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DC Fraud Lawyer
Fraud is broadly defined as an act of deception that results in personal gain and/or that causes someone else to suffer losses or harm. There are different types of fraud offenses that are illegal under the laws of the District of Columbia. If you are charged with fraud, a DC fraud lawyer can provide you with assistance in understanding the charges against you, preparing your defenses, and mitigating any possible consequences. Call a criminal defense attorney in DC today for a free consultation.
Washington, DC Laws on Fraud
DC Code Section 22-3221 defines the offense of fraud. Under this Code Section:
- Fraud in the first degree refers to a “scheme or systematic course of conduct” that is designed to obtain property from someone else or defraud another person. This course of conduct must involve false or fraudulent pretenses; misrepresentations; or false promises. The fraud must lead to the defendant actually obtaining property, and/or the victim losing property.
- Fraud in the second degree refers to a “scheme or systematic course of conduct” that is conducted to obtain someone else’s property using fraudulent means such as false promises, misrepresentations, or false pretenses.
Making false promises as to future behavior can be considered a form of fraud if you do not intend to carry out the promised behavior or if you know the promised actions will not be performed. However, a prosecutor cannot establish your intent to commit fraud simply by showing that promises weren’t performed. The prosecutor has to show you knew that the promised behavior wouldn’t occur at the time when you made the assertions. Consult with a DC fraud lawyer to learn more.
Penalties For Fraud in Washington, DC
Code Section 22-3222 defines the penalties for fraud:
- Fraud in the first degree can result in fines of up to $25,000 or twice the value of the property obtained or lost, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, if the value of the property obtained or lost is $1,000 or more
- If the property in question had some value less than $1,000, fraud in the first degree can result in up to 180 days of incarceration or up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
- Fraud in the second degree can result in up to 3 years of incarceration or fines up to $12,500 if the scheme to commit fraud would have resulted in losses to the victim or gains to the defendant of $1,000 or more.
- Fraud in the second degree can result in up to 180 days of incarceration or up to $1,000 in fines if the property that was the subject of the scheme to commit fraud has some value but the scheme would have resulted in less than $1,000 in gains to the defendant or losses to the victim.
How a Washington DC Fraud Lawyer Can Help
A Washington DC fraud lawyer can assist you in exploring possible ways to defend yourself, including arguments that certain actions did not constitute a course of conduct, or that misrepresentations were accidental as opposed to an intentional attempt to defraud. Your fraud attorney in DC can carefully analyze the evidence against you and advise you on the best way to confront the allegations. Contact an attorney today to learn more about the legal options you have if you’ve been accused of engaging in fraudulent behavior in the District of Columbia.