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The term fraud often brings to mind high-profile cases against big bankers and industry titans in which people have lost their life savings, retirement accounts, and financial freedom. In reality, just about anyone can commit or fall victim to fraud, and either way the consequences are often severe.

Speak with a distinguished criminal attorney if you have been charged because fraud offenses should not be taken lightly. If you were recently charged with fraud, representation by a Mountain Brook fraud lawyer may be critical to achieving a positive result in your case.

Fraud Charges in Mountain Brook

Mountain Brook fraud lawyers have seen numerous fraud-related offenses that could result in misdemeanor or felony charges. These include credit card fraud, identity theft, forgery, and passing worthless checks. In addition to criminal charges for the perpetrator of fraud, it is common for their victims to seek retribution in civil court as well.

The central connection among the various types and components of fraud is an intent to deceive or use deception to gain something of value from another person. If the other person relied on the deception and suffered some injury as a result, the offending party may be guilty of a crime. In the context of fraud, injury does not refer to physical harm. Instead, it means the victim or victims lost something of value in the form of money, goods, or services.

State vs. Federal Charges

A charge of fraud occurring in Mountain Brook can result in criminal prosecution from the state of Alabama or the federal government, depending on the nature and severity of the charges. If the alleged fraud occurred in Mountain Brook but did not impact a federal agency or anyone outside of the state, the case will be adjudicated by the Alabama state court system.

If, however, the plaintiff in a fraud case is a federal agency or program or a federally insured bank, or if the charge incorporates even one person beyond Alabama state lines, it becomes a federal case that may be prosecuted by the federal government. While court processes in state and federal cases are similar, the penalties between the systems can vary significantly.

Classifying Criminal Elements of Fraud Offenses

The criminal classification of a fraud charge is dictated by the details of the alleged offense. For example, forgery may be charged as either a misdemeanor offense or a felony. Forgery in the third degree is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by fines that cannot exceed $6,000 and incarceration for up to one year.

However, forgery in the first degree is a Class B felony, and can be punished with fines of up to $30,000 and between two and 20 years of imprisonment. The seriousness of a forgery charge is escalated depending on what document is forged and the impact to businesses or enterprises.

After being charged with fraud, the next few steps you take in approaching your case may make all the difference in its ultimate result. If one of those steps is consulting with a Mountain Brook fraud lawyer, you may achieve a much more favorable resolution than you would on your own.