Fraud Charges NJ – NJ Fraud Attorney – How to fight Fraud charges – Lawyer For Fraud Charges NJ
“Fraud is a complicated crime. Having an attorney versed in this criminal charge is incredibly important if you want to beat this case against you.”
If you’ve been arrested in NJ for a Fraud charge, you could be facing jail-time, a criminal record, and intense fines. Please call my office for a free consultation, and read on to learn more about this crime.
In a world where people are constantly trying to make a profit, there will always exist Fraud. For the most part, fraud is dishonesty for the sake of gaining some type of advantage. That said, not all dishonesty is fraud, so the definition of the word becomes considerably more complicated.
Fraud usually exists in business interactions of some sort, most times when one party is selling something to another party. This of course gives the “seller” the opportunity to be dishonest in hopes of making a profit.
What happens if the seller is accidentally dishonest? For example, if I am selling my house, and I tell the guy buying my house that the foundation is NOT cracked (because that’s what I believe) but it turns out to be cracked like the Liberty Bell, am I guilty of fraud? Of course not….
There are five typical stipulations that need to be present for fraud to exist:
1. Misrepresentation of material fact
This simply means that some fact presented in the dealings is untrue. This would be my statement that “the foundation is not cracked” when it is, in fact, cracked.
2. Knowledge of the part of the defendant that the statement was untrue
I have to know that there was a problem with my home before I made the false statement. If I had a real estate inspector come to my home the day before I started telling prospective buyers that the place is perfectly fine, I am knowingly deceiving them.
3. Intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim
This just means that I deceived the guy buying my house and I meant to do it. Even worse, just to make this hypothetical circumstance more sinister, I’m not sorry. However, all that really matters is that I intended to deceive the guy.
4. Justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on my statement
This is where we might find some grey area in my current example. The victim in the case needs to have good reason to rely on my statement. In the case of a cracked foundation, this might be debatable. I might tell the homebuyer that the foundation is cracked, but relying on that statement might not be justified. A judge could certainly determine that it’s the home buyer duty to hire an inspector and get the foundation examined him or herself.
Now, if I show the buyer false documents that support the structural integrity of the house, I am more likely to be found guilty of fraud. The question with this stipulation becomes, “Is the victim justified in relying on my statement?
5. There needs to be injury to the victim as a result
The victim has to actually lose something in order for fraud to be present. In this case, the home buyer could lose multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars by virtue of the value of their real estate. If they buy a home thinking that it’s worth $500K and it turns out to be worth $100K, I would say it’s a pretty clear injury.
After reading this, you can probably tell that fraud is not cut and dry. It’s not often easy to prove that someone knew his or her statement to be deceptive, and sometimes it doesn’t even matter.
Continuing with real estate as an example, if a real estate agent tells a buyer that a home is located in a low-crime area when it’s in fact located in a high-crime area, it could be fraud… even if the agent doesn’t know his or her statement to be false. In such a situation, it’s the real estate agent’s DUTY to know the level of crime in the neighborhood, so denying this knowledge wouldn’t be an acceptable defense.
I’m a lawyer, not a real-estate agent or a home inspector. For all intents and purposes, unless I hired someone to inspect my house, I would have no idea that the foundation was cracked. Even if I had known, it would be difficult to prove. However, if I was an auto-mechanic and I was selling someone a car with a bad motor, the judge might not buy my story. I’m much more likely to have plausible deniability as a lawyer selling a crappy car.
If you stick by the five guidelines listed when assessing a case of fraud, you will have a pretty good idea if it exists… regardless of whether you are the victim or defendant. If one or two of the stipulations aren’t clear in your case, then you can begin to figure out where the majority of the legal argument is going to take place. No matter what the circumstance, if you want to stay out of trouble, honesty is always the best policy. Feel free to give me a call to learn more about how a lawyer can fight against fraud charges.