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Tacoma Fraud Defense Lawyer

Fraud is a form of deception that includes stealing identities and manipulating others out of money/items in various ways. Fraud is everywhere, necessitating careful scrutiny and discrimination when trusting others with your assets. However, some individuals charged with fraud are not as guilty as the plaintiff may claim. Our Tacoma fraud defense lawyers can help to clear your name.

Common Types of Fraud

Though fraud can happen in a myriad of different ways, individuals often report falling victim to multiple common schemes. Our Tacoma defense attorneys have handled cases related to:

  • Check fraud – Check fraud occurs when an individual pays for an item knowing that their check will bounce, or uses a forged check from another person.
  • Internet fraud – This occurs when online companies sell fake, forged, or stolen items, or ask customers for payment without ever intending to send the item.
  • Website hacking – Skilled hackers can trick consumers into navigating to their websites by placing trick links that mimic well-known, trusted websites. Posing as a different website, these scammers can collect credit card information.
  • Charity fraud – Many criminals create fake charities to whom unsuspecting donors contribute their money.
  • Work-from-home scams – An extremely big market in fraud recently is the work-from-home guise. Scammers pretend to help people work from home, promising sustainable paychecks, and stable employment. These scams often require the individual to pay for “training,” or contribute to the business in some way.
  • Pyramid schemes – Pyramid schemes require victims to recruit other individuals in exchange for a monetary reward. Victims must often buy into the business or purchase some sort of starter pack. However, they must recruit an inane number of people to qualify for payment.
  • Identity theft – Identity thieves steal their victims credit card information and all assets associated with their identity. This is linked to credit fraud, though credit fraud does not always imply that the scammer wishes to steal the victim’s identity.
  • Insurance fraud – Insurance fraud is a common form of fraud in which the perpetrator lies about insurance-related expenses when filing a claim.

Fraud Crime Statistics in the U.S. and Washington

Fraud is a prevalent crime across the country, and many cases take place in Washington state. In fact, Washington saw 94 identity theft reports per every 100,000 people during 2019 — a total of 7,110.

  • Out of this number, 2,936 cases involved credit card fraud.
  • 1,384 cases involved bank fraud.
  • 931 involved phone or utilities fraud.
  • 738 involved loan or lease fraud.
  • 716 involved employment or tax-related fraud.
  • 432 involved government documents or benefits fraud.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), fraud-related costs total between $40 to $50 billion each year, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 1.5 million fraud complaints in 2014 alone. The NCVC also provides the following statistics regarding fraud in the United States.

  • 16.6 million Americans 16 and older fell victim to identity theft in 2012.
  • Fraud cases in 2011 affected approximately 25.6 million people.
  • The most common type of identity theft in 2014 was government documents and benefits fraud at 39%, followed by credit card theft at 17% and phone/utilities fraud at 13%.
  • Identity theft cost victims approximately $24.7 billion in damages in 2012.
  • 10% of people with an annual household income higher than $75,000 fell victim to identity theft in 2012.

Elements of a Fraud Case

To prove the validity of a fraud case, the prosecution must provide evidence that supports certain criteria:

  • The defendant made a false claim about something that was undeniably true.
  • The defendant knew they were providing false information.
  • The defendant sought to deceive the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff’s statement is reliable.
  • The plaintiff sustained damage from the defendant’s false claims.

Prosecution possesses the burden of proof in providing evidence that supports each claim. However, this does not mean a defendant is completely helpless. Enlisting the help of a Tacoma fraud defense lawyer can boost your own case as you try to prove that you were not purposefully complicit in fraudulent activities.

Possible Defenses for a Fraud Charge

If you are facing charges for fraud in Washington state, having an attorney like Mark S. Treyz on your side can help you protect your interests and present a strong defense against your charges. There are many defense strategies you can use to combat a fraud charge, highlighting insufficient evidence and an absence of bad intentions.

  • Entrapment: In many fraud cases, authorities such as government officials and police officers compel a suspect to commit an act of fraud that he or she would not have otherwise committed. If an authority caused you to commit fraud, you may be able to use this defense. The Law Office of Mark S. Treyz will examine the facts surrounding your arrest to determine if entrapment occurred, and will gather the evidence necessary to prove your claim.
  • Insufficient Evidence: It is the responsibility of the prosecution in a Washington fraud case to prove that you committed fraud and to present evidence to prove this fact. If they do not have enough evidence, they cannot prove that you were responsible for the criminal act or the act does not qualify as fraud under state law. Your attorney can use this common defense if it seems the prosecution does not have a strong case.
  • Lack of Criminal Intention: To commit an act of fraud, you need to have the intent to deceive another person or entity. To prove that you committed fraud, the prosecution will need to show that you had this criminal intent. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime, your lawyer can collect the evidence necessary to establish this defense.
  • Non-Fraudulent Statements: Not all statements that are deceitful rise to the level of fraud. For a statement to be fraudulent, you must base it on an existing fact — it cannot be an opinion. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, the fraudulent statements that the prosecution is seeking charges for may not be fraudulent at all. Your attorney will be able to examine all of the language surrounding these charges and determine if this defense can apply to your case.

Enlist Professional Help

The skill-set and quality of a lawyer ultimately bolster your case. A Tacoma fraud defense attorney can help clear your name by investigating your case and looking for evidence that directly contradicts the essential elements of a fraud case. For instance, a lawyer can help prove that you were not aware that you were taking part in fraudulent activity, like in the case of a Ponzi recruitment scheme. The advice and resources that an attorney can contribute to your case invaluable as they work to reduce or dismiss the plaintiff’s charges pressed against you.

Fraud is a serious infraction that can result in jail time and other associated fines. When you know you don’t possess the level of blame that the plaintiff claims, consult with a Tacoma fraud defense lawyer to discuss your options in fighting their charges.