Fraud is the intentional deception of another person or group of people for one’s personal gain, financial or otherwise. In New Jersey, fraud is a crime.
There are many different types of fraud. All frauds have one common element, and that’s an illegal gain through deceptive means. The following are the types of fraud that are indictable under New Jersey law.
1. Insurance Fraud: N.J.S.A. 17:33A defines insurance fraud in New Jersey. Insurance fraud can be committed using any type of insurance – medical, automobile, unemployment or homeowner’s. Usually, this type of fraud is committed by submitting false information to an insurance company when submitting a claim or application in an attempt to be rewarded with more compensation for a loss or more favorable terms in one’s policy.
- AutomobileInsurance Fraud: It is illegal to produce or sell fakeautomobile insurance cards in New Jersey. Doing so is punishable byup to eighteen months in jail, thirty days of community service,and/or a fine of $10,000.
- Health CareInsurance Fraud: Submitting an insurance claim for health careservices that were never actually received is illegal and punishableby a fine of up to $150,000 or up to five times the amount for whichthe claim was submitted. A false claim from a non-health careprofessional could lead to a three to five year prison sentence forits filer. Additionally, over-billing for, receiving kickbacks from,and receiving more Medicaid benefits than one is entitled to arepunishable by a $10,000 fine and up to three years in jail.
- UnemploymentInsurance Fraud: It is illegal to collect unemployment benefitswhile one is employed. If an offender gains $200 or more fromunemployment insurance fraud, he or she faces up to eighteen monthsin jail and a $10,000 fine. A gain of up to $500 is punishable bythree to five years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000. Gains ofover $75,000 elevate unemployment insurance fraud charges to asecond degree crime, which is punishable by five to ten years injail and a fine of up to $150,000.
In addition to fines and other penalties, any person convicted of insurance fraud in New Jersey may also be required to pay a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
2. Identity Fraud: Identity fraud is the act of using another person’s personal information for criminal purposes, such as gaining money, eluding police, or otherwise tarnishing his or her character. Identity fraud is most commonly committed by using names and other information found on driver’s licenses, credit cards, or social security cards.
Identity fraud is a third degree crime if two to four people are the victims of an offender’s crime, or if the amount of money lost due to identity fraud is between $500 and $75,000. A convicted defendant faces three to five years in jail plus restitution payments to his or her victim or victims.
If there are five or more victims in an identity theft case, or if the total value of the damage done is greater than $75,000, it is a second degree crime. Second degree identity frauds are punished by five to ten years in jail and restitution payments.
If there is only one victim and/or the money lost is less than $500, it is a fourth degree crime. Fourth degree identity fraud crimes are punishable by up to eighteen months in jail and restitution requirements.
3. Consumer Fraud: Consumer fraud is a broad term that refers to false promises or pretenses, omission or concealment of terms during the advertisement or sale process. Defendants found guilty of consumer fraud must pay restitution of three times the amount of the victim’s money lost back to the victim.
4. Computer Fraud: Computer fraud is any theft committed with the use of a computer or the internet. Usually, the property stolen is data that can then be used for financial gain. This can be in the form of an email scam, fraudulent auction, virus, or simply using another’s log-in information to access personal content.
Fraud and theft have similar motivations and outcomes, but it is important to note the difference between the two crimes. Fraud is committed when deceit is employed to gain a monetary or other advantage. A theft does not have the element of deception. In short, a fraud is a concealed theft, and some frauds are not discovered until months or years after they are committed.
If you have been accused of fraud, don’t wait to start building your case. You need a lawyer who’s knowledgeable about fraud to help you put forward the best defense possible. Call Ron Bar-Nadav at 201-525-1555 today to speak about your specific case and how you can win it. Don’t delay – call now to make sure you’re prepared for your court date.