Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower michigan.

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Defending yourself against a fraud charge

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Fraud is a common type of white-collar crime in Michigan. White-collar crime generally refers to non-violent crimes involving stealing money from someone else without their knowledge for your own personal use.

Michigan recognizes many different types of fraud. Some examples are bribery, embezzlement, extortion, identity theft and money laundering.

Potential fraud penalties

Fraud charges can be either federal or state charges depending on the situation. If a fraudulent transaction occurred across state lines, such as money transferred from a bank located in one state to a bank located in another state, the charges could be federal.

Regardless of whether the charges are state or federal, the potential penalties for a fraud conviction in Michigan are serious.

Depending on the type of fraud charge and circumstances surrounding the act, you could face a substantial fine and/or lengthy prison sentence. Additionally, certain types of fraud that are considered felonies come with mandatory prison sentences.

No intent equals no crime

This is why it is important to act quickly if you are accused of fraud. Proving a fraud crime is often challenging for the prosecution because most fraud-based crimes require proving intent. Lack of intent is a commonly asserted defense to a fraud charge. Perhaps you did not mean to defraud anyone and the situation was the result of an accident or mistake.

Additionally, Michigan’s fraud crimes are detailed. In addition to intent, the prosecution must prove each element of the crime.

What a felony conviction means

You cannot afford the consequences of a felony conviction. A felony record follows you around for the rest of your life, robbing you of employment, educational and housing opportunities. Your professional reputation may never recover if you are deemed a convicted felon.

Due to the difficulty prosecutors often face proving intent in a fraud case, you must learn the defenses available to you. There may be arguments you can use to get the charges lowered or dismissed or negotiate a favorable plea deal that will help you avoid the effects of a conviction.