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What is Fraud?

Fraud are crimes where deception or misrepresentation is used to perpetrate the crime. Common fraud charges are forgery, uttering a forged instrument, impersonating a law enforcement officer, obtaining goods or services by false pretenses, and issuing bad checks. 

Common Types of Fraud Crimes 

  • Forging a public record -  signing either another’s name or fictitious name on a public document (like a summons, tax document, etc.). 
  • Forgery & Uttering - forging another person’s name to a document to the prejudice of another’s right.
  • False Pretenses - unlawfully procuring goods, services, or money by misrepresenting a material fact in order to defraud the owner of the goods, services, or money. 
  • Issuing bad checks - issuing a bad check with the intent to defraud. This means that at the time the check was issued, the person must have the intent to defraud the person to whom the check was issued. This is a common fraud offense in Virginia. 
  • Identity Theft - using the identifying information of another person to misrepresent who you are, avoid arrest or prosecution, or unlawfully obtain credit.
  • Credit Card Theft - when a person takes, obtains, or withholds a person’s credit card or credit card number without their consent. 
  • Credit Card Fraud - when a person, without permission, uses a person's credit card or credit card number to make a purchase. 
  • Credit Card Forgery - when a person either makes a fake credit card, utters a fake credit card, or signs the name of the credit card holder without their knowledge or consent. 
  • Credit Card Factoring - When a person submits a false credit card transaction for payment by the issuer. Va. Code § 18.2-195.1

Other fraud offenses in Manassas include making a false application for a credit card, impersonating a police officer, and false statements to obtain property or credit.

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Misdemeanors vs. Felony Fraud in Virginia

Fraud offenses, like property crimes, are classified as both misdemeanors and felonies. The distinction between a misdemeanor and a felony often has to do with the dollar value related to the fraudulent activity.

What Are the Penalties for Fraud in Virginia?

Some of the penalties may include:

  • Forging a public record -  Va. Code § 18.2-168 prohibits the actual forgery of a public document and the uttering (attempting to employ as true) of the public document. This crime is punishable as a class 4 felony (2-10 years in prison). Many times individuals charged with this offense will have two charges for one document. The forging of the document is one charge, and the uttering (handing over) is a separate charge 
  • Forgery & Uttering - This is a class 5 felony (1-10 years in prison) in Virginia. Va. Code § 18.2-172 also prohibits obtaining a person’s signature by any false pretense or token
  • False Pretenses - Va. Code § 18.-178 punishes false pretenses as larceny. An amount of loss less than $200.00 is a class 1 misdemeanor, and an amount of loss over $200.00 is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison
  • Issuing bad checks - Value determines whether the case is a felony or misdemeanor (Va. Code § 18.2-181)
  • Identity Theft -  Va. Code § 18.2-186.3 outlines multiple ways a person could violate this law. The value of the loss to the victim dictates the seriousness of this offense, but most are often charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to 12 months in jail and a fine not more than $2,500.00)
  • Credit Card Theft - Credit card theft is punishable as Grand Larceny (up to 20 years in prison). Va. Code § 18.2-192.
  • Credit Card Fraud - If the total of goods purchased in a transaction are less than $200.00, credit card fraud is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the value is $200.00 or more, it is punishable as a class six felony. Va. Code § 18.2-195
  • Credit Card Forgery - Credit card forgery is a class 5 felony – Va. Code § 18.2-193

Strategic Defenses Against Fraud Charges

Depending on the offense you are charged with, various different defenses to crimes involving fraud can be employed. Many times the defenses focus on the intent to defraud. A person has to have the present intent to defraud in many circumstances in order to violate many of the fraud laws in Virginia. However, defenses are specific to the crime charged and the specific factual circumstances.

Like all other offenses, specific constitutional challenges can be brought to try and suppress evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. If successful, the prosecutor may not be able to prove the charge against you because the evidence suppressed was crucial to their case.

 Contact Our Manassas Fraud Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a crime involving fraud, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can discuss your options and possible defenses. Attorney Dischley has handled many cases involving fraud as both a defense attorney and prosecutor. He represents individuals charged with fraud in Manassas, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier, Stafford, and other surrounding counties. He also represents individuals charged with Federal Fraud crimes in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Contact Dischley Law, PLLC, today to schedule a free consultation with our Manassas fraud lawyer.

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