If you have been charged with fraud, the legal penalties you are facing may depend upon several factors, including the type of fraud, the amount of money or the value of the property, your knowledge or intent, and more. To make matters even more complicated, some offenses overlap one another.
This includes altering, executing or authenticating any writing so that it appears to be the act of another person, to have been signed at a different time or in a different place, or falsely appears to be a copy of an original. The penalty will depend upon the amount of money or value of property involved.
Credit Card Fraud.
There are two types of credit card fraud in Texas. One, called “credit card abuse,” is the fraudulent use of a credit card that has expired or been cancelled, or belongs to another person, with intent to obtain a benefit. Credit card abuse is a state jail felony. The other is called “credit card transaction record laundering,” which includes presentation by a vendor of an unauthorized credit card charge. The classification of laundering varies with the amount of money or value of property in question.
Making False Statements to Secure Credit.
Lying on a mortgage or other credit application is a crime. The classification will depend upon the amount of credit/value of property involved.
Motor Vehicle Fraud.
Transfer of a motor vehicle, with intent to defraud the owner, a lienholder or lessor, is a crime. The potential penalty will depend upon the value of the vehicle.
Issuing a bad check knowing that there are insufficient funds in the account to cover it is a Class C misdemeanor, unless the check was for a court-ordered child support payment, in which case it is a Class B misdemeanor.
Deceptive Business Practices.
This offense covers a wide variety of acts. It includes false weights and measures, misrepresentation as to the quantity of a product being sold, selling mislabeled or adulterated products, falsely representing that the item being sold is new when it is used, false advertising, and others. The classification in some cases depends upon the nature of the offense, in others by the level of culpability (criminal negligence, intentional, knowing, reckless), and in others by whether you have been previously convicted of deceptive business practices. All the offenses under this heading are misdemeanors.
It is a state jail felony for a fiduciary, without the consent of his beneficiary, to accept or solicit benefits to influence the fiduciary’s conduct.
Fraudulent Use of Identifying Information.
Use, without consent, of someone’s name, date of birth, social security number or other identifying information, with intent to defraud, is a felony.
Exploitation of Children, the Elderly and the Disabled.
Knowingly, intentionally or recklessly exploiting a child (14 years old or younger), an elderly individual (65 years old or older) or a disabled individual for money or profit is a felony of the third degree.
Offenses under the fraud laws of Texas also include insurance fraud, Medicaid fraud, stealing or receiving a stolen check, hindering secured creditors, public bid-rigging, criminal simulation, presenting a false military or educational record, and others.
If you are charged with fraud in Harris County it is important to contact an experienced Harris County defense attorney in order to get your case possibly reduced or dismissed. Contact Attorney Emily Shelton. She has the experience, knowledge of the law, and power to defend your rights.