Most people are likely not familiar with fraud, and even if they are, they generally do not fully appreciate just how serious the ramifications of fraud might be. As far as criminal activity goes, fraud may seem relatively light when compared to sexual assault or murder. After all, nobody is physically harmed or emotionally traumatized by fraud in most cases, so it is easy to assume that fraud is simply not a big deal or that the legal consequences will not be very severe. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even though the physical damages of fraud are not usually severe, the financial damages are often catastrophic. Most cases of fraud involve hundreds of thousands of dollars, and such cases are capable of crippling small businesses or even large corporations. Obviously the more money that is taken in a fraud scheme, the more serious the consequences will be, but even seemingly minor cases of fraud can have a serious financial effect on those convicted of the crime.
Recently in Louisiana, a woman was arrested, suspected of being involved in a fraud case that cost more than $5 million and stole the identities of more than 300 people. According to reports, the scheme involved issuing Social Security numbers, mostly stolen from children, which were then used for various financial purposes, including acquiring bank loans, opening lines of credit and more.
Before penalties such as community service or jail time even come into the equation, those convicted of fraud are usually expected to pay back some or all of their fraudulent gains at the very least. For those convicted in schemes that dealt with millions, such finances are impossible to achieve. Even individuals convicted of fraud dealing with a few thousand dollars may have a hard time coming up with so much money, which is why legal assistance is so important. In order to avoid paying back exorbitant amounts of money and possibly suffering additional legal consequences, it is highly recommended that individuals seek legal assistance to help defend themselves against criminal charges.
Source: WGNO, “Louisiana Attorney General announces 3rd arrest in $5 million identity theft scheme,” Jeff Hamburger, Oct. 6, 2015