Common Fraud Scams in Michigan
Every year, thousands of people are victims of different types of fraud. With the rising prominence of the Internet and the volume of personal information uploaded to the web, it has become easier for criminals to prey on others. As such, this has led to an increased focus on preventing common fraud scams as well as increased pressure to prosecute scammers. Unfortunately, right here in Michigan and throughout the United States, there are also countless individuals wrongfully convicted of being part of a fraud scam.
If a federal prosecutor has charged you with fraud, make sure to contact the fraud defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates today. Below, you can find more information about some common fraud scams and how we can defend against federal charges.
Identity theft is perhaps one of the most common of all fraud scams, and it affects around 15 million Americans annually. Generally, identity theft involves the taking of another person’s identity in order to perform fraud or another criminal act. Some common forms of identity theft include:
- Mail fraud
- Cyber scams and phishing
- Check forgery
- Medical identity theft
Generally, before an individual is charged with identity theft, he/she is placed under investigation by either state or federal prosecutors. If the alleged crime(s) occurred across state lines, there may is a higher chance that federal prosecutors will investigate the individual. Therefore, it is highly recommended to contact a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in both state and federal court immediately when you know that you’re under investigation.
Nigerian Letter and Advanced Fee Fraud
The Nigerian letter fraud scam, also known as “419” fraud combines impersonation fraud with a variation of an advanced fee scheme (when someone promises a reward but the “target” must pay a fee beforehand he/she can receive that reward). Often, this type of fraud involves an individual posing as a self-proclaimed government official or royalty trying to transfer money illegally out of Nigeria, but to do so, the offender asks victim to provide bank account information or a small money transfer.
Some attempts at “419” or other advanced fee scams include:
- Promise to send money or products
- Offer to allow participation in a special deal
- Request to help remove money from a country in political turmoil
- Promise to find financial arrangements
Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud
There are many situations that could constitute health care or health insurance fraud, including medical equipment fraud, “rolling lab” schemes, services not performed scams, and Medicare fraud. Because health care and health insurance, in general, can be quite complex and convoluted, it can be fairly easy for even intelligent and diligent individuals to unwittingly take part in this type of fraud. For instance, the victim could sign a blank insurance form or give a blank authorization form to a health provider to bill for services rendered.
Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes
Ponzi and pyramid schemes can be very complex and, often, these schemes can involve large dollar amounts or a substantial number of victims. In both of these types of scams, the con artist pays dividends or other shares (such as in an investing setting) to earlier victims in order to provide an appearance of legitimacy. In other words, the money that the victim invests is used to pay the dividends for an earlier investor. As such, the victim’s money does not go towards the targeted investment as promised.
Market Manipulation Fraud
Market manipulation is commonly known as a “pump and dump” scheme. In this situation, the fraud perpetrator(s) creates artificial buying power for a targeted security. The offenders then artificially increase the trading volume for the security to increase its price. This part of the fraud is known as the “pump.” When the security has reached a certain price, the offenders rapidly sell their shares of the security (the “dump”) to acquire illicit gains at the expense of third-party investors.
Call Grabel & Associates When Accused of Fraud
Fraud is a very serious issue in state and federal courts. Because many fraud scams are punishable by state and federal laws, a person charged with fraud can also be prosecuted under both jurisdictions. Furthermore, even if you didn’t personally receive benefit from the alleged fraud scam, you can still be prosecuted if the court can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you willfully took part in a fraud scam.
From a criminal defense perspective, however, it is important to remember that the prosecution has the burden of proving that fraud was committed. Our fraud attorneys at Grabel & Associates will, therefore, provide a comprehensive defense that covers every angle. Depending on the alleged charges, some or our defense strategies may include:
- Insufficient evidence
- Absence of intent to commit a crime
- Proving that statements were non-fraudulent
If charged with a fraud scam, or if you discover that you’re under investigation for fraud, make sure to call our criminal defense attorneys immediately. For a free consultation at Grabel & Associates, call today at 1-800-342-7896.