When discussing fraudulent schemes to illegally obtain money from unsuspecting citizens, people in New York may mistakenly use the terms "Ponzi scheme" and "pyramid scheme" interchangeably. The confusion is understandable because both types of schemes function in a basically similar way. Each requires many investors to opt into it, each involves moving ill-gotten money around from person to person, and each inevitably collapses when it becomes too large to sustain itself, leaving only the original instigator with a profit. However, there are some fundamental differences that distinguish the two.
In New York, mail fraud is one of the most common federal charges that the average citizen will face. However, many people may not even be aware that mail-related crimes fall under the federal government’s jurisdiction. However, mail fraud is in fact a very serious deed that can result in you facing harsher penalties than you initially expected.
If you are like many people in New York, you may often struggle to understand some white collar crime charges. Most of these cases center around a person, a group of persons or a company earning a profit from their actions. This in and of itself is not only not illegal but is central to a healthy capitalist economy. The line between what is legal and what is illegal when it comes to making these profits can be quite thin and blurry at times.
The Internet offers you a wealth of opportunities to extend commercial endeavors far beyond New York City. Whereas in the past, if you had something to sell, you would typically only advertise the sale locally, you can now reach a national (or even international) purchasing audience. The exposure the Web offers also allows you to generate significant interest in what you have to sell, even to the point of creating a potential bidding war. Yet as many of those that we here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP can attest to, overseeing an online auction should be done with caution.
Like many in New York, you might assume accusations of fraud to be limited to organizations operating in the professional, for-profit word. Your charitable work for a non-profit organization could certainly not be subject to such suspicions, right? That is what many of those that we here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP have worked with believed, yet a lack of knowledge or poor management ultimately led to them facing fraud charges. How, then, can you avoid such penalties with your charitable organization?
The New York court system is no stranger to fraud cases, but a recent case involving bank loans to two media companies may prove difficult to prosecute because the banks who lent the money suffered no financial loss.
The common conceptual image that many in New York may have of fraud schemes is likely of a high-profile executive who steals millions from a large company and corporation. In reality, however, fraud can occur amongst anyone from any walk of life. Any action meant to financially injure a person or organization perpetuated through deceit and misrepresentations may qualify as fraud. Many such cases may even arise from people supposedly looking to take advantage of procedural holes in systems with which they are familiar.
People often invest in securities in New York with the naive expectation of generating significant returns on their investments in a short amount of time. In reality, short-term financial gains made from securities are much more modest, with some people even losing money on such investments. When the latter occurs (and you happen the be the one who brokered said deals), accusations of fraud are often quick to accompany such losses. How, then, are you to show that work was legitimate, and that a client is simply trying to punish you for his or her unrealistic expectations?
You hear the word "fraud," and immediately may think of nefarious characters looking to steal millions from businesses or private citizens in New York. In reality, however, fraud accusations can be far-reaching. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines it as "the intentional perversion of the truth for the purpose of inducing another person or other entity in reliance upon it to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right." This potentially broad application has led many of those that we here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP have worked with to be unwittingly accused of conducted fraudulent activities. One such activity that is becoming increasingly prevalent is return fraud.
Perhaps one of the reason why so many are seemingly quick to adjudicate those accused of crimes in New York as being guilty in the court of public opinion is that they view criminal activity as being largely "black-and-white" (either one did commit a crime, or he or she did not). Yet in many cases, it is not that simple. Cases involving fraud, for example, can often arise due to simple mismanagement or judgment errors (such as offering bad investment advice or inadvertently comingling funds). In these cases, the actions of the accused should be closely examined to see if there truly was any criminal intent involved.