In short, fraud is theft. It is the taking of money or valuables from one or more victims for one’s own personal gain. The difference between fraud and other types of theft is how it is conducted. In a shoplifting case, items are simply taken from a retailer. In a fraud case, victims are deceived into giving their money or goods to the offender.
Fraud happens across the United States, even in cities and towns where it might not be expected, like Neenah and Appleton. One notable example is the recent case of Travis L. Zielinski, an Appleton man who was found guilty of bank fraud. Innocent individuals can also be charged with fraud and potentially face severe consequences if they are found guilty. If you are facing a fraud charge, or if you believe your business has been defrauded, you need to take it seriously and work with an experienced attorney to represent your case.
Types of Fraud
There are many different ways an individual can commit an act of fraud. Examples of types of fraud include the following:
- Computer fraud. This is the manipulation of a computer, website or computer system to illegally take information from others
- Identity fraud. This is the use of another party’s identity, generally through his or her credit card or other identification like a driver’s license, to make purchases or access bank accounts
- Investment fraud. This is the manipulation of stocks or commodities, often paired with fraudulent or misleading information fed to investors, to make a quick profit
- Ponzi schemes. This type of fraud involves taking money from investors, assuring them that they are investing in a “sure thing.” But then, rather than receiving returns from their investment, the original investors receive payment made from the investments of new investors while the offender pockets a portion of their investment. This can continue through many “generations” of investors
- Retail fraud. Lying or dramatically exaggerating about an item or service in an effort to sell it is a type of fraud, as is omitting certain details about an item or its terms of service
- Foreclosure fraud. This occurs when a party offers to help ailing homeowners by purchasing the titles to their homes and renting the homes to them temporarily until they can afford to buy the homes back. Unfortunately for the homeowners, they rarely actually get their homes back
Whenever money, valuables or information that can help the offender access either of these is taken through deceptive measures, the offender has committed fraud. Some acts of fraud are more blatant than others, but if there is an element of deception to how he or she obtains something of value from the victim, it is a crime.
Work with a Business and Civil Litigation Attorney
If you have been charged with any type of fraud, or if you believe your business has been defrauded, you need to work with an experienced attorney to protect your rights in court. A strong strategy is the only way to have your charge lowered or dismissed – or to recover any damages you may have suffered as a result of the fraud. To learn more about how we can help, contact our team of experienced Appleton business and civil litigation attorneys at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC, today to set up your initial legal consultation with our firm. Call 866-720-0009 toll free.