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What constitutes fraud in West Virginia?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | White Collar Defense

The phrase “white-collar crime” refers to various types of unlawful behavior that typically results in a personal financial gain to the perpetrator. Such crimes are almost always non-violent. The term “fraud” is associated with numerous schemes conducted in person, electronically, over the phone or in multiple other ways. A person accused of fraud in West Virginia may have a lot at stake, including a career, a license or certification, or his or her freedom and liberties.  

Fraud is basically any action that deprives another person or group of people of money, services, goods or property under false pretenses.  

Common types of fraud 

Fraud occurs in many different ways in West Virginia and throughout the country. The following list includes some of the most common categories where fraud crimes may occur: 

  • Credit card  
  • Postal mail 
  • Healthcare  
  • Voting 
  • Internet 
  • Taxes 
  • Elderly communities 

If you face accusations of committing fraud in one of these areas or another, you will want to begin building a strong defense right from the start. It takes months to fully adjudicate a case in criminal court. During that time, you’ll want to try to mitigate your circumstances as much as possible.  

What are the penalties for fraud? 

Penalty under conviction of fraud in West Virginia depends on several factors, including the value of the property, goods, money or services acquired through deceptive means. If you’re charged with defrauding someone for a value of more than $1,000, it’s a felony crime. You would receive a sentence of at least 12 months in prison or longer.  

A fraud conviction might also carry a penalty of a substantial fine, which can be as high as $2,500 in some cases. However, it cannot be more than that. Much depends on whether a conviction was for a misdemeanor or felony crime.  

What to do if the police arrest you and charge you with fraud 

There is an old saying in many Hollywood movies involving police that states, “You have a right to remain silent.” This is true in real life, as well. You do not have to speak during a police investigation. Doing so may cause you to say something that one can later use to incriminate you in a court of law.  

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you against self-incrimination. Beyond confirming your identity, you do not have to answer additional questions. The more you know about your rights ahead of time, the less stressful it might be to navigate the criminal justice system if you wind up facing fraud charges in court.