Fraud Charges Defense Lawyers Las Vegas
Fraud is the blanket term used for any unlawful activity that involves intentionally misrepresenting important information for financial (or other) gain. Individuals who engage in fraudulent activity face potential state and federal criminal charges. That could mean years in prison, fines, and restitution payments if convicted.
If you’re facing allegations of fraud in Las Vegas, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced fraud attorney. At The Vegas Lawyers, our experienced fraud attorneys are compassionate, diligent, and aggressively attack every weakness in the prosecution’s case.
Don’t risk your future, freedom, and reputation on a subpar financial fraud lawyer. Contact us today at (702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation.
What Is Fraud?
Fraud is the act of purposely deceiving someone or a business to receive financial or other benefits. An essential element of fraud is the victim must have given the offender money (or other resources) based on the misleading information or activity perpetrated by the accused.
Fraud can be assigned to many types of crimes. Some of the most common instances of fraud in Las Vegas include but are not limited to:
- Credit card fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Identify theft
- Real estate fraud
- Casino Marker Fraud
- Gaming fraud
- Securities fraud
Common Fraud Crimes In Las Vegas Nevada
Under NRS 205.461, identity theft involves the use of another person’s identifying information. The most common examples of ID theft include:
- Stolen checks or ATM cards
- Fraudulently changing address
- Misusing someone else’s social security number
- Driver license number fraud
- Passport fraud
- Password theft and unauthorized use
Individuals charged with identity theft face category B felony charges. Penalties include but are not limited to 1 – 20 years in prison, up to $100,000 in fines, and potential restitution payments.
The penalties can be enhanced under certain circumstances like identity theft of an elderly person, instances where there are five or more victims, etc.
Embezzlement (NRS 205.300) is the act of stealing resources (i.e., money & property) entrusted to an individual by the victim(s). Common examples of embezzlement in Las Vegas include:
- An employee stealing money from the company cash register
- Renting furniture and never returning it
- Taking payments for work, but never completing it
Embezzlement is typically charged as a misdemeanor offense if the amount embezzled is less than $1,200. However, if the individual embezzles more than $1,200, it is a felony offense punishable by 1 – 20 years in prison, depending on the amount.
According to NRS 686A.2815, an individual commits insurance fraud if they intentionally provide inaccurate information to an insurance provider or government body to gain benefits in which they are not otherwise eligible.
Some of the most common types of insurance fraud include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Car insurance fraud
- Health care fraud
- Welfare & workers compensation fraud
- Unemployment fraud
Any type of insurance fraud in Las Vegas is punished severely. A conviction for insurance fraud in Las Vegas can lead to a category D felony, 1- 4 years imprisonment, and fines up to $5,000.
The lender or the loan applicant can perpetrate mortgage lending fraud. It occurs when someone intentionally misrepresents material information while participating in a mortgage lending transaction.
Examples of mortgage lending fraud include but are not limited to the following:
- Providing false information on mortgage applications
- Tricking homeowners into refinancing scams
- Offering fake or false property value appraisals
Individuals who have committed a singular act of mortgage fraud in Las Vegas face category C felony charges. That can lead to 1 – 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
However, if there is a history of mortgage lending fraud, prosecutors may charge offenders with a category B felony. The penalties for a category B felony mortgage lending fraud include 3 – 20 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is one of the most widely prosecuted white collar crimes in Nevada. Under NRS 205.760, a person commits debit or credit card fraud if they knowingly misuse credit/debit card information to commit fraud against another person or organization.
Common acts of credit and debit card fraud include:
- Using or possessing another person’s card without authorization
- Falsifying information on a credit card application
- Card-not-present (CNP) fraud
- Counterfeit card and skimming frauds
- Card-never arrived fraud
In many cases, individuals charged with credit card fraud in Las Vegas face category D felony charges, 1 -2 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and potential restitution payments to victims.
However, the exact charges and penalties depend on the type of credit card fraud, criminal history, and amount defrauded.
Casino Marker Fraud
Casino markers are essentially an interest-free line of credit that casinos give to regular customers. As the customer gambles, they must “draw markers” in set amounts to pay off their debts. In most cases, the debt is drawn directly from the customer’s bank account.
With that in mind, customers who do not pay casino marker debt in Las Vegas can face civil and criminal penalties.
According to NRS 205.130, individuals who intentionally defraud the casino by extending credit (casino markers) when they have insufficient funds in their account are guilty of casino marker fraud.
It’s important to note that Nevada automatically assumes an intent to defraud the casino if a person has insufficient funds in their bank account when the casino attempts to collect their debts.
The penalties for category D felony casino marker fraud in Las Vegas include but are not limited to:
- 1 – 4 years in prison
- Restitution payments to the casino
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Additional administrative fees
Furthermore, defendants can be charged for separate offenses for each unpaid casino marker.
Gaming fraud (NRS 465.070) addresses many situations wherein an individual uses an unfair advantage (i.e., insider knowledge or cheating) to profit. Common examples of gaming fraud in Las Vegas include but are not limited to:
- Claiming false bets
- Sports tampering & match-fixing
- Multiple gamblers working together to help one person win
- Betting fraud
- Bypassing Nevada gambling laws in any way
First time gaming fraud offenses in Las Vegas are typically prosecuted as a category C felony with penalties including 1 – 5 years imprisonment, up to $10,000 in fines, and potential restitution payments.
Individuals charged with a second offense (or more) gaming fraud charge face a category B felony, up to 6 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and restitution payments.
Otherwise known as “investment fraud” or “stock fraud,” securities fraud involves intentionally using false information to entice potential investors to purchase or sell securities. Nevada recognizes many types of securities frauds, including but not limited to:
- NRS 90.570: Fraudulently offering or selling securities
- NRS 90.575: Violation of fiduciary duties by certain securities professionals
- NRS 90.580: Stock market manipulation
- NRS 90.605: Providing investment fraud investigators with false information or destroying evidence
- NRS 90.610: Illegally representing oneself as a licensed securities professional
Violating any Nevada securities fraud laws can lead to a category B felony, 1 – 20 years imprisonment, and up to $500,000 in fines. Furthermore, specific securities fraud crimes in Las Vegas can be charged on the federal level. Learn more below.
Federal Financial Securities Fraud Crimes
White collar crimes are not just monitored by Nevada law enforcement. The federal government also plays a massive role in investigating and prosecuting many types of securities fraud.
The most common types of federal securities fraud violations include insider trading, churning, pump and dump schemes, accounting fraud, and outsider trading. Learn more about each below.
Insider trading occurs when someone with access to valuable private information buys or sells stocks. In most cases, insider trading cases are reserved for high-level positions like CEO, COO, Director, etc.
In some cases, insider trading is legal, but only if stock trades occur based on publicly known information. According to the SEC, insider trading can incur a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, up to $5,000,000 in fines, and potentially up to $25,000,000 in civil sanctions.
Churning occurs when a securities broker excessively trades customer securities (without considering their customer’s investment goals) to generate earnings that benefit the broker.
Churning is a serious breach of trust and the law. It can lead to extensive prison time, fines, professional disbarment, employment termination, and more.
“Pump and Dump” Schemes
Suppose a group of individuals or a company “accidentally” leaks false or misleading information about a “hot stock” they are investing in. The word gets out, and many people start to buy the stock.
Once the stock price rises, the individuals who leaked the information sell all of their stocks for a profit. In that case, they may be guilty of committing a “pump-and-dump” crime.
Pump and dump schemes are illegal whether you’re dealing with stocks, commodities, or cryptocurrency. Pump and dump involve manipulating the value of a stock through fraudulent recommendations or false hype.
Accounting fraud is one of the most well-known types of federal securities fraud.
Accounting fraud occurs when an accountant (or whoever is financially responsible for a company) intentionally manipulates a company’s finances in an attempt to misrepresent earnings, debt, profits, etc.
Some of the most well-known accounting fraud cases ever prosecuted include:
- 2001 – Enron
- 2002 – Tyco
- 2003 – Freddie Mac
- 2008 – Lehman Brother
Individuals charged with federal accounting fraud face up to 10 years in prison and extensive fines.
Outsider trading is similar to insider trading. However, the significant difference between the two is that outsider trading involves someone from outside the company hacking into the financial system and financially benefiting from the stolen information.
Other types of federal securities fraud and white-collar crime include Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, tax evasion, corporate fraud, and more.
Other Types of Federally Prosecuted Crimes
The federal government often works together with the LVMPD and other state agencies to investigate and prosecute many other federal fraud offenses including but not limited to:
Defenses To Fraud Charges
There are countless defenses to fraud charges in Nevada. The best defense strategy for you depends on the specific circumstances of your case and the recommendations from your white-collar crime attorney in Las Vegas.
A few of the most common defenses to fraud charges include:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of evidence
- Evidence tampering or mishandling
- Lack of intent
- Consent of the victim
- Police errors and arrest mistakes
If you’ve been charged with securities fraud or any other type of white collar crime in Las Vegas, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer should be experienced with Nevada and federal fraud law and have a proven track record.
Are You Facing Fraud Charges In Las Vegas? Contact Us Today
If you’ve been charged with fraud, you need a highly competent lawyer by your side. The penalties for fraud under Nevada law can be significant. Don’t risk your future when you don’t have to. Your liberty depends upon making the right choice.
Our highly skilled team of legal professionals will help you get the least amount of penalties possible under the circumstances. Contact us through this website or give us a call at (702) 707-7000 for your free initial consultation today.