Virginia Fraud Lawyer
Fraud is a broad concept that encompasses many different crimes under Virginia law. Crimes involving fraud use some type of deception for illegal gain. The deceptive element in fraud cases makes these crimes very damaging to have on your personal record because any taint of fraud can interfere with employment, housing, and other aspects of life. This is why hiring an experienced attorney may be a smart thing to do.
If you are facing charges involving fraud, a skilled Virginia fraud lawyer can analyze the circumstances of your case and devise the defensive strategy designed to achieve the best possible outcome.
Different Types of Fraud Involves Varying Use of Technology
In the criminal statutes of the Virginia code, lawmakers set aside an entire chapter for fraud crimes, and these are grouped into ten separate articles classified by use of technology or other similarities. These general categories are:
- Forgery (public or private documents)
- Impersonation (such as impersonating a law enforcement official)
- False Pretenses (including exploiting mentally incapacitated individuals)
- Bad Check Laws
- False Representations to Obtain Property or Credit (includes identity theft and identity fraud)
- Offenses Involving Electronic Communication Devices (such as devices designed to illegal intercept transmissions)
- Offenses Relating to Credit Cards
- Miscellaneous False and Fraudulent Acts (such as possession of fake ID, false statements made to obtain sick benefits, etc.)
- Misrepresentations and Other Offenses Connected with Sales (includes false advertising, changing trademarks)
- Money Laundering
- Cigarette Delivery Sales
Within each of these ten articles, the Virginia code defines numerous specific offenses, often with the corresponding penalties. Many of these offenses overlap, so it is possible to be charged with two or more fraud crimes for the same incident.
Credit Card Offenses
Some of the more common fraud crimes in Virginia involve credit cards, which are defined to include debit cards and essentially any card that enables a cardholder to obtain goods, services, or anything of value, even if credit is not involved. (See Va. Code Ann. §18.2-191.)
Credit card theft occurs when someone takes a card or card number without the consent of the owner. A person may also be convicted of credit card theft for keeping a credit card that was lost or mis-delivered, if there is intent to use or sell the card. (Va. Code Ann. §18.2-192.) This crime refers to theft of a credit card, rather than theft committed through the fraudulent use of a credit card.
Credit card theft is treated as grand larceny, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
If a person signs a credit card that does not belong to them with the intent to defraud the issuer of the card, or makes an unauthorized purchase using a card that does not belong to them, that act is considered credit card forgery which is a Class 5 felony. (Va. Code Ann. §18.2-193.) Those convicted may be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
Get Help from a Virginia Fraud Defense Attorney Today
For many fraud crimes, it is necessary to prove that action was taken with the specific intent to defraud another person or entity of something of value. An experienced Virginia fraud lawyer may be able to demonstrate a lack of the requisite intent, depending on the circumstances.
To build the best defense, it is usually necessary to take prompt action to collect and preserve key evidence. So, it is wise for anyone facing fraud charges to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. For a free consultation to learn how our experience can help you, contact our office now.