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You have been arrested and charged with fraud. What now? For many people, fraud charges come as a surprise. Unlike other activities that most people know are illegal (such as selling cocaine or assaulting a police officer), “fraud” is a general concept that is often not well understood.
In broad terms, “fraud” refers to any practice that results in obtaining something of value through deceptive means or the use of false pretenses. Falsifying financial information on a mortgage application is one example. But, there are numerous other examples as well; and, under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (and various other state and federal statutes), many types of fraud have the potential to lead to criminal prosecution and life-altering criminal penalties.
If you are facing fraud charges in New Jersey, it is imperative that you seek experienced legal representation right away from skilled New Jersey fraud lawyers. Many fraud charges carry the potential for substantial fines and long-term imprisonment, and avoiding the life-changing consequences of a conviction requires the advice and representation of a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., many of our attorneys have decades of experience representing criminal defendants in New Jersey, and together our defense team offers centuries of proven results in high-stakes criminal matters.
Our New Jersey fraud lawyers represent individuals and organizations charged with all types of fraud-related offenses. Contact us today for a confidential assessment of your case involving allegations of:
In most, if not all cases, proving criminal culpability for fraud requires proof of “intent.” In other words, if you did not intend to defraud a person, company, bank, government agency or other institution, then simply committing acts that would otherwise constitute fraud does not amount to a criminal offense.
As with all elements of criminal charges in New Jersey, in fraud cases, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s intent “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that the government’s attorneys must convince the jurors that you intended to commit fraud with 99 percent certainty. As a result, if you can raise any questions about your subjective intent at the time of the alleged offense, this can be enough to protect you against a conviction at trial.
However, preventing the prosecutor’s office from proving intent beyond a reasonable doubt is not necessarily as straightforward as it may initially seem. There are a number of ways that prosecutors can prove intent to defraud, and a confession or “smoking gun” email or text message is not necessarily required.
Our New Jersey fraud lawyers are highly-skilled at challenging the government’s evidence of intent; and, if this is a potential defense in your case, we will pursue every available strategy for preventing the government from meeting its burden of proof.
Most fraud offenses are classified as either disorderly persons offenses, fourth-degree indictable offenses or third-degree indictable offenses under New Jersey law. If you have been charged with a fraud-related offense, it is critical to determine the specific allegations against you and the specific penalties that are on the table. This will not only help you understand the severity of your case, but it will also help to clarify the most-effective defense strategy for your case.
Potential penalties for disorderly persons offenses, fourth-degree indictable offenses or third-degree indictable offenses under New Jersey law include:
While challenging the prosecution’s evidence of intent is one way to defend against criminal fraud allegations, it is by no means the only potential defense to fraud. Even if you are confident that you did not intend to commit fraud, it will still be important to identify and assert any other defenses that you may have available. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the defenses that our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers may be able to assert on your behalf include:
Forgery is considered a type of fraud defense in New Jersey; and, in most cases, it is prosecuted as a third-degree indictable offense. Under Section 2C:21-1 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice:
“A person is guilty of forgery if, with purpose to defraud or injure anyone, or with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, the actor:
“(1) Alters or changes any writing of another without his authorization;
“(2) Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act or of a fictitious person, or to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed; or
“(3) Utters any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified in paragraph (1) or (2).
“’Writing’ includes printing or any other method of recording information, money, coins, . . . credit cards, . . . access devices, and other symbols of value . . . or identification. . . . This section shall apply without limitation to forged, copied or imitated checks.”
If you have been arrested with fraud or charged with a fraud-related crime in New Jersey, the single most important thing you can do is to engage legal counsel immediately. You need to protect yourself, and the best way to do this is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you and speak with the police and prosecutors on your behalf. While much of what you see on television and in movies is fictionalized, it is true that anything you say can be used against you, and you need to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your defense. In addition to speaking with a New Jersey fraud lawyer as soon as possible, you should also:
Maybe, but at this point it is too early to tell. An arrest is not a conviction, and right now you need to avoid making any assumptions about your guilt or innocence. When you engage our defense team to represent you, we will thoroughly evaluate your case and provide you with a straightforward assessment of the defenses you have available. Once you know what you are up against, then you can start thinking about the types of outcomes you can expect at trial.
If you have been charged with fraud in New Jersey, you are facing fines and incarceration, and you need to do everything possible to protect your future. Here are five reasons why you should choose the New Jersey fraud lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.:
For more information about how the New Jersey fraud lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can defend you against charges of fraud, please contact us now to schedule a confidential case assessment. You can call 1-877-HELMER1 to request an appointment at any of our 16 convenient office locations, or send us your contact information and a member of our defense team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.