Defenses to an Accusation of Consumer Fraud
The accusation of consumer fraud by a prosecutor is extremely serious. Nevertheless, there may some defenses available that an aggressive Chicago consumer fraud defense attorney may put forth on behalf of a client who is facing such charges. These include:
- Entrapment – in criminal law entrapment occurs when the government (by way of a law enforcement agent) induces an otherwise innocent person to commit a crime that would not have been committed but for the inducement. Because courts frown upon this conduct, it often is a defense.
- Insufficient evidence – in criminal law prosecution bears the burden of proving the elements of the charge. If this occurs, the trial or appeals court finds the prosecutor did not provide enough evidence. If this occurs at trial, the case is often dismissed; should this finding occur on appeal, the court would order a reversal of the trial court’s decision.
- Lack of intent – specifically, the act of consumer fraud requires the intent to deceive. Intent is, therefore, one of the elements of the crime that the prosecution must prove to establish the charge. If the prosecution is unable to prove the accused’s intent to commit fraud, then the case can be dismissed.
If you or someone you know has been accused of consumer fraud, or any other white-collar crime, reach out to an experienced Chicago consumer fraud defense attorney right away.Types of Fraud
Both state and federal laws prohibit consumer fraud. The penalties for someone convicted of consumer fraud can vary based on the type of fraud and the amount in question. Some common types of consumer fraud include, but are not limited to:
- Bankruptcy fraud – generally, bankruptcy fraud occurs when it is proved that the accused 1) concealed assets to avoid forfeiture; 2) intentionally filed incomplete or false forms; 3) filed forms multiple times through false information or real information in varying states; or 4) a court-appointed trustee was successfully bribed.
- Identity theft – a more common occurrence in today’s online world, identity theft occurs when private identifying information (such as social security number, date of birth, address, etc.) is obtained by another and used for financial gain of another.
- Ponzi/pyramid schemes – these include many of the investment structures that came to light during the economic recession. In a ponzi/pyramid scheme, investors are promised (and receive) high profits on their investments. Early investors are paid with money received by later investors and, in reality, no investments are actually made.
- Healthcare/Health insurance fraud – this type of fraud may occur in several ways, including providing “free” products to consumers while charging insurance companies for the unnecessary items; performing fake or unnecessary examinations on non-patients and billing them to Medicare or Medicaid; submitting bills for services that were never performed; and double-billing for the same service.
If you or someone you know has been charged with consumer fraud, or any other criminal offense, contact a knowledgeable Chicago consumer fraud defense attorney today. There is no doubt that government has a legal team that will work hard to prosecute your case; you should have a skilled and aggressive consumer fraud defense attorney on your side that will fight to defend your case. The law office of Steven Goldman has decades of criminal defense experience, both state and federal, in criminal cases from the trial through the appellate levels. Our legal team will work hard to put the best defense forward. Call (773) 484-3131 or (847) 215-2600 today to learn about your rights and schedule an initial consultation.