The term “white-collar crime” refers to numerous types of illegal activities, all of which carry stiff penalties under conviction in a North Carolina criminal court. If you become subject to a criminal investigation, it’s best to start planning a criminal defense strategy, especially if an arrest has already taken place. The most common types of white-collar crimes are fraud crimes.
It’s important to understand what actions constitute fraud. This type of crime usually involves deception. When someone tries to deceive an individual or group of people, it might be illegal, particularly when the deception leads to financial gain. Understanding how the legal system categorizes fraud crimes, as well as what your rights are and how to defend them, can make it easier to navigate the criminal justice system if you are facing fraud charges in a North Carolina court.
Imposter scams are among the most frequently reported fraud crimes
Pretending to be someone other than who you truly are in the hope of swindling another person or group out of money is a form of fraud known as an “imposter scam.” You’d also be committing fraud if you lie about your identity to police after they have detained you. Many people in the past have falsely identified themselves to police, hoping to avoid investigation or arrest. In North Carolina, giving false identity to police may lead to misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the situation.
In recent times, imposter schemes often include using artificial intelligence (AI) systems to recreate someone’s voice. You might receive a phone call where it sounds like a family member in distress on the other end of the phone asking you for help and, usually, for money. This is one way people have used advanced technology to commit fraud crimes.
Sweepstakes fraud crimes are common throughout the country
Everyone likes to win prizes, especially when the prize is money. Many North Carolina residents and others have lost money, however, after falling for sweepstakes fraud crimes. Such crimes occur when someone receives notice of winning a cash prize or sweepstakes and someone tricks them into providing an account number or sending money to claim the prize.
You could wind up facing criminal charges for these activities as well
The legal category of fraud crimes also includes the schemes and activities shown in the following list:
- Healthcare scams, which aim to obtain a person’s Medicare or Social Security number
- Cellphone service schemes
- Online shopping scams
- False website/advertising scams
- Investment schemes
If you’re convicted of fraud crimes in North Carolina, you might serve jail time. For a misdemeanor, this can mean spending up to one year behind bars. For a Class C felony, a jail sentence can be as long as 10 or more years. Fraud convictions also carry substantial fines at both misdemeanor and felony levels.
Know your rights if you are under investigation for fraud
Do you have to let the police enter and search your home? What about your vehicle? Are you obligated to answer questions under investigation? The ultimate outcome of a criminal case may hinge on a defendant’s awareness of his or her rights, as well as knowing how to exercise and defend those rights in court. If you’re under investigation for fraud crimes, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible to navigate the criminal justice system.