Colorado Takes Fraud Seriously – But Charges Can Be Beat
Being charged with fraud can be incredibly frightening. After all, it is a word that most of us associate with big-time financial scams and names that will live in infamy.
Like Bernie Madoff, Enron, or the Lehman Brothers. These people and businesses have been burned into our collective consciousnesses due to the scale of their financial crimes and how many people they hurt.
Fraud charges should be taken seriously, as they come with severe consequences. Depending on the nature of the fraud you are being accused of committing, it is possible that you may be looking at the possibility of years in prison, exorbitant fines, and other penalties that will negatively impact the rest of your life.
Remember, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years for his crimes. He may be an extreme example, but even a fraction of that sentence would be devastating to just about anyone.
However, one thing that you should not do is panic. Jacob Martinez has handled all kinds of fraud cases in Denver and across the state, and he knows what it takes to help you achieve the best possible outcome. That may mean fighting to get your charges and consequences reduced. It could result in having charges dropped or dismissed. In rare cases where an investigation has not yet resulted in charges, he may even be able to prevent those charges from ever being filed in the first place.
You’ve Been Charged with Fraud in Colorado – What Exactly Does That Mean?
While most people possess a general understanding about what fraud is, that does not mean that you fully know how the law in Colorado defines this act – or what types of criminal behaviors can constitute fraud.
At the most basic level, fraud must involve:
- An entity misrepresenting an important event or fact
- A victim believing the misrepresentation
- A victim acting on the misrepresentation
- A victim losing money or property due to acting on the misrepresentation
If that sounds like a broad definition, it is. Because of this, fraud covers quite a few different types of acts under the law.
Bribery. Using something of value to gain influence in the performance of official duties. Bribery is defined as a type of fraud because the victims of the act are being defrauded of their right to official services that are loyal and honest.
Typically, bribery is understood to be giving an official something so that they will act in the way that the giver wants. However, it is important to understand that, under the law, bribery also covers offering, receiving, or soliciting something of value as a means of influence as well. In other words, both the entity offering the bribe and the entity receiving or soliciting it can be charged.
The bribe could be to get the official to do something… or it could be to get them to not do something. The act they are bribed to commit could be a separate fraudulent activity or any other act that violates their lawful duty.
Commercial bribery is a specific type of bribery that has the goal of influencing the decision of a business. Typically, the victim of this type of bribery is a business organization that had no knowledge of the bribe and did not consent to it.
Illegal Gratuity. The red-headed step-child of bribery, illegal gratuity is when someone gives, offers, receives, or solicits something of value in return for an official act that has already occurred. In other words, where a bribe is basically saying “I’ll give you this if you do this for me,” an illegal gratuity is someone saying “thanks” for something that has already been done.
Conflict of Interest. This is when an entity acts on behalf of a separate entity without telling the second entity that they have a potential self-interest or bias related to the activity which could lead to an adverse outcome for the entity being represented. On its own, conflict of interest is usually not a prosecutable criminal offense. However, if this “conflict” causes economic or financial loss for the represented entity, that’s a kind of fraud.
False Statements and False Claims. There are three ways for this fraud to occur:
- Someone falsifies a material fact.
- Someone makes a representation that is false or fictitious.
- Someone files a claim that is false or fictitious.
Additionally, they must do these things willfully and knowing that they are being false, and their lies must result in economic or financial loss for the victim of the falsehood.
Extortion. Using an official position and/or threats or force to get something from another entity.
Mail and Wire Fraud. Using pretty much any kind of communication devices, including sending mail, to engage in fraudulent activity.
Conspiracy. When two or more people agree to commit or cause a crime to be committed and at least one of the conspirators does something overt to further the conspiracy. One of the most frustrating things about conspiracy is that it can be (and often is) attached to just about any other crime where more than one person was involved in the planning or commission.
Embezzlement. When someone in a position of trust takes the money or personal property of another entity that they are in possession of. Typically, they will attempt to hide their acts of theft by moving other money or property around.
Failure to Report a Federal Felony to Appropriate U.S. Law Enforcement Authorities. The title of this is a bit deceiving. It is not enough for someone to simply know about a fraudulent act and neglect to report it – they would need to actively attempt to conceal the fraud by engaging in acts like changing, destroying, or hiding records; suppressing evidence or causing others to do so or withhold information; or making statements to investigators that are false.
Fight Fraud Charges with a Knowledgeable Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see, there are many different acts that can potentially lead to being charged with fraud. One big similarity between just about all of them, though, is that the consequences of being convicted tend to be incredibly serious. Most fraud is charged at the felony level, and there is almost always the possibility of prison time and high fines.
Do not let a charge of fraud destroy your life and future. Jacob Martinez not only knows what it takes to protect your rights and bolster your chances at getting the best possible outcome in these types of cases, he has actually done it. Over the course of his career, Mr. Martinez has helped countless Coloradans to successfully battle fraud charges, and he is ready to lend his skill and experience to your case as well.
You need to act fast though. When you get Jacob Martinez on your team may be the difference between having your charges reduced – or not. Or possibly never facing charges at all.
Stop waiting. Reach out to our office right now.