Dupage County Lawyers
 

Fraud

Illinois Fraud Crimes Attorneys

Fraud crimes can be prosecuted as a state and/or as a federal offense and may result in both a felony conviction and a lengthy term in prison.  If the fraud involves government institutions, such as in the case of tax fraud, immigration fraud, Medicaid or Medicare fraud, federal charges become involved, which increases the possibility of longer prison time and larger fines. Prosecutors have become extremely zealous about pursuing financial crimes, often by charging each transaction as a separate criminal offense.

Potential penalties for fraud are based on the dollar value of the property or financial loss. The higher the loss amount, the longer the possible jail time and the higher the possible fines. Since some fraud crimes are subject to mandatory minimum sentencing — a set amount of time that must be served in federal prison for committing a federal crime — it’s essential to get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to defend against these charges.

The skilled and experienced Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation for clients facing fraud criminal charges.  We know the courts and the criminal justice system, and how to plea bargain, negotiate guidelines and recognize when to take your case to trial.  We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your individual situation and find the best way to defend your rights and liberty.

Types of Fraud

There are many methods used to criminally defraud individuals, but they all involve intentionally deceiving others for personal gain. Often the fraud involves use of the Internet, phone or mail, or industries like insurance, securities, banking, medical insurance, or credit card companies. The following are some of the most common types of fraud crimes:

  • Auto insurance fraud — any deception committed against an auto insurance company for financial gain. Common schemes include vehicle dumping (disposing of a vehicle by leaving it somewhere, then claiming it was stolen), exaggerating repair costs after an accident, and fraudulently claiming airbag or windshield replacement.
  • Check fraud — using checks to unlawfully acquire funds that belong to someone else, often by writing a check for insufficient funds or on a closed account.
  • Counterfeit fraud – passing off any fake good, service, or material as an authentic article, including counterfeiting money, or goods such as fake handbags, clothing, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Credit card fraud – includes making false statements to get a card; possession, use or sale of someone else’s card; using counterfeit, forged, or expired cards,
  • Fake IDs – using someone else’s identity or creating a new identity in order to defraud others.
  • Forgery – forging documents, credit cards, a subscription or currency in order to defraud others.
  • Fraudulent vehicle registration — registering in areas with lower insurance rates to avoid higher premiums in the actual area.
  • Gambling fraud — falsely claiming that internet sports or casino gambling services are legal, or fixing gambling results and engaging in fixed games like three card monte.
  • Healthcare fraud — the filing of dishonest health care claims in order to turn a profit. Schemes include: obtaining unneeded covered prescription pills and selling them on the black market; billing for care that was never given or filing duplicate claims; altering the dates or description of services; billing for a non-covered service as a covered service; modifying medical records; prescribing unnecessary treatment.
  • Identity theft — the manufacturing, counterfeiting, alteration, sale, and/or use of identity or other fraudulent documents. Utilizing personal information such as social security number, name, credit card number or banking information without consent for the purpose of seeking financial gain.
  • Insurance fraud — any act committed with the intent to obtain a benefit from an insurance provider which is not entitled. Also, when an insurer knowingly denies a benefit that is due to the claimant.
  • Securities fraud — also known as stock or investment fraud, is a deceptive practice in the stock or commodities markets that induces investors to make purchase or sale decisions on the basis of false information
  • Senior fraud – any practice to deceive and fraudulently extract money from elderly individuals.
  • Unemployment insurance/workers comp fraud — willfully making a false statement or concealing information to receive or prevent someone from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Examples include working while allegedly disabled and not reporting income, falsely claiming a job-related injury, and claiming a non-work-related injury.
  • Welfare fraud — the deliberate abuse of the welfare system to unlawfully receive public funds by providing false income or health information.
  • Visa fraud— the sale, provision, or transfer of otherwise legitimate visas, misrepresentation of reasons for traveling and forgery or alteration of a visa.

Punishments for Fraud

Penalties for fraud vary, depending on factors which include the specific conduct, state or federal offense and the extent of the damages suffered by the victim.

For example, Illinois penalties for identity theft are:

Dollar AmountOffenseJail Term Fine
$300 or belowClass A MisdemeanorUp to a year in jail$25,000
$301 to $10,000Class 3 FelonyUp to 5 years in state prison$25,000
$10,001 to $100,000Class 2 FelonyUp to 7 years in state prison$25,000
$100,001 and higherClass 1 FelonyUp to 15 years in state prison$25,000


Defenses

While the penalties for conviction for fraud are severe, keep in mind that the prosecutor has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  An experienced fraud defense attorney can often find ways to have computer data or financial documents excluded, on grounds such as obtaining information through an unlawful search or in violation of the Miranda Act, or based on procedural or substantive grounds such as duress, entrapment, or ignorance.

Because of the mandatory minimum sentences, it is essential that people accused of fraud act quickly when preparing their defense. It may be possible to get sentencing departures if an offender cooperates with an investigation. An experienced attorney can explain how this works and help determine what would be the best option.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

When you are accused of fraud, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find.  The Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process to come up with an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.

We are aggressive litigators and will work with you to answer all your questions and make sure you fully understand the facts surrounding your case and what you can do to mitigate penalties.  We represent clients in DuPage County, Cook County, Will County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Woodridge, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation and begin preparing a response to any accusations of fraud.

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