There are so many different fraud schemes out there and so many ways to carry it out. There’s the internet, telephone, in person, and of course, mail. There are many ways to take advantage of someone and take their money – and despite the many warnings that are put out daily to protect people, people keep falling for them.

But with the prevalence of fraud schemes comes heightened law enforcement awareness. If you commit a fraud scheme, it is very possible to get caught. Now, what happens after that is entirely up to you.

If you’re smart, you will hire a criminal defense attorney immediately. You are going to need one.

Prosecutors are going to want to throw the book at you, make an example out of you, and make you pay for what you’ve done.

But you have rights and your version as to what actually happened. You also have a right to a fair trial and to get that you will need a great attorney, someone like attorney Igor Litvak from the Litvak Law Firm. 

Overview of Fraud Scheme

Fraud scheme is a broad term that comes in many different forms. Basically, it means that one person knowingly obtains a benefit from another person by means of fraud or fraudulent representations, pretenses, or promises. It is an illegitimate enterprise where the person committing the crime has some personal gain at the expense of others.

There are many different areas or ways that this can occur, and it is an extremely complex crime. There are also several charges that can accompany a fraud scheme charge. You rarely get away with just a single charge.

This type of fraud is often committed by individuals, but corporations or organizations can commit it as well – or someone on behalf of the organization or business.

Types of Fraud Scheme

There are so many different types of fraud schemes, it is impossible to list them all. A few of the more common types of fraud schemes include:

  • Investment fraud
  • Ponzi scheme
  • Mortgage or property fraud
  • Consumer fraud
  • Cashier’s check fraud
  • Fictitious or unauthorized banking
  • Mail fraud
  • Elder fraud
  • Debit and credit card fraud
  • Internet fraud
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Voter fraud
  • Driver’s license fraud
  • Stolen tax refund fraud
  • Data theft
  • Check forgery
  • Bribery
  • Theft of PII

There are many more, but this is a good representation. Some fall under a specific law while others are addressed as a fraud scheme – also known as a scheme to defraud or fraudulent scheme.

Federal Fraud Scheme Charges

Several federal laws address various types of fraud, but just one law addresses frauds and swindles which is how federal law labels fraud schemes.

18 U.S. Code § 1341 – Frauds and Swindles

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing.

If the violation occurs in relation to or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution.

Wire fraud is another federal fraud scheme that can get you in a lot of trouble.

18 U.S. Code § 1343 – Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice.

If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution.

New York Fraud Scheme Charges

Under New York law, a fraud scheme is a “scheme to defraud.” Several charges are associated with it.

New York Penal Law Article 190.60 – Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree

1. A person is guilty of a scheme to defraud in the second degree when he engages in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud more than one person or to obtain property from more than one person by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, and so obtains property from one or more of such persons.

2. In any prosecution under this section, it shall be necessary to prove the identity of at least one person from whom the defendant so obtained property, but it shall not be necessary to prove the identity of any other intended victim.

New York Penal Law Article 190.65 – Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree

1.  A person is guilty of a scheme to defraud in the first degree when he or she: 

(a) engages in a scheme  constituting  a  systematic  ongoing course  of  conduct  with  intent  to  defraud ten or more persons or to obtain property  from  ten  or  more  persons  by  false  or  fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, and so obtains property from one or  more  of  such  persons;  or 

 (b) engages in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to  defraud  more  than one  person  or to obtain property from more than one person by false or fraudulent  pretenses,  representations, or  promises,  and  so  obtains property with a value in excess of one thousand dollars from one or more such  persons:  or  

(c)  engages in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud more than one person, more than one of whom is a vulnerable elderly person as defined in subdivision three of section  260.30  of this chapter or to obtain property from more than one person,  more than one of whom is a vulnerable elderly person as defined in subdivision three of section 260.30   of this chapter,   by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, and so obtains property from one or more such persons.

2.  In any prosecution under this section, it shall be necessary to prove the identity of at least one person from whom the defendant so obtained property,  but it shall not be necessary to prove the identity of any other intended victim, provided that in any prosecution under paragraph  (c) of subdivision one of this section, it shall be necessary to prove the identity of at least one such vulnerable elderly person as defined in subdivision three of section 260.30 of this chapter. 

New York Penal Law Article 190.70 – Scheme to Defraud the State by Unlawfully Selling Prescriptions

A person is guilty of a scheme to defraud the state by unlawfully selling prescriptions when he or she engages, with intent to defraud the state, in a scheme constituting a systematic, ongoing course of conduct to make, sell, deliver for sale or offer for sale one or more prescriptions and so obtains goods or services from the state with a value in excess of one thousand dollars or causes the state to reimburse another in excess of one thousand dollars for the delivery of such goods or services.

Other Charges that can Accompany a Fraud Scheme Charge

When a person is charged with a scheme to defraud, that is rarely the only charge they are hit with. There are many others that carry much more severe sentences:

Penalties for a Federal Fraud Scheme Conviction

Under Federal law, the penalty for fraud and swindles can be very long.

18 U.S. Code § 1341 – Frauds and Swindles

  • General Fraud and Swindles
    • Fine
    • Maximum 20 years in prison 
  • Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution
    • Maximum fine $1,000,000 
    • Maximum 30 years in prison.

18 U.S. Code § 1343 – Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television

  • General Fraud by Wire, Radio, or Television
    • Fines, Forefeirtire and Restitution. 
    • Maximum 20 years in prison, if the fraud affected a financial institution, then maximum 30 years. 
  • Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, 
    • Maximum fine $1,000,000 
    • Maximum 30 years in prison.

Penalties for a New York Fraud Scheme Conviction

The penalties for a scheme to defraud may not land you in prison for a very long time, but there could be a fine and at least some jail time.

New York Penal Law Article 190.60 – Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree

  • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Maximum fine $1,000 or double the amount of monetary value that the accused gained from the crime
    • Maximum 1 year in jail
    • Probation

New York Penal Law Article 190.65 – Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree

  • Class E Felony
    • 1 1/3 to 4 years in jail
    • Probation 

New York Penal Law Article 190.70 – Scheme to Defraud the State by Unlawfully Selling Prescriptions

  • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Maximum fine $1,000 or double the amount of monetary value that the accused gained from the crime
    • Maximum 1 year in jail
    • Probation

Defenses for Fraud Scheme

These are several defenses that your criminal defense attorney may want to use. This is why your attorney wants to go over your story over and over. Some common defenses for fraud schemes include:

  • The defendant did not knowingly defraud the person
  • All benefits were gained by the consent of the victim
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Entrapment 

Your attorney may come up with more defenses. It is also dependent upon what other charges you may get in addition to the fraud and scheme charge.

The last thing you want is to walk around with a criminal charge hanging over you or worse yet, a conviction. Not all frauds and schemes have very long sentences, but many do and that’s why you want to let your lawyer handle it.

Call The Litvak Law Firm at (718) 989-2908 today and let Mr. Litvak immediately get to work on your case and protect your rights.