WHITE COLLAR CRIMES AND FRAUD

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Hinman Law Blog

White Collar Crimes and Fraud

White collar crime is a term used to describe “paper crimes” that involve dishonesty and/or stealing, such as credit card fraud, embezzlement, forgery, and uttering. You may be surprised to learn that a conviction for a crime of dishonesty can have even more of a stigma than a violent crime conviction when it comes to finding a job or maintaining employment. Employers are understandably less likely to hire anyone who has stolen or been convicted of Fraud or a crime of dishonesty. Additionally, in certain situations, crimes of dishonesty can be used to impeach your credibility on the witness stand if you were ever to testify in a court of law. If you are charged with a “white collar crime” or any crime of Fraud, your reputation is on the line. White Collar Criminal Attorney Hinman has extensive experience handling these types of cases, and will work hard to protect your record and your character, and minimize the damage that these crimes can cause.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 266, Sec. 37B, and is written broadly to include various fraudulent acts. Conviction under this statute can involve any of the following:

  1. Directly or indirectly making or causing to be made any false statement of material fact in writing regarding identity or financial condition in order to procure a credit card;
  2. Stealing, using, selling, or transferring the credit card of another person without that person’s permission or consent;
  3. Receiving a lost or stolen credit card and retaining it with the intent to use, sell, or transfer it without the owner’s consent;
  4. Selling or buying a credit card from a person other than the issuer or his authorized agent; or
  5. Signing a credit card if you are not the cardholder or not authorized by the cardholder.

The penalty for credit card fraud is up to 1 year in jail and/or a $500 fine. The court will likely require that you reimburse the victim for any funds that you used unlawfully.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is a very broad term, and includes any type of false or fraudulent claim made to an insurance company. Insurance Fraud is usually investigated in Massachusetts by the Attorney General’s Office and the Insurance Fraud Bureau. Examples of insurance fraud include false reports of theft, injury, or property damage. The penalty for Insurance Fraud is up to 5 years in state prison or, if the case stays in district court, a minimum of 6 months in jail and a maximum of 2.5 years. You will also be facing a fine anywhere between $500 and $10,000.

Motor Vehicle Accident Fraud

Motor Vehicle Accident Fraud is a serious crime that costs insurance company hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Motor Vehicle Accident Fraud includes any false or fraudulent insurance claim filed after a car accident. You can be convicted of this crime even if you are not the one who directly filed the claim. For an example, if you are an automobile mechanic and you fraudulently exaggerate the extent of the damage on a customer’s car, you can be charged with Insurance Fraud. Some examples of accident fraud are staged accidents, fake injuries, exaggerated injuries or damage to the vehicle, false reports of motor vehicle theft, false reports of hit and run accidents, and “jump-in” passengers who were not actually in the vehicle but are added to the insurance claim. The penalties are the same as Insurance Fraud, listed above.

Forgery

Forgery is the falsification, alteration, or counterfeiting of a document with the intent to injure or defraud someone. There are several ways that Forgery can be committed:

  1. By counterfeiting or producing what appears to be a genuine document, but is phony (a fake diploma, for example);
  2. By falsely filling in one or more important parts of a document (like a forged signature); or
  3. By altering, in a significant way, one or more parts of a document that has already been made out (such as altering the dollar amount on a check).

The penalty for Forgery depends on the type of document that was forged, but in most cases, the punishment is up to 2 years in jail or 10 years in state prison.

Uttering/Sale of Counterfeit Goods

Uttering is similar to Forgery, except that it pertains to the uttering or publishing a document, bill, deed, instrument, or document that has already been forged, altered, or counterfeited. To be convicted under this statute, you must have known that the document was falsified or altered, and you must have the intent to defraud or injure someone. An example of this crime would be selling fake licenses or phony diplomas. The penalty for this crime depends on the instrument that was forged, but generally speaking, you are facing up to 2 years in jail or 10 years in state prison.

If you have been charged with a White Collar Crime or Crime of Fraud in Wellesley, Boston, Newton, Acton, Westwood, Framingham, Dedham, Needham, Brookline, Wayland, Sudbury, Cambridge, or anywhere in Middlesex, Suffolk, or Norfolk County, please contact Criminal Attorney Hinman at 617-283-4480, or by using the form to the left.