What Are Types of Fraud and Their Consequences?

December 17, 2021


The crime of fraud is treated very seriously in Pennsylvania and can have severe consequences if you are charged and convicted. Criminal fraud is when a person engages in a scheme or plan to cheat and/or steal something from another, either money or something else of value. It is illegal in Pennsylvania for someone to deceive another based on false representations, with the intent to cause someone legal detriment. Depending on the type of fraud and the amount of money involved, a criminal conviction for defrauding someone can come with a significant time in jail.

Common Types of Fraud

There are many types of fraud that fit within the simple definition of criminal fraud. Here are the most common seen in criminal defense law practice:

  • Mail fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Wire fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Check fraud
  • Charity fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Welfare fraud
  • Forgery
  • Credit and/or debit card fraud
  • Perjury
  • Pyramid schemes
  • Internet fraud
  • Cyber fraud

This is a general list of fraud, but there are different kinds within this broad list that might involve specific technologies. No matter what the vehicle of fraud is being used, the following elements must be met for prosecutors to successfully charge someone with fraud:

  • False representation of a material fact.
  • Made by an individual who knew the fact was false.
  • A statement that was made with the intent to defraud someone.
  • A person relied on the false material fact.
  • Based on this reliance, the person suffered actual harm or damages.

What to Do if You Are Charged with Fraud

Being criminally charged with fraud is very serious and can result in significant jail time and fine, depending on the type of fraud and the amount of money involved. If you are the suspect in a fraud case, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal fraud defense lawyer. Here are some things to consider and do if you were charged with fraud or might be a suspect in a criminal fraud case:

  • Immediately hire a criminal defense lawyer so that they can protect your rights and be your representative in communicating with the police and prosecutors prior to any formal arrest and charge.
  • You should never speak to the police if you believe that you might be a suspect in a fraud crime. The police are not your friends. If they invite you to the police station to just have a chat and to get some information, do not do it. They already believe you are guilty and are just trying to get more information to secure your conviction. The only time you should voluntarily speak to the police is after consultation with your lawyer and with that person sitting by your side.
  • Do not talk to anyone about the facts of the alleged crime, whether it is with friends or family. Those people could potentially be compelled to testify against you, depending on what you have told them or mentioned in their presence. The only person you should speak to about the alleged crime is your criminal defense lawyer.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Help Clients Charged with Criminal Fraud

If you have been charged with the crime of fraud or even just suspected of it by the police, the best course of action is to hire the West Chester criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes. We are here to protect your rights and to make sure you are not wrongfully charged and convicted. Having the right lawyer on your side can be the difference between your freedom and spending time in prison. Call us today at 610-431-7900 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our offices located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve all communities of Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.

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