In this article, a New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer discusses what to do if someone accuses you of having committed fraud.
Criminal Fraud Defined
If accused of criminal fraud, you have essentially been accused of a form of theft by means of deceit. Your accuser may feel that you have given patently false information, made false promises or product claims, withheld needed information or deceived through some other means, but the bottom line is that you have been accused of a form of stealing.
How It Can Happen
You could be accused of fraud even though you had no idea that anything you were doing was in any way improper. For example:
• Everyone wants to make money, and you’ve come up with an investment idea that looks promising. It looks like a great opportunity, so you promote it and others join in with you. You didn’t lie to anybody, nor did you willfully mislead anyone, but someone mistakes what you’re doing for a scam such as a Ponzi scheme. You and your New Jersey white collar criminal defense attorney must then demonstrate that this is not the case.
• You receive a letter in the mail with five “reports” inside, and are encouraged to develop a sales letter offering to sell these “informative reports” to as many people as you can. The idea is that it’s a perfectly legitimate sales tactic designed for you to earn money. The letter you received assures you that the procedure is well within the law, so you go ahead with it thinking that everything is legal and above board. Later, the letters are returned to you with the accusation that you have committed mail fraud. You never meant to do anything wrong. You simply acted on the information provided. You are actually the one who’s been defrauded, yet you’re the one who has been accused.
Pigeon Drop and Identity Theft
These charges are often more difficult to defend against. In the case of the “pigeon drop,” the alleged victim is notified that he or she has won a sum of money in a contest, but must pay a fee to collect it. If you or your organization is holding the contest you would need to show that you are or believe you are in compliance with all the applicable rules and that no willful wrongdoing took place. As for identity theft, you must be able to demonstrate, for instance, that although you may have inadvertently gained access to someone’s personal information, you have made no improper use of it, nor have you profited from it.
When It Isn’t Fraud At All
Not everyone who thinks that they have been tricked out of their money is really a victim. For instance, there is a difference between sales talk and willful deception. If you are a sales associate in a clothing store and you tell customers that the outfit he or she is trying on looks fabulous, that customer cannot then come back and accuse you of fraud simply because another person said that it isn’t flattering at all.
Don’t Be A Victim of a False Accusation
Don’t sit back and just let someone, through malice or error, accuse you of a crime that could ruin you. Contact the Law Offices of Timothy R. Anderson, LLC, to speak to a New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer, and fight back against unjust criminal accusations. Call 732-212-2812 today.