Using lies or some form of deception in a deliberate attempt to gain a benefit is considered fraud.

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  • Generic Financial Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Real Estate Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Forgery
  • Common Issues and Defenses

Some of the most common types of fraud in California are check fraud, credit card fraud, and securities fraud.

When an individual writes a check knowing that it is counterfeit and will not be honored it is considered check fraud. Check fraud may be charged as a theft crime if the fraud results in someone else losing property. It can also be charged as a federal crime and as a state crime.

If a person fraudulently obtains, uses, or forges a credit card it is considered credit card fraud. This includes credit cards, debit cards, and the associated account numbers of those cards. If the card is used to obtain money, goods, or services exceeding a $950 value within a period of six consecutive months, then the individual will also face charges of grand theft. If the amount is less than $950 within six consecutive months, then the individual will face charges of petty theft.

Securities fraud includes a wide array of actions that ultimately lead to individuals making financial decisions based on false information. Securities fraud may include insider trading, third party misrepresentation, or securities fraud by the company itself where the corporation reports false financial information.

The penalties for these kinds of generic financial fraud may result in up to a year in county jail as well as penalties for grand theft or petty theft. Petty theft may result in up to six months in county jail as well as a fine up to $1,000. Grand theft may result in up to one year in county jail or longer if the convicted individual has a prior criminal record.

Some of the most common types of insurance fraud include: automobile insurance fraud, health care insurance fraud, Medi-Cal insurance fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, welfare fraud, and worker's compensation fraud.

It is considered automobile insurance fraud when an individual attempts to gain an insurance payment from an auto insurance carrier by engaging in acts of deception. For example, staging an accident, inflating the price of a claim, or setting fire to your vehicle and reporting it stolen.

Health insurance fraud casts a wider net in terms of types of violations, where the defendant might be the health care provider or the patient. Some examples of health insurance fraud include charging for medical services that were not provided, receiving "kickbacks" for prescribing certain drugs, engaging in "doctor shopping" or prescription fraud, or double billing for services provided. Medi-Cal insurance fraud often goes hand in hand with health insurance fraud and would apply to a health care professional that bills Medi-Cal for a service that was not provided.

Unemployment insurance fraud is the intentional effort to increase, reduce, or deny an unemployment insurance benefit. This could include falsifying work-search efforts, or collecting benefits in two or more states.

Welfare fraud is the intentional effort to increase welfare benefits to which an individual is not legally entitled. This can include recipient fraud or internal fraud. Recipient fraud occurs when the defendant is a welfare recipient that is trying to secure fraudulent benefits. Internal fraud occurs when the defendant is an employee of a government agency that distributes benefits, and attempts to collect or distribute unlawful benefits from that agency.

Workers compensation fraud occurs when an individual attempts to make a fraudulent claim against the state's workers' compensation insurance program. This may include faking an injury, claiming that a non-work injury is work-related, or failing to disclose a past injury that is pertinent to a current claim.

Real estate and mortgage fraud offenses include foreclosure fraud, forging deeds, predatory lending schemes, illegal property flipping, rent skimming, straw buyers schemes, and phantom help schemes.

Identity theft is the unlawful use of another individual's personal identification information for the purpose of committing other crimes, such as check or credit card fraud. It also includes false personation, where an individual poses as someone else for the benefit of themselves or to harm the individual they are posing as.

It is against the law to forge any type of document including a public seal, or a driver's license or ID card.

  • Lack of intent to commit fraud.
  • Mistaken identity or misidentification.
  • Entrapment by law enforcement in which coercion led an individual to commit fraudulent acts that would not have been committed otherwise.