Bonney Lake Forgery and Fraud
Also known as economic crimes, white-collar crimes arise from deceptive or fraudulent acts that damage the financial state of an individual, business, or the government. Unlike other activities that most people know are illegal, such as driving under the influence or assault, white-collar crime is a concept that is often not well understood.
Most people who are aware of white-collar crime tend to associate it with high-profile, high-dollar cases like Martha Stewart’s conviction for insider trading or Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. However, white-collar crime is no longer just committed by the upper-echelon. With the rise in technological advancements happening every year, committing a white-collar crime is becoming progressively easier due to the increased accessibility of information.
Two of the most common white-collar criminal charges seen in Pierce County are forgery and fraud. If you or a loved one is under investigation or have been charged with forgery or fraud, you will need the help of an experienced Pierce County White-Collar criminal defense attorney. Our team of legal professionals has designed this website to give you some basic information regarding forgery and fraud charges in Bonney Lake. We encourage you to read over the provided information and then contact our firm for a free case evaluation. During this consultation, we can answer any questions you may have regarding white-collar criminal charges in Washington state, as well as go over the facts of your case and begin to build a defensive strategy.Fraud Charges and Penalties Explained by a Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal fraud charges usually involve the use of misleading and/or dishonest tactics to obtain financial gain from unsuspecting individuals or organizations.
There are many types of fraud charges an individual may face. A few examples of Fraud cases our Bonney Lake criminal defense attorneys have handled are listed below.
- Criminal Impersonation
- Identity theft
- Check fraud
- Illegal possession of an ID
- Insurance fraud
- Workers compensation fraud
- Welfare fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Payroll fraud
- Mortgage fraud
Criminal Impersonation is one of the most common fraud charges levied in Pierce County. There are two levels of criminal impersonation charges
- Criminal Impersonation in the 1st Degree- Classified as a Class C Felony, if convicted of this charge, punishments can include up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. It is defined by the Washington State statute RCW 9A.60.040 as a person who “Assumes a false identity and does an act in his or her assumed character with intent to defraud another or for any other unlawful purpose; or (b) Pretends to be a representative of some person or organization or a public servant and does an act in his or her pretended capacity with intent to defraud another or for any other unlawful purpose.” All felony charges in Bonney Lake and the surrounding cities are adjudicated at the Pierce County Superior Court, located in Tacoma.
- Criminal Impersonation in the 2nd Degree- This charge involves a person pretending to be an officer of the law or falsely assumes the identity of a veteran or active duty military member with intent to defraud. An example of this charge would be a person pretending to be a veteran to gain the benefits of using the VA hospital. This charge is classified as a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. All gross misdemeanor cases will be adjudicated at the Pierce County District Court, also located in Tacoma.
As you can see, the penalties for fraud charges can be severe. For your best chance at avoiding a lengthy prison sentence, you need to hire an experienced Bonney Lake criminal defense attorney.Understanding Forgery Charges and Penalties in Pierce County
Forgery often arises in the context of checks, promissory notes, wills, deeds, stocks, bonds, and other legal or financial documents. Like fraud, prosecution of forgery is being taken more seriously in Pierce County these days because of the new and myriad ways technology has made it easier for people to commit these crimes.
State statute RCW 9a.60.20 defines forgery as a person who, “with intent to injure or defraud:
(a) He or she falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument or;
(b) He or she possesses, utters, offers, disposes of, or puts off as true a written instrument which he or she knows to be forged.”
Contextually, a “written instrument” is defined as a written legal document that records the formal execution of legally enforceable acts or agreements, i.e. checks, wills, deeds, or bonds.
Forgery is charged as a Class C Felony. If convicted, you may face up to a $10,000 fine as well as up to 5 years in prison.Common Defense Strategies Used in Forgery and Fraud Cases in Pierce County
As with all charges, several legal defenses are available to individuals who are facing allegations of forgery or fraud.
Mistaken Identity- One of the most important aspects of the prosecution's case against you is that they have to prove that you were the person who committed the crime. Mistaken identity, i.e., somebody other than you is actually guilty of the crime you’ve been charged with, is a popular defense for forgery and fraud cases, although it’s becoming harder to use because of the increase in surveillance cameras.
Entrapment- One of the most common defense strategies used in white-collar criminal cases, entrapment means that you only committed the crime because of coercion from another source, i.e. a co-worker or law enforcement.
Lack of Intent- In some instances, you can show you had no intent to defraud anyone. Criminal intent can be very difficult for the prosecution to prove, giving the defense attorney room to argue that the defendant acted without criminal intent.
It’s important to realize that defensive strategies for these types of white-collar criminal charges are not one-size-fits-all. Our Bonney Lake criminal defense attorneys have provided these examples solely for educational purposes and are not meant to be used as legal advice. To build a personalized defense using the facts of your unique case, please contact our firm today.How a Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Defend Against White Collar Charges
Accusations of white-collar crimes, including forgery and fraud, are serious- not only in their implications of your character but also because of their long-lasting repercussions. Prosecutors zealously pursue white-collar charges, seeking harsh penalties including lengthy prison sentences.
A conviction for a white-collar crime can destroy your career and devastate your professional and personal reputation in your community. If you are facing charges like forgery or fraud, it is important to enlist the services of an experienced Bonney Lake criminal defense attorney as soon as you become aware of an ongoing investigation. Our team of legal professionals is available to assist you throughout the process and will work tirelessly to keep you from incarceration and let you get back to business as usual as quickly as possible.