Start here for a general overview of various fraud crimes and the laws and penalties associated with such acts.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, fraudulent activity can be either a state crime or a federal crime, or both. Find more information here.
The federal government penalizes various kinds of fraud specifically identified under federal laws.
In most states, fraudulent claims can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the nature and extent of the fraud committed.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Misrepresenting your employment status and claiming that you're looking for work when you aren't are examples of unemployment insurance fraud, which can result in criminal prosecutions.
Using a cell phone or a computer—or any device that sends information across state lines—in an attempt to defraud someone constitutes the federal offense of wire fraud.
Mortgage fraud occurs when someone lies, confuses, or intentionally omits important information during the mortgage application and approval process.
Health Care Fraud
Health care fraud is a crime in which someone uses lies, deceptions, or falsehoods when filing a health care claim in an effort to make a profit or to gain some type of benefit.
Securities fraud occurs when someone involved with a certain investment lies, cheats, or steals in an attempt to gain a financial advantage.
Federal Mail Fraud
Anyone who uses the U.S. mail in an attempt to engage in fraud runs the risk of being prosecuted under the federal mail fraud law.
Fraud and Bad Faith
Insurance fraud is commonly associated with fraud committed by people, it may also be committed by the insurance companies themselves.
Money laundering is criminalized under both state and federal laws.
Learn about embezzlement in general and find state specific information on the potential penalties.
When someone who has filed for bankruptcy makes false statements, files a false claim, destroys or conceals financial records relevant to the case, or gives or takes a bribe, that person has committed criminal bankruptcy fraud, a federal crime.
Immigration Marriage Fraud
A finding of marriage fraud can have both civil and criminal consequences for the immigrant, and criminal consequences for the U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitioner.
While identity theft crimes exist at both the federal and the state level, the vast majority of identity theft crimes are punished as state crimes.
Staged Auto Accidents
Some drivers will intentionally cause crashes with the goal of receiving insurance money for exaggerated vehicle damage and phony injuries.
Forgery is a serious offense, punishable as a felony in all fifty states and by the federal government.
When goods or services appear to originate from a legitimate source but are in fact unauthorized reproductions, the crime of counterfeiting has likely been committed.
Learn what conspiracy is as well as common defenses and penalties.
Welfare fraud is investigated and prosecuted as theft, and can result in serious fines and jail time.
Targeting a particular group to defraud is known as affinity fraud.
Most "knock-off" merchandise can violate trademark laws and lead to a criminal charge for those trafficking or manufacturing it.
Cheating the taxman can harbor serious criminal consequences. Follow the links below to learn more.
Using fraudulent or illegal means to avoid paying taxes is generally referred to as tax fraud or tax evasion.
A felony tax evasion conviction carries a maximum imprisonment of five years, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
Tax perjury itself and the act of aiding or assisting it are felonies. In both instances the defendant is subject to a maximum fine of $100,000.
Those who never pay their taxes and who catch the government’s eye, face stiff penalties.
Prosecuting Tax Violators
The IRS’s chief goal is deterrence. CI consequently investigates alleged tax violations that are likely to garner public attention.
The maximum prison term for a federal tax conspiracy is five years, but this punishment supplements the sentence for any crime committed through the conspiracy.
A conviction for tax corruption triggers a maximum imprisonment of three years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
State Sales Tax Crimes
State sales tax evasion is usually a misdemeanor but can sometimes become a felony depending on the unpaid amount.
Identity Theft Laws by State
Follow the links below to find information in your state regarding identity theft laws.
If you or someone you know has been arrested, you'll want to talk to a criminal defense lawyer to ensure the case is handled properly. With very, very few exceptions, defendants should not attempt to handle their cases on their own.