In the state of New York, fraud is classified as an illegal action, wherein trickery or scams are used to gain an advantage over people or groups through dishonest means. For example, in the case of medical insurance fraud, perpetrators will obtain an advantage over their insurance provider by lying about the amount of injury that they suffered.
In most circumstances, fraud is committed in an attempt to earn some form of financial gain. Individuals violate the rules regarding fraud in New York whenever they willfully commit an act that allows them to take advantage of an undeserved or unfair benefit. In some cases, a conviction of fraud can also be issued by those who commit an act of trickery designed to harm another person.
Laws and Penalties
Because there are so many different types of fraud in New York, including insurance fraud, healthcare fraud, and even credit card fraud, the penalties for each can be quite varied. And although fraud is considered to be a white collar crime, it is also a serious offense that can lead to significant penalties. Often, the crimes that are associated with fraud lead to specific penalties prosecuted under the penal code statutes of forgery and perjury.
How a person is charged within a fraud case in New York will depend on the circumstances that surround the case. For example, the more injury that is done to a person or group as the result of fraudulent action, the more severe the penalty will likely be. What’s more, the value of the fraud, combined with the criminal history of the the person convicted of the crime, will be taken into account when determining sentences and other penalties. There are also some types of fraud that can be classed as an automatic felony offense, such as cyber fraud. Those convicted of felony-level fraud can be charged in both a New York state court and a federal court.
Most of the time, cases of fraud that are tried in New York will lead to a penalty that includes some jail time, and a fine. Often, the government will also seize any money or property that was earned as a result of fraudulent activity. In addition, the accused may have to pay restitution to those that were injured by the act of fraud, or may be required to undergo probation.
There are a number of defenses that can be used in the favor of a defendant when a fraud case is brought to the courts of New York. Most commonly, the defenses that are used in fraud related cases involve a focus on the matter of intent. For instance, if it is possible for the lawyer in question to prove that the defendants had no intention to defraud another person or party, they may be exonerated of the charges.
In regards to intent, the specific circumstances of the fraud will educate the defense. For instance, in a case of credit card fraud, it may be possible to argue that the defendant was not aware that the card used was fraudulent or stolen. In other cases, the defense might argue that the card was being used with the permission of the owner.
Another defense against the accusation of fraud, is one that suggests that the defendant is a victim of mistaken identity. As just because a case of fraud took place doesn’t mean that you are necessarily the guilty party.
Finally, entrapment may be used as a defense in some fraud cases. However, it can be difficult to prove that you only committed a certain act because of the actions of law enforcement.
Statute of Limitations
In New York, the statute of limitations regarding cases of fraud is currently held at six years. This means that if a case regarding fraud is not brought before the New York court, or a complaint is not issued within six years, then the individual accused cannot be brought to trial, penalized, or indeed punished for any actions relating to that specific, alleged fraudulent action. However, there are some circumstances and events that can place a toll on the statute of limitations for fraud. For example, if the fraud is connected to other crimes, then the statute of limitations may be lengthened. Similarly, the statute may be tolled if the defendant is outside of the country or state and must be brought back to New York in order for a trial to take place.