Do you know what fraud means? Most people have some idea what the term “fraud” means, such as calling someone a fraud when they are misrepresenting their identity, skills, or credentials. However, knowing what constitutes fraud under the law is a different ballgame. There are a number of crimes that count as fraud legally, including things like forgery and credit card crimes. Because fraud is a relatively broad category that includes crimes of diverse nature and of varying levels of severity, the consequences also fit a wide range. For that reason, in order to understand the consequences of fraud, you will have to look at each particular kind of fraud. However, it is safe to say that the law does not take any form of fraud lightly.
Fraud Crimes and Penalties Under Georgia Law
- Forgery. Forgery occurs when someone signs the name of another person on a legal document or checks to make it look like the other person actually signed it. Forgery can be charged in the first or second degree. Second-degree forgery occurs when a document is signed fraudulently, using the signature of another, while first-degree forgery occurs when that document is actually used or is attempted to be used. For instance, second-degree forgery might occur when someone falsely signs a check with someone else’s name, and first-degree forgery would occur when they try to cash it. The penalty for second-degree forgery can be one to five years in jail, as well as fines. For first-degree forgery, a convicted individual can spend up to 10 years in jail.
- Writing Bad Checks. There are several crimes that can occur within this category, including writing checks without sufficient funds to pay for them and cashing bad checks. The penalties for these crimes depend on the amount of money stolen. If the amount of money stolen is under $300 total, it will be charged as a misdemeanor and the penalty may be up to 1 year in prison, as well as fines ranging from $500 (for theft under $100) to $1000. Theft of $300 - $499 will be charged as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, penalized by up to a year and prison and fines of up to $5000. Thefts of $500 or more can result in a prison sentence of up to three years and fines of up to $5,000. It should also be noted that if the account linked to the check is in another state, you could spend up to five years in jail and pay $1,000 in fines, no matter what the amount stolen was.
- Credit Card Fraud. This is automatically charged as a felony in Georgia, and those convicted can face one to three years in prison as well as fines up to $5,000.
- Identity Fraud. If charged with identity fraud in Georgia, an individual may face up to $100,000 in fines and 10 years in prison. In some cases, the number of fines and prison time may be higher. Some fines may be as much as $250,000.
Contact Atlanta Fraud Defense Lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam Today
If you are facing charges of fraud in Atlanta, it is important to mount the strongest possible defense against them so that you can stay out of jail and keep your record clean. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ghanayem & Rayasam today to schedule a consultation.