It may seem like nothing more than a little white lie, something just short of the whole truth. Maybe it isn’t even a lie at all—only failing to fully disclose all of the information required. What seems like blurring the truth or making a small misrepresentation can quickly lead to criminal fraud charges when the fraud is perpetrated in order to gain a financial advantage or personal profit at the expense of another. Depending on the amount of money or value of property gained in the fraud, the crime may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, and a conviction can lead to years in prison as well as collateral consequences of a felony record. Like most white collar crimes, fraud may be charged as either a state or federal offense, depending in part upon how the scheme was perpetrated and who was the victim of the fraud.
If you have been accused of any type of fraud, your personal and professional reputations are at stake. You may be subject to criminal prosecution, and without experienced legal defense counsel on your side, you could be facing years in prison. At Phillips & Associates, our reputation as skillful negotiators and trial lawyers is built upon our tradition of successful white collar crime defense.
If you are facing state of federal fraud charges, you may be in for the most difficult battle of your life. Losing the fight may cost you your freedom, your business, and your personal relationships. We are here to fight for you, providing the strongest defense possible against the criminal charge or charges levied against you. Neither an error in judgment nor a false accusation should ruin your life. We can protect your rights and your future with skillful legal representation.
At its simplest, fraud is any intentional act of deception carried out for personal gain. Fraud is a criminal offense, but a fraud victim may also be able to pursue a civil claim against the perpetrator of the fraud. The types of fraud and the ways in which fraud schemes are committed are virtually infinite. Fraud can include false billing, hiding assets, underreporting income, collecting deposits without completing work, and more. In most cases, fraud is an attempt to gain unearned or undeserved income and benefits through misrepresentation, false claims, and other deceptions.
The types of criminal fraud and the ways of carrying out fraud schemes are as varied as the individuals who commit the crimes. Fraud may be conducted by a stereotypical seedy con man looking to gain a quick buck, or it may be perpetrated by an affluent and apparently reputable corporate executive. Even within the seemingly endless types of fraud, there are almost limitless ways of committing each offense. Examples of common types of fraud and methods for perpetrating the crime follow.
Health care fraud may be perpetrated by an individual subscriber, but frequently, the crime is committed by physicians who attempt to gain payment for services not rendered. Medicare fraud is a federal offense because Medicare is a federal program administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). SoonerCare is the Oklahoma Medicaid program, which is funded jointly by the state and federal governments.
Health care fraud is generally committed through false billing, but it may be carried out in a number of ways:
Medicare fraud is subject to prosecution under the federal False Claims Act among other statutes. The FBI reports that health care fraud costs the country approximately $80 billion per year. Because of the high cost of Medicare fraud, it is prosecuted vigorously and subject to harsh penalties.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) finds that a large percentage of income tax returns filed each year contain errors. When those errors appear to be intentional acts of deception, the IRS may conduct an audit or launch an investigation into the possibility of tax fraud.
Tax fraud occurs when an individual intentionally makes false claims on an income tax return in order to avoid paying taxes (tax evasion), reduce his or her tax burden, or obtain an unwarranted tax refund.
Examples of tax fraud include:
Unintentional mistakes are not likely subject to criminal prosecution, but a deliberate attempt to falsify tax returns to avoid paying taxes is a federal offense subject to significant financial penalties and years in prison.
A fraud scheme may be as simple as going door-to-door to collect money for fraudulent charities, or it may be as complex as multi-million dollar investment schemes or tax fraud. It may be conducted using high-tech equipment and internet resources, or it may use only the telephone or postal mail. Whether you have been accused of fraud as a state offense or a federal offense, finding skillful representation from an experienced white collar crime lawyer is critical to your defense. Do not hesitate to get the help you need to protect your business, your finances, and your reputation. Call Phillips & Associates today to schedule your free consultation with a leading fraud lawyer in Oklahoma.