Criminal Fraud in Connecticut
There are a variety of different theft crimes articulated in Connecticut law, but one of the most potentially damaging to its victims is criminal fraud. Fraud is a serious issue that can tar you with the brush of dishonesty for the rest of your life if you are convicted, and if you are charged with a fraud crime, it is crucial that you react appropriately by enlisting an experienced attorney. Fraud crimes are often very specific, and trying to defend yourself alone is not a good idea.
Deceit and Misrepresentation
There are many different crimes that fall under the umbrella of fraud in Connecticut. More specific examples include identity theft, insurance fraud, money laundering, or wire fraud. The central component of these types of crimes is referred to as a fraudulent transaction - one induced by deception or willful misrepresentation, that confers gain on the person who induced it. Generally, if the prosecution can establish that a fraudulent transaction happened and that it happened because of your deception or misrepresentation, it will be able to establish your guilt.
It is important to keep in mind that while most Connecticut crimes are defined by statute (meaning that the legislature has passed laws that specifically lay out a definition and sentence for a crime), general fraud and many other crimes are not. Instead, these crimes are defined by what is called common law. Common law is based on case precedent only, meaning that past cases govern how a court should decide today. This can be a bit confusing for the average person, not least because legal cases are difficult to read, but nonetheless, this is the basis for prosecution for many fraud crimes.
Surprise Federal Charges
While Connecticut penalties for fraud can be quite severe, depending on the amounts involved in fraudulent transactions - some types of fraud are tried as Class B felonies, which can carry up to 20 years in prison, plus exorbitant fines - in some cases, you may find federal penalties added on top. If a fraud crime involves using the mail, the telephone, and in some cases, the internet, you may open yourself up to federal charges because generally, more than one jurisdiction will then be involved in your activities, and when more than one jurisdiction is involved in a crime, federal law almost always applies.
Federal fraud charges can add between 1 and 5 years in addition to any state sentence, but the fines are the bigger problem for most people - depending on the specific nature of your case, fines for federal mail and wire fraud can reach up to $250,000. On top of that, federal charges are more likely to mandate restitution to the victim on a quicker schedule, with additional criminal charges potentially being added if you are unable to pay. These are incredibly serious charges, and you must be prepared to act fast if you find out you are charged.
Call a Fairfield County Fraud Attorney
Fraud can come in many different types of actions, but if you are charged, you need a skilled Stamford fraud attorney on your side who understands white-collar crime and is able to navigate the process for you effectively. The team at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has years of experience in these types of cases, and Attorney Weiner is well versed in the complex nature of this area of law. We are happy to try and assist you; contact our office today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.