New York Scheme to Defraud Defense Attorneys
Schemes to defraud can take a myriad of forms and they can affect a broad array of industries, interests, positions. For instance, a fraudulent investment scheme that promises big returns while investors’ money is being diverted to other purposes may constitute a scheme to defraud. In other circumstances an individual or a group of individuals may seek investors to back the construction of a non-existent manufacturing facility, medical center, or other business venture. In still other circumstances, a fraudulent medical billing scheme may bilk hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers through Medicare fraud before the scheme is detected.
If you are charged with a scheme to defraud, serious penalties can apply. Furthermore, scheme to defraud charges can be brought at either the state or federal level. The experienced and strategic attorneys of Sullivan & Galleshaw are committed to protecting the rights of clients who are charged with serious crimes.
What constitutes the crime of a scheme to defraud in New York?
In New York a scheme to defraud can be charged in the first or in the second degree. In the first degree, the crime is considered a class E felony. If you are convicted and this is your first conviction, you could face a minimum of 1 to 2.5 years in state prison and a maximum of 1.33 to 4 years. If this conviction is a second felony conviction, a minimum of a 2 years determinate sentence and a maximum of a 4 year determinate sentence can be imposed. In the second degree, a scheme to defraud is considered a class A misdemeanor – the highest level of misdemeanor. It can be punished by up to 1 year in jail.
The misdemeanor offense occurs when an individual participates in a plan or scheme that systematically defrauds 2 or more people in order to obtain property or things of value from one or more individual. The felony offense includes all of the elements of the lesser offense, expect the scheme must have obtained property from ten or more people by false pretenses or representations. The felony version of the crime can also be charged when an individual obtains property valued in excess of $1,000 from at least one person or when the scheme obtains property from an elderly or other vulnerable individual.
Scheme to defraud can also be charged as a federal crime
At the federal level a scheme to defraud is charged under the mail fraud or wire fraud statutes, 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and § 1343. Under the mail fraud statute anyone who uses the US mail to perpetrate a fraud or as part of a fraudulent scheme. Furthermore, the statute is not merely limited to those who use the US Postal Service – mail fraud can also be charged if you use a private commercial mail carrier, provided that they are an interstate carrier. To be charged with mail fraud you must have intentionally defrauded another. Fraud goes beyond a mere misrepresentation or deception, it must attempt to obtain goods or services for nothing. Thus, claiming to be a representative of the IRS and demanding payment for back taxes would constitute mail fraud. However, a sales offer sent by mail that is merely misleading would not constitute mail fraud. Upon conviction, a mail fraud charge typically carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years however certain circumstances may result in enhanced penalties.
Wire fraud charges require similar elements to the mail fraud statute, but instead of use of the mail it requires an interstate telephone call, e-mail, or other form of electronic communication that is performed in furtherance of the scheme. Additionally, communications or advertisements made over radio or television can also make wire fraud charges appropriate. Wire fraud can be punished by up to 20 years in prison. If it involves a fraud on a financial institution or on a benefit authorized due to a major disaster or emergency a fine of up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in prison may be imposed.
Rely on our experienced criminal defense attorneys when your freedom is at stake
At Sullivan & Galleshaw we are dedicated to fighting aggressively and strategically for our clients. Our goal is always to mitigate or eliminate the criminal consequences our clients face. To discuss how our legal advocacy can protect your rights and freedom call (800) 730-0135 or contact our firm online today.