Fraud covers a broad range of crimes. The common element is the purposeful misrepresentation of fact that is intended to deceive another individual such that he or she will act upon it to his or her legal injury. The most common motive for fraud is a financial gain of some kind.
The consequences for a fraud conviction can be quite extreme. For example, the owner of a home health agency was recently sentenced to 75 years in prison for her involvement in a $13 million Medicare fraud conspiracy.
Marie Neba, owner of Fiango Home Healthcare, used the company to submit over $13 million in false and fraudulent claims for home health services to Medicare. Neba used these proceeds to provide kickbacks to patient recruiters, who referred Medicare beneficiaries to Fiango for home health services. Further, Neba paid Medicare beneficiaries to allow Fiango to bill Medicare for services that were not provided or were not medically necessary.
One of the reasons Ms. Neba’s sentence is so lengthy is because she was charged for a federal crime. Typically, federal penalties are more severe than those at the state level.
However, do not assume that you will simply receive a slap on the wrist if you are charged with fraud under Texas state laws. Our penalties are incredibly strict as well, which is why it is so important that you understand the various illegal acts in Texas that constitute fraud.
Unemployment Benefits Fraud
In Texas, unemployment benefits fraud is very common, and is routinely prosecuted as a felony. When filing for unemployment, it is important to be truthful with the Texas Workforce Commission, and to be aware of the rules governing unemployment benefits.
Common examples of unemployment benefits fraud include failure to report starting work or a separation from work, inaccurately reporting gross earnings, using another person’s identity to apply for unemployment, intentionally providing false information, or withholding relevant information.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is very common, and you may in fact be accidentally committing credit card fraud as a consumer. Common forms of accidental credit card fraud include using someone else’s credit card, using fake credit card numbers to sign up for free trials online, disputing one’s own credit card charges, and lying on credit card applications.
Check fraud is another common offense, and generally involves either the theft or use of another’s checks, or intentionally writing bogus checks. For example, an individual may steal unsigned checks or try to pass off another individual’s checks as if they were his or her own.
Alternatively, individuals may write checks for amounts greater than the balance of their checking account, or write a bad check to take advantage of the processing delay time in order to cover a bill or debt.
Insurance fraud is when a policyholder files a claim for damage that did not occur, or inflates the value of damages that did occur. Policyholders may also cause damage intentionally to collect benefits.
Other common forms of insurance fraud include providing false information about the accident in question or providing false information on insurance policy applications.
If you or a loved one are facing fraud charges, your best chance at protecting your rights and maximizing your chance of a favorable outcome is to get a knowledgeable Tarrant County criminal attorney on your side.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.