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What to expect if charged with fraud

North Carolina residents who are facing criminal charges have a lot on the line. This is especially true if they find themselves charged with committing fraud — which can be a state or federal offense, depending on the size and scope of the crime. If charged with fraud, what can you expect to happen from here on out? 

The thing with fraud is that criminal and civil laws cover it — meaning that, on top of the criminal charges you’ve found yourself facing, you could also end up having civil lawsuits filed against you by your alleged victims.  

The criminal side of things 

As far as the criminal side of things goes, as previously stated, you could face state or federal charges. Fraud becomes a federal offense when a certain amount of money is involved or when the crime occurs across state lines. There are various types of fraud. The most commonly seen are: 

  • Wire fraud 
  • Credit/debit card fraud 
  • Insurance fraud 
  • Forgery 

All involve intentionally defrauding an individual or entity for your personal gain. Intent is the keyword here. 

The civil side of things 

Victims of crimes may receive some level of compensation through the criminal court system, as accused individuals often must pay restitution to victims, but it is rarely enough to cover all their losses. They may seek further relief by filing civil claims in state court. If they wish to do this, they will need to file their claims before the statute of limitations runs out. 

What can you do? 

What you do in the hours, days, weeks and months after you find yourself charged with fraud is going to make or break your case. Remember your rights. You have the right to: 

  • Remain silent 
  • The presumption of innocence 
  • Information 
  • Defend yourself 
  • Counsel 

The last one is particularly important. The sooner you seek help addressing the matter, the better off you’ll be. With the right help in your corner, you can fight the charges, seek a reduction in charges or seek alternative sentencing. You can also address any civil claims that come about by either fighting them outright or seeking a settlement out of court. If things do not go your way, know you also have the right to appeal any decision handed down in criminal or civil court. 

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