Fraud and Forgery Defense Lawyers Serving Indianapolis and the Surrounding Community
Indianapolis fraud defense lawyer Chris Eskew understands accusations of fraud may ruin your reputation, hurt your family, and cause never-ending stress and anxiety. In addition, many employers are averse to hiring individuals with fraud convictions because fraud is seen as a crime of deception. Employers do not want staff that will lie, exaggerate the truth, steal their profits, or damage their brand. A skilled and knowledgeable Indianapolis criminal defense attorney will be able to counsel you on how to minimize the effects of an arrest while also assisting you with clearing your name and defending against unfounded allegations.
Eskew Law LLC is headquartered in Indianapolis and serves clients throughout the state of Indiana. Our talented legal team has a decade of experience helping clients get their lives back on track. We will handle all aspects of your case, including conducting an independent investigation, representing your interests during a police investigation, ensuring your constitutional rights are respected, negotiating with the prosecutor, constructing a strong defense theory, and advocating for your best interests in court. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana. Call Eskew Law LLC today at (317) 974-0177 to speak with someone immediately about your case.
Definition of Fraud
Fraud is a white-collar crime that encompasses many different types of offenses, including:
- Welfare fraud
- Check deception
- Fraud on a financial institution
- Fake government ID cards
- Identity, notarial, and other deception
- Unlawful possession of a card skimming device
- Insurance fraud
- Unauthorized use of cable services
- Government contract procured by fraud
- Check fraud
- Possession of fraudulent sales document
- Making or delivering a false sales document
- Falsifying a drug or alcohol screening test
- Inmate fraud
An individual commits fraud when he knowingly and intentionally misrepresents something in order to gain money, property, or another item of value. The lie is passed off as the truth or a fact in order to deceive or swindle the complainant. The misrepresentation can be an outright falsehood, a gross exaggeration, a misstatement of the truth, or a glaring omission. Complainants can be friends or family members, strangers, customers, employees or employers, companies, banks, and even the government.
According to Section 35-43-5-7 of the Indiana Code, welfare fraud involves deceiving the state of Indiana or local government welfare programs by obtaining or attempting to obtain funding, assistance, or services using fake, false, or misleading claims. All of the following activities constitute welfare fraud:
- Lying about one’s employment situation
- Falsely claiming dependents
- Failing to report all income
- Giving or selling welfare benefits to another
- Counterfeiting an authorization for benefits document
Welfare fraud must be done knowingly or intentionally. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor. However, it can be bumped up to a Level 6 felony if the amount of benefits is between $750 and $49,000 or less than $750, but the individual has a prior welfare fraud conviction. It can be further bumped up to a Level 5 felony if the benefits total more than $2,500. When an individual is convicted of welfare fraud, their conviction is reported to state and local welfare agencies.
An individual commits check deception under Section 35-43-5-5 of the Indiana Code when he writes a check and uses it to pay for goods or services knowing full well that his bank will not honor the check due to insufficient funds, fraudulent activity, or any other reason. If an individual knows that he either does not have sufficient funds or that the bank account is not in his name yet intends to deliver a check regardless, he has committed check deception.
The check itself becomes prima facie evidence of the crime. When a check is refused by a bank, it is accompanied by information, including when the bank refused to honor it and why. In addition, the fact that the individual paid by check despite knowing that the check would not be honored is also prima facie evidence of deception. Other evidence includes the information found on the check, such as the name, address, phone number, bank name, routing number, and account number. However, an individual can avoid prosecution by later paying the full amount due, plus charges and fees, within ten days after being notified that the check was not honored.
Check deception is a Class A misdemeanor. It can be bumped up to a Level 6 felony if the check was for more than $750 and less than $50,000 and a Level 5 felony if the check was for more than $50,000.
Fraud on a Financial Institution
According to Section 35-43-5-8, fraud on a financial institution occurs when an individual “knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice:”
- To defraud a local, state, or federal bank or
- To obtain money, assets, shares, or other items of value owned by a local, state, or federal bank using false pretenses, misrepresentations, and fraudulent promises
The statute defines eligible banks as financial institutions, credit unions, home loan organizations, and banks that provide loans or banking assistance to consumers. These banks must be insured by the FDIC or NCUA or must operate under local or federal laws. Fraud on a financial institution is a Level 5 felony.
Under the Indiana Code, forgery is the production of a false document or the use of deception to obtain a legal document. Most instances of fraud involve falsifying documents. When an individual creates a written document that claims it was made (1) by another, (2) at a different time, (3) with different terms or components, or (4) with someone’s authority who did not in fact give consent for the production of the document, the individual has committed forgery. In addition, possession of a forged document is also grounds for a forgery charge.
Less commonly prosecuted, forgery can also be the basis for a fraudulent driver’s license or state ID card application. If an individual gives a fake name or address, lies to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, includes false information on the application, or gives fake documentation to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the individual has also committed forgery.
Forgery is a Level 6 Felony.
Choosing the Right Fraud Defense Lawyer in Indianapolis, IN
When you have been charged with a white-collar crime like fraud, you want an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney you can trust. When looking for a lawyer, consider:
- The lawyer’s education and background
- The number of years the lawyer has been practicing in local courts
- Testimonials from old clients
- The lawyer’s track record of success or failure
- The lawyer’s access to resources
- The lawyer’s knowledge of local law and courtroom practices
- The lawyer’s personality
- Whether the lawyer’s style fits with your preferences
Passionate Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyers Assisting Clients with Fraud Allegations
Fraud is a serious and extremely dangerous conviction for your future. Before it’s too late, speak with an excellent Indianapolis fraud defense attorney at Eskew Law LLC today to discuss how to defend against the charges. We will coach you through the investigation process, conduct an investigation of our own, and tailor representation based on the facts of your case, your available defenses, and your own best interests. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call our office at (317) 974-0177.