handles
- Bank account numbers
- Mother’s maiden name
Health care fraud – 18 U.S.C. Chapter 63 §1347 – these offenses often occur in situations involving unsubstantiated billing for medical treatment or equipment. With the rise of the opioid epidemic, law enforcement officials have also created special task forces to monitor the manufacture, delivery, and sale of prescription medications to identify individuals who may exploit opioid abuse for personal or financial gain.
Tax fraud – 26 U.S.C. Chapter 75 §7201 – concealing income from the Internal Revenue Service in an attempt to avoid paying taxes. Individuals that are threatened with an IRS tax audit are particularly susceptible to criminal penalties and should seek legal representation immediately. The tax code is notoriously difficult to understand, but there are certain instances where the IRS has a stronger case for proving fraud, including:
- Intentionally failing to file tax returns
- Intentional understatement of income
- Hiding assets
- Unexplained increases in net worth
- Fraudulent explanations of behavior
- Avoiding tax authorities
- Submitting falsified social security numbers
Contact a Baltimore County Fraud Attorney Today
The statutes listed in this article concern both federal and state statutes. To determine what statute you have been accused of violating and for more information about your case, contact a Baltimore County fraud lawyer who can assist you by gathering evidence and mitigating on your behalf. Understanding your legal rights is the first step in preparing a defense to the claims against you.