As Sir Walter Scott wrote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Scott probably wasn’t referring to fraud per se, but the phrase is apropos. When it comes to fraud, there is no one size fits all when it comes to penalties. The consequences for a fraud conviction in Maryland depends on the amount of money or property stolen, and thus the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. If a person is arrested on federal fraud charges, the consequences may prove very serious indeed. For immediate legal consultation, contact us here.
Types of Fraud
Fraud covers a broad range of categories, from the passing of bad checks to counterfeiting. The most common types of fraud include credit card fraud, identity theft, obtaining services from a public entity under false pretenses, receiving bribes or kickbacks, forgery, embezzlement, destroying or altering a will after a person’s death, financially exploiting a vulnerable person – the list of deception for personal gain goes on. Many fraud laws are relatively broad, since people are coming up with ever new ways to deceive individuals, businesses and institutions and steal money. Fraud in which a person may face federal charges includes income tax evasion, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, healthcare fraud and insurance fraud.
Maryland Fraud Penalties
As with the type of fraud, the penalties for conviction depends upon the nature of the crime. For example, a person convicted of credit card theft or fraudulently obtaining a card faces up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. If the fraud involves counterfeiting a credit card, the individual faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. That’s the same penalty for the unlawful use of credit card numbers. Each prohibited use of a credit card is a separate violation, with a potential penalty of $1,000 per each instance. Keep in mind that credit card fraud may involve federal charges when the amount involved exceeds $1,000. In Maryland, the statute of limitation on fraud is three years. That means prosecutors can’t charge someone with the crime if the incident occurred more than three years previously.
Federal Fraud Penalties
Conviction on federal fraud charges can mean years in prison and substantial amounts in fines. When a credit card is used in interstate or foreign commerce in an amount exceeding $1,000 over the period of a year, for example, the potential consequences include up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Restitution is also a consequence of a felony fraud conviction. In another instance, conviction on charges of Medicaid fraud exceeding $1,000 may result in up to five years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. These are just samples of the types of penalties someone convicted on federal charges may face.
Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been arrested for fraud or any criminal offense, you need the services of an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney. Contact our office for a free initial consultation. We will evaluate your case and advise you of your options going forward.