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What do I do if I am facing fraud charges?

Georgia residents may not know that their state takes a hard stand against crimes of all kinds. This means that those facing criminal charges could face heavy fines, prison times and other penalization based on the type of crime they are accused of. When someone is accused of committing a crime that crosses state lines, that person may face prosecution by the federal government, which can carry even harsher sentences.

As Georgia readers of our Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog may have read recently, white collar crimes cover a wide variety of crimes and people can unknowingly find themselves accused of committing these crimes. Even though there may be no physical harm to the alleged victims in this type of crime, the financial and emotional loss are enough cause for levying serious penalties against the accused.

A closer look at white-collar crime and fraud

The term white-collar crime is generally used to refer to nonviolent crime that are most often committed in commerce situations for financial gain. According to the FBI, white-collar crime costs the U.S. more than $300 billion annually. White-collar crime is a category of crime that includes various forms of fraud, including financial fraud and securities fraud; embezzlement; tax evasion; and a variety of other financial crimes.

Fraud occurs when a party deliberately deceives another party with the intent to cause damage, which is often financial damage, to the other party. Penalties for white-collar crimes such as fraud often include fines; forfeitures of property improperly obtained; restitution to victims; home detention; supervised release; and imprisonment, among other possible penalties. The penalties for white-collar crimes and fraud crimes are unquestionably serious.

What is an indictment?

Atlanta readers of our blog may have read about the recent indictments being issued in multiple fraud cases and how this may speed up a trial. However, some readers may be unsure of what that actually means and why this is so. According to one news source, an indictment is issued by a grand jury. Again, the term grand jury is misleading because a grand jury does not actually decide on someone’s guilt or innocence. Rather, a grand jury decides whether to pursue charges against an individual or not.

Usually, only the prosecutor is present in front of the grand jury members of 23 people. After explaining the relevant law to the grand jury, the prosecutor works with them to collect evidence and listen to testimony. A grand jury can view almost any evidence they wish to and are not subjected to the same rules of admissibility as a normal jury. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in confidentiality, which protects the accused, if the case does not end up going to trial.

What are white collar crimes?

Readers of the Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog may have become familiar with the terms "fraud," "embezzlement" and "identity theft." However, they may not know that all these crimes, including a variety of other ones, all fall broadly under the head of "white collar crimes." White collar crimes are typically motivated by financial gain and involve crimes that are committed through deceit. Many of the common crimes touched upon on in this blog are encompassed by this term.

Fraud, the crime of deceiving someone for monetary gain, is perhaps the most common type of white collar crimes, but even fraud has many different categories, including securities fraud, mortgage fraud and insurance fraud. If an executive knows some confidential information about the company he works and takes advantage of this knowledge, like selling his stock, he may be guilty of insider trading, a type of securities fraud. If someone lies on their insurance application for the purpose of illegally collecting on an insurance policy, this may be considered insurance fraud.

Union treasurer accused of embezzling from postal union

Georgia criminal charges have the potential to change someone's life permanently by affecting their employment, their relationships, their investments and their future legal battles as well. This is why criminal charges should be taken seriously, and the accused should try to prepare their defense as thoroughly and quickly as possible. Even if someone thinks they might be facing charges soon, they should start considering whether they want to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney or not.

These may have been the thoughts going through an American Postal Workers Union official was charged with embezzlement in Atlanta recently, after another worker pleaded guilty to similar charges last year. However, the newspaper reporting the story has not made any connection between the two people.

175 count indictment for Atlanta woman accused of embezzling

Theft can be of many types, not just entering someone's house and taking their possessions from them. Embezzlement is a type of theft where the alleged thief has been given possession of property or assets for the purposes of managing or monitoring it but then supposedly misappropriates the funds for their own personal and unlawful gain. Embezzlement most usually occurs in employment settings.

A Georgia woman has been accused of embezzling money from her employer and was indicted on 175 counts earlier this week. The counts include racketeering, theft and forgery.

Man indicted on criminal tax violations

Tax revenue is used by the federal government to support a variety of programs. Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service takes collection of taxes very seriously. If Georgia residents fail to pay their taxes, submit fraudulent returns or have other tax code violations, then they can face federal criminal charges. These charges can have serious penalties. One case has recently highlighted how serious tax code violations can become for an individual. In this case, a 64-year-old elected official has been indicted on tax violations and other felonies. This man is accused of accepting bribes while working as a county commissioner. According to prosecutors, these bribes included land, cars and cash worth over $950,000. However, officials claim that these financial benefits were never disclosed on his tax returns. Furthermore, the man is accused of failing to report income from a business he co-owned.

Therefore, the man has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, subscribing to a false and fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, attempting to evade payment of tax and others. For the tax related crimes, the man is facing between three and five years in federal prison on each count. In addition to the prison time, the man could also face fines up to $250,000 on each count.

Healthcare fraud allegations against Georgia woman

Even though allegations of a crime are just that -- mere accusations of suspicion of committing a crime -- they have the potential to ruin someone's life. Accusations can affect the accused's livelihood, relationships and future prospects if not dealt with properly and in a timely manner. The sooner the accused starts working on their defense and dealing with the issue at hand, the quicker they can return to their normal life.

Health care fraud allegations can be especially serious, because they carry severe penalties, as the accused may be punished not only with prison time for fraud but in some circumstances also for theft. These are the penalties a Georgia woman faces for allegedly claiming she lived in another state to receive TennCare benefits.

Accused faces serious penalties for pretending to be flight crew

Though the basic definition of fraud involves the crime of intentionally deceiving someone for personal financial gain, there are many different types of fraud that have additional elements, with each one having to be proven in order to find the accused guilty of the crime. Where the fraud takes place over phone lines or utilizes electronic communications, for instance, the criminal charge can amount to wire fraud. One of the elements that must be proven to find someone guilty of wire fraud is proof that it was reasonably foreseeable that the accused would use wire communications.

An Atlanta man is currently facing three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy for allegedly booking airline reservations by pretending to be a flight crew member. According to investigators, he allegedly booked hundreds of flights on various carriers, costing the airlines hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Man accused of identity theft, stealing thousands from banks

Gone are the days when theft only referred to robbery or physical possession of stolen property-in today's technologically advanced era theft of thousands of dollars can take place without ever leaving the confines of one's own home. Among the various types of theft, the one growing at the fastest rate in the nation may be identity theft. This is when someone's personal information-social security number, PIN numbers, credit history-are obtained either by illegally accessing government or financial institutions or through stealing mail, wallets and debit or credit cards.

Just because it does not sound as threatening as a robbery, identity theft is a very serious crime and carries serious penalties because it robs victims of their peace of mind, money and time. Victims are often clueless about the theft until they see the charges on their bills. This may be why a city in Georgia's police force is asking the supposed victims of an alleged 57-year-old identity thief to step forward and identify themselves.

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Attorneys Nick Lotito and Seth Kirschenbaum have experience representing people in criminal cases. If you have been accused of a crime, contact them today in Atlanta, Georgia. (404) 6388-2000. http://www.atlanta-criminal-law.com

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