Like embezzlement, fraud is considered a “white-collar” crime, meaning it is non-violent in nature. However, the penalties for fraud can be quite severe, depending on the circumstances of the case.

What Is Fraud?

Fraud is any act of deception or attempt to conceal or misrepresent information, usually for the purpose of personal financial gain. There are numerous acts that can be considered fraud, and it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific details of the case. Some of the more common acts of fraud include:

  • Tax fraud: attempting to reduce or eliminate taxes owed by misrepresenting income or deductions
  • Insurance fraud: making false claims or misrepresenting losses
  • Bank fraud: falsifying bank documents or loan applications
  • Credit card fraud: using stolen credit cards, cloned cards, or misrepresenting income information on credit card applications
  • Investment fraud: pyramid schemes, insider trading, or misrepresenting investors
  • Welfare fraud: lying on public assistance applications to receive benefits such as food stamps
  • Check fraud: writing a bad check, either intentionally or unintentionally

Penalties for Fraud

Because there are so many different ways to commit fraud, the penalties will depend on the specific details of the case. Generally speaking, if the value of property involved is less than $500, the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor, which can be punished by:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 fine

If the value is above $500, you may be charged with a felony. Minimum punishments for felony fraud conviction include:

  • Up to 10 years in jail
  • Up to $50,000 fine
  • Payment of restitution

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