Fraud and Financial Crimes (White Collar Crime)

Are You Facing Financial Fraud Charges?

Financial fraud can involve several hundreds of dollars to several billions of dollars. It is the deceptive and unauthorized taking of money or property of another person, business or government and using it for your own personal gain. Often white collar crimes involve a position of trust - like the treasurer of the local school board, the teller at the local bank, the Army soldier tasked with overseeing government contractor funding or the CEO of a major corporation.

Anyone can be tempted to take just a few dollars here or a few dollars there when keeping the books or handling the accounting. Often, a scheme of financial fraud will be uncovered when the person involved takes time away from work and another person will have to cover for them while they are out. Then, the scheme unravels. The numbers don't add up and an investigation is launched into the missing funds.

The best defense in a white collar crime investigation is having an attorney on your side as soon as you know you are suspected of having committed or otherwise been involved in a federal offense (of which there are many).

Aggravated Identity Theft

Aggravated identity theft is defined under 18 U.S. Code § 1028A. In general, the law defines aggravated ID theft as using, transferring/giving, or having in one’s possession the identification of another person. If you are convicted of aggravated ID theft, you face prison time of up to two years, and possibly more than that, depending on the circumstances of the case.

What makes aggravated ID theft “aggravated” is when ID theft is perpetrated in an effort to commit another crime, including:

  • Embezzlement
  • Theft of public funds
  • Impersonating a U.S. citizen
  • False statements in order to obtain a firearm
  • False statements to perpetrate fraud (such as mail, bank, wire fraud)
  • Immigration offenses, such as creating a false ID card
  • ID theft to commit an offense related to Social Security benefits

There is also a separate “terrorism offense” under 18 U.S. Code § 1028A, in which a person commits aggravated ID theft when the theft occurs in order to commit or help facilitate an act of terrorism (the potential punishment under this provision is a possible five years in prison).

If you have been accused of aggravated identity theft, you are likely also facing other federal charges that will make potential punishment (if you are convicted) worse. It is important to obtain legal counsel as soon as you can. Call 800-760-9071 now to speak with federal defense attorney Patrick Roberts, of Roberts Law Group, PLLC, based in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Computer/Internet Fraud

When computer and Internet crimes involve allegations of Internet fraud such as hacking, identity theft, banking theft or virus attacks, investigators will often seize computers to review e-mails and online activity. During these investigations, it is possible for one's rights to be unfairly trampled by law enforcement.

At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, we defend those charged with committing Internet fraud in both state court and federal court. We represent individuals accused of Internet fraud, white collar crimes and other computer crimes, including:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Insurance fraud
  • Investment fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Online auction fraud

These types of fraud are often accomplished through hacking, spoofing, phishing and creating malware or other forms of a computer virus - all of which are often accompanied by additional criminal charges.

Experienced in handling all types of Internet crimes, Roberts Law Group, PLLC understands how to challenge Internet fraud charges. Because it is possible for hackers to use "zombie" networks, we'll look at whether the prosecution can prove that you were at your computer when the illegal act was committed, as one example. We know how to deflect attempts by investigators to solicit incriminating statements and what forensic tests to perform to challenge the prosecution's allegations.

If you've been accused of an Internet-related federal offense, call 800-760-9071 now for a consultation.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud generally consists of allegations that you have made unauthorized charges on another person’s account. In reality, however, credit card fraud is quite broad in scope. The Federal Trade Commission says there are many different types of credit card fraud, ranging from “low tech dumpster diving to high tech hacking.”

Federal law punishes a variety of behavior relating to credit cards, from actual use of a stolen credit card to conspiracy, attempt, and transportation.

Allegations of credit card fraud may involve:

  • Skimming: Retrieving credit card information through an unauthorized machine attached to an ATM or other terminal.
  • Hacking through open wireless networks: Retrieving credit card numbers (or other sensitive information) over the computer via public network.
  • Phishing: Creating and sending email or text messages that look as though they came from the victim’s bank or other financial institution, along with a request for credit card numbers and other information.
  • Stolen cards: Simply using the stolen credit card itself to make online and offline purchases of good and services.

The federal offense of “fraudulent use of credit cards” is covered under 15 U.S. Code § 1644. This law, for example, comes with potential punishment of a fine up to $10,000 and prison time up to 10 years.

If you have been accused of the unlawful use of a credit card, it is important to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. Consult with federal defense attorney Patrick Roberts, of Roberts Law Group, PLLC, by calling 800-760-9071 today.

Insurance Fraud

We defend our clients against all types of insurance fraud charges. The cases we handle involve:

  • Life insurance
  • Healthcare insurance
  • Auto insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance

Two of the most common types of insurance fraud involve healthcare and auto, both of which are detailed below.

Healthcare Insurance

Fraud charges involving healthcare insurance is most commonly associated with Medicare/Medicaid fraud, but is somewhat unique in that it can be committed by both the individual claimant/beneficiary under a policy as well as the healthcare provider or healthcare business. In some cases, the health insurer itself can face federal charges. Common cases involve:

  • Prescription drug fraud on the part of individual patients/claimants
  • Providers who bill for medical treatment that was not actually performed
  • Providers who over-bill for medical treatment, or submit claims for medical treatment that was not necessary in the patient’s case

Auto Insurance

There are two primary examples of auto insurance fraud: (1) staged accidents and (2) overstated claims. These cases may involve:

  • Making a second claim for the same personal injury
  • Making a claim for an injury that wasn’t caused by the car accident
  • Overstating loss of income and/or property damage
  • Making a claim for healthcare treatment that never happened

If you have been accused of any type of insurance fraud, call 800-760-9071 today to speak with federal defense attorney Patrick Roberts.

Healthcare Fraud (including Medicare/Medicaid Fraud)

The healthcare business is increasingly under the government's shadow. In other words, it is important that your organization remain in compliance with the various federal regulations. If not, you risk a federal investigation and possible charges for healthcare fraud.

Take the Stark Law, as one example.

Under the Stark Law governing self-referrals, a physician cannot refer Medicaid/Medicare patients to other colleagues if the physician or the physician's family member has a financial interest in doing so. Referrals are a routine part of a doctor's life, yet some referrals can easily cross the line into a federal violation, even without the physician being aware of it.

At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, we defend clients - doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, healthcare business owners and executives - against both government investigations and charges of fraud.

Our cases involve:

  • The anti-kickback statute
  • Medicaid and Medicare fraud
  • False claims
  • Government audits

If you are under investigation (the best time to get an attorney involved) or have been charged with healthcare fraud, call 800-760-9071.

Money Laundering & Wire Fraud

Conducting transactions that hide the source of money gained through criminal activity is considered money laundering. You can be charged with money laundering for just about any type of action, although charges are often connected to other allegations of illegal activity, such as cases involving drug trafficking or business fraud.

Federal indictments generally include a money laundering count simply because of evidence of cash transactions and suspicious bank deposits. And any professional who interacts with the public and handles fund transfers - lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers, real estate agents, etc. - is open to a money laundering charge simply by accepting cash over a specific amount.

Money laundering charges often accompany charges of wire fraud and mail fraud. These charges alone can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison upon conviction.

Distributing documents in the mail to defraud someone of money or property is considered mail fraud. Distributing these documents via the Internet, e-mail, fax or other electronic media is considered wire fraud. Money laundering cases may involve:

  • Identity theft
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • False advertising, including telephone or fax machine marketing schemes
  • Internet crimes and online auction fraud
  • Pyramid schemes

Because wire fraud and mail fraud often involve acceptance of cash transactions, it is not uncommon for money laundering charges to accompany alleged fraud. If you have been accused of money laundering or a related crime, call 800-760-9071 now.

Mortgage Fraud

According to the FBI, mortgage fraud is a “growing crime threat that is hurting homeowners, businesses, and the national economy.” Mortgage fraud generally involves a misstatement or misrepresentation in regard to a real estate transaction. Those who face mortgage fraud charges are typically “insiders” – those who work in the real estate industry, such as bankers and loan officers, real estate appraisers, mortgage brokers, even attorneys.

The FBI and other investigative agencies typically conduct an investigation before bringing charges (as what happens in other types of fraud cases). You may not be aware that you are already under investigation, which is usually the best time to get a defense attorney involved.

One example is home foreclosure defense services, in which the homeowner pays for help in defending against foreclosure proceedings or for help in modifying the terms of the mortgage. In these situations, the homeowner often pays a flat fee that can be thousands of dollars, yet the homeowner does not actually receive any assistance.

At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, we defend clients accused by the government of perpetrating a variety of mortgage fraud offenses, including:

  • Home foreclosure
  • Equity stripping/skimming
  • Mortgage loan modification
  • Loan origination
  • Property flipping
  • Bailout schemes on the part of builders, i.e. conversions to inflate the price of condominiums
  • Air loans involving real property that doesn’t exist
  • Short sales

If you have been accused of any type of mortgage fraud, hire a defense attorney as soon as possible. For a free consultation with Roberts Law Group, PLLC, call 800-760-9071.

Securities Fraud

An investment fails and investors start making accusations. Unusual patterns of suspicious trading or investment behavior are found to encompass a prolonged period. It does not matter how investigators are first alerted to securities fraud; what matters is that you are under investigation. The Department of Justice, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) aggressively investigate investment fraud and have virtually unlimited resources to back their investigation.

If you have been charged with securities fraud or are under investigation, it is essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and resist attempts on the part of investigators to portray your actions in a criminal light.

We counsel and represent stockbrokers, financial advisers and investors accused of:

  • Churning stock or excessive trading
  • Making unsuitable investments
  • Ill-advised bundling of investments
  • Using misleading or fraudulent sales practices
  • Ponzi or Madoff pyramid schemes
  • Violating fiduciary duties
  • Pumping and dumping
  • Over-concentrating assets in only a few funds or investments
  • Using offshore accounts to inflate reported assets
  • Backdating stock options
  • Insider trading

To establish securities fraud, the prosecution must prove that you intended to defraud your client, that you violated your fiduciary responsibilities and that you acted contrary to generally accepted industry standards and what the current market dictates.

In defending our clients, we place their decisions within the context of market realities at the time. We carefully examine market conditions, looking at trends and taking the time to reconstruct what happened in order to show that your decision made sense and was in compliance with your fiduciary duties, state and federal law.

To arrange a consultation, call 800-760-9071 now to speak with federal defense attorney Patrick Roberts.

Tax Fraud

Tax investigations can be extremely stressful. If the IRS believes that you have committed some kind of income tax fraud, it will use its network of government resources to conduct an audit and will prosecute if they find evidence of tax fraud or tax evasion.

At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, we help those who are under investigation for tax fraud. When clients come to us early on in an investigation, we can often help them avoid jail and heavy fines. In other instances, we may be able to redirect the focus of an investigation or prevent IRS agents from acting prematurely and without cause.

Suspicion of income tax fraud and tax evasion is taken very seriously. If the IRS uncovers what it believes to be fraud or tax evasion, the response is typically swift and severe: assets are seized, bank accounts frozen and businesses shut down.

But, generally, the IRS' goal is to make sure that those who owe pay. For this reason, the IRS is more inclined to work with someone who steps forward on his or her own free will and admits to owing back taxes or misreporting income. While a fine may be levied, in general, IRS attorneys defer prosecution in such cases, requesting probation instead of prison.

If, however, back taxes or fraud is discovered through an IRS audit, prosecutors typically seek heavy fines and a prison sentence. We help businesses and clients step forward and negotiate a solution with the IRS before criminal charges are filed.

You cannot be found guilty of tax fraud simply because you owe taxes. It has to be proved that you knowingly acted with criminal intent to defraud the government. Misreporting income or claiming deductions you should not have may be an honest mistake and should not be punished with a felony conviction.

The cases we handle may include:

  • Failing to file tax returns
  • Misreporting business income
  • Underestimating income
  • Using false receipts
  • Using someone else's Social Security number or other tax identification number
  • Claiming ineligible deductions or false depreciation
  • Failing to report income in offshore accounts
  • Sales tax or payroll tax fraud
  • Making presentations to the government in the form of proffers
  • Navigating the ethical dilemmas a client may face such as retention of his or her clientele
  • The efficient manner in which to oversee the search of our client's records and related documentation
  • The parallel proceedings with professional organizations resulting from an allegation of committing a white collar crime
  • The most effective manner to represent not just large corporations but also the small corporation or individual
  • Effective trial preparation and jury selection
  • Conducting our own investigation, separate and apart from the respective government agency

A misunderstanding of the tax code and income tax evasion law might result in a pattern of income tax reporting by a business that looks like fraud, but actually is not. At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, we present evidence and eyewitness testimony when necessary to challenge and undermine the claims of the IRS.

Call 800-760-9071 to speak with Patrick Roberts, of Roberts Law Group, PLLC, based in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Call Me If You've Been Accused of a White Collar Crime

You may believe that you can talk your way out of false accusations of financial fraud. Unfortunately, many people who attempt to explain their side of the story actually make things worse. Your employer's investigators, the police and federal agents are not on your side and may twist your words against you. We strongly suggest that you contact a lawyer immediately if you are under investigation for financial fraud.