What Type of Fraud Cases Does Your Firm Typically Handle?
We handle many different types of fraud cases. In the last few years, we have handled all types of fraud cases, including medical billing insurance fraud, automobile insurance claims, mortgage fraud, real estate transaction fraud, embezzlement, tax fraud (including false returns) in federal or state courts, business fraud, non-profit organization fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, workers’ compensation insurance premium fraud, employee benefit and payroll fraud, claims adjuster’s fraud (or insurance company employee insider fraud), money laundering, check fraud and forgery, and even in-home-support-person caretaker fraud. We’ve also handled submission of false evidence to government agencies or other type of entities, along with filing of false documents and perjury cases.
State and Federal Governments Seem to Be Focusing on Fraud Cases Lately, Perhaps Due to the Pandemic and PPP Loan Fraud. Has Your Firm Also Seen This Increase?
California has experienced hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud recently due to people committing unemployment fraud while serving time as California inmates. Both state and county jail prisoners have been applying for unemployment benefits and receiving them. In San Mateo County alone, there are more than 48 codefendants involved in a fraud case right now. California estimates that the defrauded amount has risen to something like $400 million.
While the state would normally run more thorough background checks, it has been under enormous pressure to handle these benefits, while the federal government has also expanded who was eligible for unemployment benefits. The review process only included a couple of questions, and employees were told not to be strict due to the necessity of people receiving aid quickly.
Are Most Fraud Charges in California Prosecuted at a Misdemeanor or Felony Level?
Typically, fraud in California is filed as a felony due to the monetary loss involved. Also, often times it’s due to multiple law enforcement agencies exerting a lot of time and effort to investigate the fraud. Finally, filing the crime as a felony provides the prosecutors with more leverage in settling these cases and seek restitution.
What Would Make a Fraud Charge Become a Federal Offense and How Does That Change the Seriousness of a Case?
Criminal charges would be more likely filed in federal court due to these factors: the extent of the conspiracy, the number of actors or suspects involved, and the amount of the alleged monetary loss, and the investigating agencies. If a federal agency itself was defrauded or if the federal government was involved in the reimbursement or payment of the defrauded funds, that will significantly increase the chances the case is filed in federal court.
A federal case is almost always more serious and carries higher exposure and longer custodial sentences.
If I Suspect I’m Under Investigation for a Fraud Offense, Should I Go to Authorities and Talk to Them Before They Come to Me?
You should always consult with an experienced attorney first to help you make that decision. Sometimes, you may certainly consider coming forward first as an option, but other times, you would absolutely not want to do that. At a minimum, you need to have an experienced attorney assess where you are on the target hierarchy of the prosecutors, as well as what benefit you may be to these prosecutors. After consulting with your attorney and you are then considering talking with authorities, your attorney must attempt to negotiate some type of immunity for you first.
Should I Hire an Attorney Before I’m Even Arrested or Does That Make Me Look Guilty?
In almost every situation, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney before any arrest. Your attorney can help you assess your criminal liability and determine if you are even under investigation before you consider cooperating with the prosecution. Also, your attorney can help attempt to negotiate some type of immunity, negotiate surrender terms, as well as even attempting to deter criminal charges from being filed against you in the first place.
You should never worry about whether hiring an attorney makes you look guilty. Hiring an experienced attorney can only help you. The fact that you are hiring an attorney cannot be used against you. Any legal proceeding, it is not admissible evidence against you, nor can any negative inferences be drawn against you.
For more information on Fraud Cases in California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 484-0906 today.