If you or someone you know is facing fraud charges, you’re probably racked with questions like:
What can I do to minimize the consequences of the arrest?
What does the prosecution need to prove to obtain a conviction?
Or more simply:
What do I do next?
Before taking the next steps, it’s crucial to get yourself prepared to deal with the issue practically and rationally. If you find yourself distraught and emotional, finding composure is key to making sure you’re handling the situation correctly.
Let’s go through some of the details of fraud to help you identify what exactly the charges involve and consider what you need to do to protect yourself.
What is fraud?
In the broadest sense of the term, fraud can be shown to occur when a statement of fact in truth, turns out to be false. In order to prove to a court that fraud has occurred, the person who made the statement must be shown to have known at the time that what they said was in fact false, or must have “good reason” to know that the statement was not true.
Fraud is not simply telling a lie, or making an untrue statement. It’s action-based.
To truly constitute fraud, the person who was told the statement in question must have taken some kind of action based on the misrepresentation they were told was true, and as a result, suffered a loss based on that notion.
Losses can be financial, property-based, or opportunity-based.
What should I do if I find myself under investigation or charged with fraud in Wisconsin?
As with any charge that constitutes serious consequences, the first step to protecting yourself and your assets is to secure skilled legal counsel.
Apart from this, it’s extremely important to exercise your right to remain silent until you’ve had a chance to speak with an attorney in order to avoid incriminating yourself.
Keep in mind that even when police appear to be friendly, it’s their job to gather all evidence that can help get a conviction.
Similarly, if you find yourself under investigation or suspect you might be, never allow law enforcement to search your property without a valid search warrant.
If, for instance, officers arrive at your door asking to enter your residence, or even insisting that they must, you have every right to refuse them entry unless they’re carrying a search warrant.
Law enforcement officials are experts in overwhelming suspects with emotion. Even if they’ve gathered evidence and presented it to you, do not under any circumstances confess to any wrongdoing unless an experienced criminal defense attorney recommends it.
What are some common defenses in cases of fraud?
Three of the most common defenses commonly seen in Wisconsin fraud cases include:
Like I said earlier, a lie does not necessarily constitute fraud. To actually be fraud, a misleading statement needs to be connected to an actual fact. An expression of opinion, for example, is not considered fraudulent.
Absence of intent to commit a crime
A fraud conviction requires the prosecution to prove there was intent to deceive.
If you’re able to show a judge and/or jury, for instance, that you had accidentally used someone else’s credit card to make a purchase, the outcome is completely different than if the intent to deceive that person intentionally was established.
This defense comes into play when the government compels someone to commit a crime they would not have committed without intervention. Creating an opportunity to commit a crime, however, is not considered entrapment. Consult an attorney to evaluate your case to determine if entrapment may be a possible defense.
If you’ve been charged with fraud or suspect you’re currently under investigation, it’s crucial to secure skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. Contact an experienced Madison criminal defense attorney Patrick Stangl today for a free consultation.