What is fraud? Fraud is the practice of deceiving another person or entity for personal gain. Crimes related to fraud are numerous – everything from forging money and documents to falsely declaring a going-out-of-business sale to maliciously activating a fire alarm in a public building are all considered fraud. There are dozens of statutes related to fraud in Virginia and many of these statutes are interconnected.
Misdemeanor Fraud – Common examples of misdemeanor fraud include:
- Impersonating a law enforcement officer: Class 1 Misdemeanor
- Illegal use of insignia, such as a badge, button, or emblem without the consent from the organization that owns that insignia: Class 4 Misdemeanor
- Audio/visual recording of a motion picture in a privately owned theatre: Class 1 Misdemeanor
Penalties for misdemeanor fraud range from a Class 4 Misdemeanor (least severe), which is punishable by a fine of up to $250.00; to a Class 1 Misdemeanor (most severe), which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2500.00 fine. These measures will increase as the number of fraud counts also increase.
Felony Fraud – Common examples of felony fraud include:
- Forging coin or bank notes: Class 4 Felony
- Identity theft: Class 1 misdemeanor, or Class 6 Felony
- Issuing bad checks: Up to a class 6 Felony
- Obtaining money or signature by false pretense: Class 4 Felony
Penalties for felony fraud range from a Class 6 Felony (least severe), which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $2500.00 fine; to a Class 1 Felony (most severe), which is punishable by life in prison.
Why should I consult an attorney? It is critical to contact The Paracha Firm as soon as you know, or have reason to believe, that you are under investigation for any type of fraud. Allegations of fraud, theft, or misuse of property are extremely serious, and as always, any statements you make can be used against you in a later prosecution.
If you have been charged with Fraud, contact The Paracha Firm now for a no-fee consultation.