Being charged with fraud in the state of Texas is a serious matter. A conviction can result in serious penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and probation. In addition, many fraud crimes can be prosecuted at the federal level, which can lead to more severe punishments. If you have been accused of fraud, it is crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Ceja Law Firm provides aggressive legal representation to clients throughout the greater Houston area and the state of Texas. Founding attorney Jose Ceja routinely handles white-collar crimes such as fraud and has a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes in state and federal court. When you become our client, you will have confidence in knowing that our legal team is in your corner.
What is fraud?
An individual or entity that intentionally deceives another to gain something of value (e.g. money or property), or to deprive the victim of a legal right, can be charged with criminal fraud. At Ceja Law Firm, we have extensive experience defending clients against a wide range of fraud charges, including:
- Bank fraud
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Healthcare fraud (Medicare/Medicaid fraud)
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Money laundering
- Mortgage fraud
- Securities fraud
- Tax fraud
- Telemarketing fraud
- Mail fraud/wire fraud
Under Texas law, activities such as forgery, writing bad checks, credit/debit card abuse, fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle, and rigging a public contest are also considered to be fraud. Because each case is unique, it takes a skilled fraud defense attorney like Jose Ceja to protect your rights and mount an aggressive criminal defense strategy.
Misdemeanor and Felony Fraud Charges in Texas
Fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature of the offense and the value of property or amount of money that was defrauded. In any event, fraud charges in Texas range from a Class C misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $500, to a first-degree felony, punishable by life in prison without parole.
Federal Fraud Laws
Fraud can be prosecuted at the federal level when the crime involves interstate commerce. This includes mail fraud — using the U.S. mail, or a private interstate carrier, to engage in fraudulent activity (e.g. mailing contracts, receipts, invoices or communications regarding a fraud scam) — and wire fraud — using wire (internet), radio, or television communications in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in fraudulent activity. Wire fraud is often charged in conjunction with white collar crimes such as identity theft and telemarketing fraud.
It is worth noting that federal fraud cases are investigated by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Because these agencies have unlimited financial resources and typically rely on aggressive investigative and surveillance techniques, it is crucial to have the powerful representation that Ceja Law Firm provides.
Defenses Against Fraud Charges in Texas
Although state and federal prosecutors have an unfair advantage over defendants in fraud cases, we have the skills and resources to level the playing field. Our legal team will conduct an extensive investigation to understand the circumstances of the fraud charges against you and then choose the best line of defense, which may include:
- Insufficient evidence — In criminal fraud cases, the prosecution must be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Our criminal defense attorneys will work to expose weaknesses or errors in the government’s evidence and move to have the charges dismissed.
- Lack of intent — To gain a conviction, the government must be able to demonstrate that you had criminal intent to commit fraud. If you have passed along information that you didn’t know was false, for example, we may be able to show that you lacked the requisite criminal intent to deceive.
- Non-Fraudulent Statement — To be considered fraudulent, a misleading statement must relate to an actual fact. If a statement is merely an opinion or a promise to take an action in the future, that statement may not rise to the level of fraud.
- Entrapment — Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to show that you would not have committed fraud unless you were coerced by law enforcement. Although surveillance techniques and sting operations are legal, entrapment is not.
Contact Our Houston Fraud Defense Attorney
At Ceja Law Firm, we know that a conviction for state or federal charges will have lasting repercussions. In addition to imprisonment and fines, the damage to your reputation may interfere with future employment opportunities, particularly for individuals in accounting, banking or finance. When your freedom and future are on the line, we will stand by you and fight to protect your rights.
Although we are committed to winning a dismissal or acquittal, we will carefully weigh the strength of the evidence against you and explore all of your options. In some cases, we may seek to have the charges and penalties reduced. Regardless of the circumstances, we presume that you are innocent and will always put your best interests first. If you are facing state and/or federal fraud charges, don’t go it alone. Contact our office today to speak with our criminal fraud defense attorneys.