Fraud Crimes in Nevada: Everything You Need to Know
The recent arrests of FTX crypto exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried, alongside his two leiutenants, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, for alleged fraud crimes serves as a warning to everyone that fraudulent activity is not tolerated and will be punished.
While they aren’t being prosecuted in Nevada, the state has strict laws against fraud, with serious consequences if convicted. This article provides an overview of the types of fraud crimes commonly committed in Nevada, the penalties associated with them. We’ll also cover penalties for those convicted of fraud and common defenses against farud crime charges.
If you have been charged with fraud in Nevada and are looking for a qualified criminal defense attorney to represent you, contact The Defenders. Our experienced defense lawyers will provide you with the best legal advice and strategy for your situation, so that you can receive the justice you deserve.
What Exactly Does Fraud Mean
Fraud is a type of crime that involves the intentional deception of someone in order to gain an advantage. This could be for financial or personal gain, or simply to damage another person.
There are many different types or categories of fraudulent crimes and they can take many forms, including identity theft, mail fraud, insurance fraud and more.
It’s important to note that although there wasn’t any financial or property loss involved, it is still possible for those accused of fraud to be criminally charged.
Types of Fraud Crimes
In Nevada, there are various types of fraud crimes that can be charged. Below are some of the most common fraud charges alongside the penalties associates:
Auto Insurance Fraud
Auto insurance fraud is when someone intentionally misrepresents information in order to receive (higher) insurance benefits.
For example, you got into an accident, but then you bump up the price or estimate of a car repair from it in order to receive a higher insurance payout. Another example of auto insurance fraud is when you abandon your vehicle and report it as stolen.
If caught, auto insurance fraud is charged as a class D felony. This conviction carries 1-4 years in prison, fines of up to $5,000. Depending on the facts of the case, you may also be ordered by the court to pay restitution.
Mail fraud is defined as the illegal use of the U.S. Postal Service to commit a fraudulent act or scheme. For example, you mail out false advertisement in order to receive money from people who believe they are getting something of value in return.
Depending on the situation, convictions of mail fraud can result in up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine set by the court.
Identity theft is when someone uses another person’s personal information for their own gain. This could include stealing a debit card, using someone’s credit card information, or obtaining their social security number.
Identity theft is also often associated with other fraudulent activities. For example, applying for loans, credit cards or other benefits in another person’s name (bank fraud).
Depending on the severity of the offense, punishment for identity theft may range from one to twenty years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition, victims are entitled to court-ordered restitution as defined by law.
Bank fraud is when someone intentionally deceives a financial institution in order to obtain money, property or services. Examples of bank fraud include forging checks, using stolen credit card information and taking out loans under false pretenses.
It is often associated with other crimes such as wire fraud, mail fraud, and identity theft. Penalties vary depending on the severity of the offense, but convictions may result in up to 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
Wire fraud is when someone uses an electronic communication (like a phone, fax or the internet) to commit a fraudulent act. For example, you use the internet to solicit money from individuals for something that does not exist.
Remember those phishing emails that is often in your junk mail? You know what we’re talking about. The prince from another country who needs help transferring money.
That’s an example of wire fraud. This type of crime is considered a federal offense and those convicted may receive up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine set by the court.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is when someone uses another person’s credit or debit card information without their consent. This could include using someone else’s credit card to make purchases, stealing and then selling the information on the black market, or creating a false identity in order to obtain a new line of credit.
Depending on the severity of the crime, credit card fraud may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. However, most credit card fraud are prosecuteed as category D felony in Nevada—which carries penalties of 1-4 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and restitution to the victims.
Gambling and Casino Fraud
Gambling and casino fraud include any illegal activities associated with a gambling establishment. Examples of this crime can range from cheating at a game of poker to rigging slot machines for personal gain.
An example of an “inside job” could be when your best friend, who also works in the casino, tips you off that this particular slot machine is “loose.”
Gambling or casino fraud can result in fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to 1-6 years depending on the severity of the offense. Restitution is also ordered by the court to victims of these crimes.
Unemployment fraud is when someone knowingly makes a false statement or withholds information in order to receive unemployment benefits. Examples of this crime can include using someone else’s social security number to file for unemployment, lying about the amount of wages you earned while employed, or failing to report income while on unemployment.
Since the pandemic began, unemployment fraud have skyrocketed – such as the three men who fraudulently obtained a staggering $900,000. Submitting an application for unemployment benefits, or remaining eligible to receive those benefits while working at another job are also examples this type of fraud.
Convictions involving less than $1,200 is a misdemeanor, while anything higher is prosecuted a felony.
Mortgage fraud is when someone uses false information to obtain a loan or mortgage. This could include using someone else’s Social Security number to get a loan, lying about income in order to qualify for a larger loan, or falsifying documents in order to obtain the loan.
This type of crime can have serious consequences. First-time offenders are usually charged with a category C felony, while having a “pattern” of deceptive mortgage practices are chaged as a category B felony.
Category C felony for mortgage fraud carries 1-10 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and restitution. Meanwhile, category B felony can result in a prison sentence of 3 – 20 years, fines up to $50,000, and restitution.
Health Insurance Fraud
Health insurance fraud occurs when someone uses false information to obtain health care services or benefits from an insurance provider. This could include billing a health care provider for services not rendered, submitting claims for reimbursement for medical treatments that were not actually needed, or using another person’s identity to receive medical treatment.
Remember in the show Friends where Rachel broke her ankle and needed to get x-ray? Because Rachel didn’t have health insurance, they used Monica’s information instead. Well, that’s health insurance fraud.
Health insurance fraud is a category D felony and carries penalties of 1-4 years in prison, fines up to $5,000, and restitution.
Securities fraud is when someone uses deceptive practices in order to manipulate the stock market for personal gain. Examples of this crime can include insider trading, market manipulation, or issuing false financial statements.
Unscrupulous traders frequently attempt to manipulate the market price of a stock for their own monetary advantage. They spread false rumors and disseminate it through digital mediums such as emails or newsletters, before disposing off their assets once unknowing investors have been influenced by these erroneous reports.
This type of crime is usually charged as a category B felony and carries 1-20 years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, and restitution.
Workers Compensation Fraud
Workers compensation fraud is when someone knowingly makes a false statement or withholding information in order to obtain workers’ comp benefits. Examples of this crime can include filing for benefits for an injury that was not work-related, misrepresenting the severity of an injury, or working while collecting disability benefits.
But this doesn’t just cover individuals or employees. It also covers companies (employers and insurance carriers). For example, when employers fail to pay premiums for workers’ compensation insurance, this type of fraud also falls under this.
Workers’ compensation fraud is a category D felony and carries penalties of 1-4 years in prison, fines up to $5,000, and restitution.
Defrauding an Innkeeper
Defrauding an innkeeper is when someone knowingly avoids or attempts to avoid paying for goods or services rendered in a hotel, casino, or other similar establishments. Common examples include not paying for a hotel room, casino chips, or meals.
Depending on the value of the obtained goods and services, defrauding an innkeeper can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
- Value less than $1,200
- Up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 fine
- Value greater than $1,200
- Category D Felony
- 1-4 years in prison and up to $5,000 fine.
Common Defenses Against Fraud Charges
If you have been charged with fraud in any form, the most important thing you can do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney will be able to review the details of your case and determine what kind of defense may be available to you.
In many cases, fraud charges can be defended against with a lack of evidence or proof that the accused intended to defraud. Below are the most common defenses to fraud charges:
Lack of Intent
Having no intent is a common defense for fraud charges, as it requires the accused to have had an intention to deceive or defraud in order for them to be guilty of the crime.
Without this intent, the accused cannot be found guilty. An example of this would be if someone accidently uses someone else’s credit card and is unaware of the mistake until much later.
Another example would be if someone makes a mistake on their taxes and is unaware of it until the IRS notices. In either case, the person would not have had any intent to commit fraud and therefore could not be found guilty.
In order for someone to be found guilty of fraud, there must be sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime.
If the prosecution is unable to provide this evidence, then it is possible that the charges could be dropped or reduced in severity. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to review the evidence and determine if there is sufficient evidence for a conviction.
They may also be able to point out any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and use that to their advantage when defending against the charge.
Mistake of Fact
A mistake of fact defense can be used to defend against fraud charges. This means that the accused was not aware of the fact that what they were doing was wrong or illegal.
An example of this would be if someone buys a counterfeit item not knowing it is counterfeit and then resells it believing it to be genuine. In this case, the accused would have no knowledge of the fraud and therefore could not be found guilty.
In some cases, fraud charges may be brought against someone who has not actually done anything wrong. This can be due to a false accusation from someone else or malicious intent from the accuser.
An example of a false accusation for fraud charges could be when a disgruntled former employee makes a malicious and unfounded claim that their former employer committed fraud in the course of business. For example, the former employee might allege that the employer had defrauded them out of wages or benefits. The allegation might include claims that the employer created false documents or lied about the amount of wages paid.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
If evidence or statements were obtained in violation of the law during a criminal investigation, then a motion to suppress can be made by defense counsel. This would ensure that any illegally-obtained information is excluded from being shown at trial.
This could result in the charges against the accused being dropped or reduced in severity. In other cases, an unlawful search and seizure could be used to argue that the accused was not guilty of fraud due to a lack of evidence.
Victim of Entrapment
Entrapment occurs when someone, law enforcement agent or agent of the state, induces or encourages another person to commit a crime that they would not have committed otherwise. This can be used as a defense for fraud charges if the accused was lured into committing the offense against their will, rather than doing it of their own volition.
Sealing Your Criminal Record
If you are found not guilty of fraud, or charges against you are dropped, then it may still be possible to have your criminal record sealed. This would prevent potential employers from seeing any information related to the charge and could help protect your future job prospects.
An experienced attorney can provide advice about sealing your criminal record and walking away with a clean slate.
Charged with Fraud Crimes? Get an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney On Your Side
If you or someone you know has been charged with fraud, it is important to have experienced legal representation on your side. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the evidence against you and provide the best possible defense to fight the charges.
The Defenders are seasoned criminal defense attorneys who understand that each alleged crime has a unique set of circumstances surrounding it, and we are committed to thoroughly investigating each and every facet of the case to build the best defense possible.
Our defense attorneys know the procedures, the courtroom personnel, the judges, the jury selection process and the loopholes. We have a number of creative options available to us that can convince the court to dismiss or reduce the charges against you, and we will use every resource we have to vigorously fight for your rights.
Call The Defenders today for a free case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the possible penalties for fraud?
Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, you could face criminal charges such as a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted, you could be facing fines and jail time.
Can I avoid jail time if convicted of fraud?
Every case is different and it depends on the severity of the crime. An experienced attorney can evaluate your situation and provide advice about what options may be available to help avoid jail time.
Is there any way to keep my criminal record clean after being charged with fraud?
In some cases, it may be possible to have your criminal record sealed after a conviction or the charges against you are dismissed. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your case and provide guidance about this option.
What should I do if I have been charged with fraud?
It is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Defenders can help you understand the legal process, build a strong defense against the charges, and work towards a favorable outcome for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Nevada Fraud Crime Lawyers – The Defenders
At The Defenders, we understand the serious nature of fraud charges and will fight for your rights. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have a successful track record in defending clients against fraud crimes and know how to navigate the legal system.
It is important you contact The Defenders immediately so we can start creating an aggressive defense for your case. The Defenders delivers an honest and straightforward response to your charges while providing you personable and communicative involvement throughout the duration of your case. We’re aggressive when we need to be, compassionate when it counts, and always dedicated to your success. That’s what makes us The Defenders, a proud branch of the Richard Harris Law Firm.
We have the experience and knowledge you need to make sure you get the best judgment for your case. We are available day and night to start the process. Simply fill out our Contact Us form or call us at 702.333.3333.
You don’t have to go through this alone, call us today!