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What Legal Repercussions Might You Face if Convicted of Fraud

female handing over her credit card

What Does Fraud Mean in Texas Law?

In the state of Texas, fraud is defined as a deliberate act of deception, misrepresentation, or manipulation with the intention to harm another person or entity, usually for personal or financial gain. It can take many forms, such as credit card fraud, insurance fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud, and more.

What Are the Different Types of Fraud Charges in Texas?

In Texas, there are various types of fraud charges, each carrying its own set of penalties. Understanding these different types can help you better comprehend the severity of the charges you might be facing.

  • Credit card fraud, for instance, involves the unauthorized use of another person’s credit card information for personal gain. This can vary from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony, depending on the amount involved.
  • Insurance fraud, on the other hand, involves providing false information to an insurance company to get benefits or payments you’re not entitled to.
  • Securities fraud, also known as investment fraud, involves deception in the stock or commodities markets. This can lead to a state jail felony or a first-degree felony, depending on the specifics of the case.
  • Other types of fraud include identity theft, mail fraud, and mortgage fraud, each with its own set of penalties.

What Are the Long-Term Financial Implications of a Fraud Conviction?

A fraud conviction can have serious long-term financial implications. In addition to the immediate fines and restitution payments, you may also face ongoing financial challenges. For example, you may find it difficult to secure loans or credit due to your criminal record. This can make it challenging to buy a home, start a business, or even pay for education. Furthermore, if you’re ordered to pay restitution, this could mean a significant financial burden for many years. Restitution is a court-ordered payment you make to the victims of your fraud to compensate them for their losses. This could be in addition to any fines imposed by the court. In some cases, a fraud conviction may lead to asset forfeiture. This means you could lose property or other assets that were a part of the fraudulent activity. For instance, if you used your home as collateral for a fraudulent loan, you could potentially lose your home.

How Can a Fraud Conviction Impact My Life?

Beyond the immediate legal repercussions, a fraud conviction can have a profound impact on your life. It can affect your employment prospects, as many employers are hesitant to hire someone with a fraud conviction. It can also impact your ability to secure housing, as landlords often conduct background checks. Moreover, a fraud conviction can damage your reputation, causing personal and professional relationships to suffer. For example, if you’re a business owner convicted of fraud, you may lose the trust of your customers, suppliers, and even your employees.

Can a Fraud Conviction Be Expunged from My Record?

In Texas, expungement (also known as expunction) is a legal process that removes a conviction from your criminal record. However, not all convictions are eligible for expungement. Generally, you can only have a conviction expunged if you were acquitted, pardoned, or if the charges were dismissed.

Unfortunately, most fraud convictions are not eligible for expungement in Texas. This means that a fraud conviction can stay on your record permanently, affecting your life long after you’ve served your sentence and paid your fines. In some cases, you may be able to have your record sealed through a process called non-disclosure. This doesn’t completely erase the conviction, but it does limit who can access your criminal record. An experienced lawyer can advise you on whether this might be an option for you.

What Should I Do if I’m Wrongfully Accused of Fraud?

If you’re wrongfully accused of fraud, it’s essential to take immediate action to protect your rights. First, refrain from making any statements to law enforcement or investigators without a lawyer present. Anything you say can be used against you in court. Next, hire an experienced fraud defense attorney as soon as possible. They can help you understand the charges against you, gather evidence in your defense, and represent you in court. They can also advise you on the best course of action based on the specifics of your case. A fraud accusation is a serious matter that can have life-altering consequences.

How Can an Experienced Lawyer Help if I’m Accused of Fraud?

If you’re accused of fraud, it’s crucial to seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced lawyer can help in several ways. They can examine the evidence against you, challenge its validity, and potentially have it dismissed. They can also negotiate with prosecutors for a plea deal, which could result in reduced charges or penalties.

A skilled lawyer can represent you in court, presenting a strong defense on your behalf. They can also guide you through the complex legal process, ensuring you understand your rights and options. Being accused of fraud doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be convicted. With the right legal representation, you can fight the charges and protect your rights.

Can I Be Charged with Fraud If I Didn’t Benefit Financially?

Yes, you can still be charged with fraud even if you didn’t personally benefit financially from the fraudulent activity. The key element in a fraud case is not whether you profited, but whether you intended to deceive or harm another party.

For instance, if you’re accused of identity theft and you used someone else’s personal information to apply for credit cards, but you never actually used the cards or received any money, you could still be charged with fraud. The act of deceitfully obtaining the credit cards itself constitutes fraud.

Similarly, if you’re accused of securities fraud for spreading false information about a company’s stock, you could be charged with fraud even if you didn’t personally profit from the stock’s subsequent rise or fall. The act of intentionally disseminating false information with the intent to manipulate the market is fraudulent in itself.

An experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights. Call The Flanary Law Firm today at (210) 899-7566 for a free consultation!