It may be easy for people in New York to think of fraud as a type of offense that is well-defined and fits neatly into a proverbial box, yet in reality, alleged fraud schemes can be incredibly complex and involve elements that many people might not even be aware of. For all of the different types of fraud, however, at the heart of each case is an apparent degree of deception. Any example of a person using questionable means to secure money (either from an individual or an organization) might be viewed as meeting the definition of fraud.
“Questionable means” might often be open to interpretation. Sometimes it may be very clear, as it appears to be in a recent case involving a mother and daughter in California. Authorities recently arrested the pair for allegedly bilking the local housing authority of hundred of thousands of dollars. The assistance they received was meant to benefit disabled persons who could not work, yet law enforcement officials claim to have evidence that show that the pair were not at limited in their activities. In fact, they are accused of using the money the received to go on lavish vacations. Neighbors also claim they drove expensive sports cars. It was reported that the two used false birth certificates and identification cards in order to further their scheme.
While this case may appear to be one in which officials have the evidence needed to prove fraudulent intent, others may not be so cut-and-dry. Indeed, people legitimately involved in business transactions or benefit programs might easily see their motives questioned and accusations of fraud leveled at them. When this happens, a criminal defense attorney may be their best bet at successfully responding to such accusations.