Affinity Fraud in Connecticut
There are many types of money fraud that affect a wide variety of professions, places of work, and institutions. After the financial downturn of 2008 and front-page scandals involving prominent bankers engaged in fraudulent activity—particularly Bernie Madoff, who orchestrated a $65 billion Ponzi scheme that has since been categorized as the largest Ponzi scheme in American history—one may think that the rate of financial fraud would be decreasing. On the contrary, incidents of financial fraud continue to plague the U.S. business system, in some areas at an even higher rate than before the financial downturn and epic scams like Madoff. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission reports that there was a 62 percent increase in financial fraud claims between 2011 and 2012, with just over 1.5 million people filing such claims. Not all of these are so-called “affinity” scams, such as Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Some are much more personal, involving incidents such as one in which a person willingly hands over a personal check to a fraudulent cause.
Understanding Affinity Fraud
An affinity fraud is an investment scam that targets members of one specific subset of the population. Quite often, victims of such fraud are those involved in a religious group, for example, or an elderly community. In the most severe instances of affinity fraud, the perpetrator may actually pretend to be a part of this group. These types of scams can be particularly devastating because they erode trust and human relationships as well as bank accounts. Punishment for this type of fraud can be equally as devastating. In instances in which a person impersonated another, or alleged to have qualifications he or she in fact did not, may carry additional charges of fraud unrelated to money.
Various Levels of Charges
All charges of fraud can result in significant criminal penalties. These may be labeled as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the crime and how many people were affected. You may face jail time, probation, or heavy fines, depending on which type of fraud you committed and for how long. Most high-profile cases of affinity fraud involve large numbers of people are are committed over a long period of time, and carry fines and sentences that reflect this level of deception.
If you or someone you know has been charged with fraud, the most important step is to determine your options by speaking with a qualified legal professional. Contact an experienced Stamford criminal defense attorney to discuss your available options. Call 203-348-5846 to schedule your free consultation at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today.