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Houston Fraud Charge Lawyer

Attorney Greg Tsioros


Fraud Charge Defense in Houston: Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris & Montgomery Counties

Section 32 of the Texas Penal Code discusses different types of fraud and the penalties for committing them. Fraud is normally considered a white-collar crime and people from all walks of life are charge with this offense each year. Here are few crimes that constitute fraud in the State of Texas.

Ambulance Fraud

Federal emergency services fraud prosecutions are on the rise. Violations of Medicare, Medicaid and Obama Care billing standards are costing the taxpayer millions of dollars every year. A federal prosecution for ambulance fraud can put a health care provider out of business. You could even be harshly fined or sent to federal prison. The services of an experienced billing fraud attorney will be required to avoid a criminal conviction.

It’s a crime to charge the federal government for services that were never rendered or that violate current billing standards. The federal government has even instituted a whistleblower law that allows informants to obtain a sizeable reward for exposing instances of financial abuse or theft. Health care regulations are constantly changing and billing standards are often subject to interpretation.

To qualify as a billable emergency transport the ambulance provider must meet two basic criteria. An emergency transport is regarded as medically necessary only if another form of transportation was unavailable and the health of the patient warranted the use of emergency services. The unnecessary transport of dialysis patients, for example, is a violation of the federal False Claims Act.

Bank Fraud

Bank fraud is a federal criminal offense with severe repercussions. A conviction on federal bank fraud charges can permanently destroy a defendant’s lifestyle and future prospects. Bank fraud charges can result in incarceration and extensive financial penalties. An effective legal defense will be required to avoid these serious consequences.

Bank fraud occurs when someone purposely institutes a scheme to defraud a bank or other financial institution. There are many ways to fraudulently obtain money, property or other assets from a financial institution, including wire or mail fraud, submitting falsified documents, forgery and counterfeiting. Allegations of bank fraud are prosecuted by the federal government rather than state prosecutors.

Executing a scheme to illegally obtain money or property from a federally insured financial institution is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. The federal judiciary can also impose fines of up to one-million dollars. Federal prosecutions of bank fraud receive a substantial amount of negative publicity in and out of the courtroom. The reputation and earning potential of a bank fraud defendant can be irreparably harmed.

Bankruptcy Fraud

It constitutes bankruptcy fraud when a bankruptcy applicant fails to provide accurate information to a federal bankruptcy court. Specific guidelines have been established to ensure that individual or business bankruptcy petitioners do not abuse federal bankruptcy laws. Under federal law, individuals and businesses with overwhelming debt are entitled to protection and relief. Over 93 percent of all Convicted bankruptcy fraud defendants spend time in federal prison.

Bankruptcy petitioners are required to accurately report their debts and assets. Illegally concealing assets or other required information on a bankruptcy filing or associated schedules is a federal crime. Failing to provide accurate information could result in a bankruptcy fraud investigation and prosecution.

An effective legal defense is the best way to avoid conviction on federal bankruptcy fraud charges. If it can be shown that the inclusion of inaccurate information or misstatements on a bankruptcy petition was the result of an honest mistake, it may be possible to have the charges reduced or dismissed. In any case, conviction is not assured since the prosecution must prove the guilt of a bankruptcy fraud defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.

Check Fraud

The law has been on the books for a long time, but writing a bad check is still a bad idea. It’s one of those crimes that can buy you a little time, but the end result is a criminal conviction that can only make life more difficult. The best way to avoid a damaging check fraud conviction is to prepare a strong defense.

The Texas Penal Code makes it illegal to issue or pass a bad check. If the defendant was aware that insufficient funds were available to cover the amount of the check, including any outstanding checks, a criminal prosecution may ensue. Issuing a check on an account that does not exist is also a crime.

Check fraud is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum fine of $500. Issuing a bad check to meet a child support obligation is a Class B misdemeanor. Conviction could send a check fraud defendant to county jail for up to six months.

Consumer Fraud

These days, there are so many ways to be victimized by consumer fraud. From identity theft to fraudulent charities, consumers are finding it necessary to file consumer fraud lawsuits to obtain financial relief. Federal and state consumer protection laws make it possible for consumer fraud victims to take legal action with the assistance of an experienced consumer fraud attorney.

Consumer fraud is on the rise, especially among the senior citizen population. It’s hard to know who to trust. Deceptive trade practices, fraudulent financial tactics and illegal business scams have placed the financial future of many consumers in jeopardy. Fraudulent sales pitches, real estate gambits, bad faith denials of coverage and other forms of economic fraud have cost fraud victims millions of dollars.

Employing deceitful business practices to defraud consumers is illegal. Consumer protection statutes allow fraud victims to seek justice by filing a consumer fraud lawsuit. Any false representation that results in financial damages can provide the basis for a successful lawsuit.

Financial Fraud

Personal and corporate financial fraud investigations can lead to serious criminal charges and a life altering conviction. When an individual, financial fiduciary or financial services professional employs deceit to steal money or property, it constitutes a crime under state and federal law. The evidence in a financial fraud case is often subject to interpretation and deserves the attention of an experienced financial crimes attorney.

The advancement of technology has opened the door to a host of digital fraud crimes. Crimes such as identity theft, Internet fraud and credit card fraud are now commonplace. Familiar crimes like the misappropriation of funds, wire and mail fraud, telemarketing scams, mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes and money laundering are also committed with the assistance of modern communication methods.

Financial fraud is punishable by incarceration and financial penalties. Bank fraud, SEC violations, health care fraud, embezzlement, RICO violations, extortion and other federal offenses can result in a long federal prison sentence with little chance of parole. White collar convictions can suddenly destroy a promising financial services career.

Healthcare Fraud

The submission of a fraudulent health care claim is a crime under state and federal law. Both consumers and health care providers can be prosecuted for violating health care laws or billing standards. Health care fraud investigations are a high priority for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. The representation of an experienced health care fraud attorney will be necessary to avoid a criminal conviction.

Individuals often commit health care fraud by selling or falsifying prescriptions, submitting inaccurate information to obtain insurance coverage or using or permitting others to improperly present an insurance card to obtain health care services. Health care professionals can commit fraud by submitting billing claims for services that were never provided, billing for unwarranted procedures, submitting duplicate billing claims, issuing unnecessary prescriptions or utilizing unqualified health care workers to increase profits.

The healthcare industry represents a substantial portion of the U.S. economy. The potential for financial abuse is enormous. Fraudulent practices such as altering dates or falsifying medical records can cost taxpayers and consumers billions of dollars every year.

Insurance Fraud

Defrauding an insurance company is a crime under Texas law. Providing false information on an insurance application or claim can result in the filing of criminal charges. Depending on the value of a fraudulent claim, an insurance fraud conviction is punishable by incarceration, financial penalties and the loss of professional licenses. The evidence in an insurance fraud case may be subject to interpretation. Retaining the services of an experienced insurance fraud defense attorney is the best way to avoid a life altering conviction.

Insurance fraud is associated with everything from automobile accident and workers’ compensation claims to life insurance and property damage claims. The knowing submission of a false statement, including cooperating in any way with the preparation or endorsement of a falsified claim, to an insurance provider is a criminal offense.

The provision of misleading information or the preparation of supporting documentation to validate a falsified insurance claim is a violation of Texas law. It’s also illegal to pay or solicit a benefit as part of an insurance fraud scheme. Extensive insurance fraud allegations are even punishable by a first degree felony conviction.

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is a serious federal offense that could result in a prison sentence and harsh fines. Nevertheless, the government bears the burden of proving that a defendant knowingly used a private interstate carrier or the U.S. Postal service to defraud another party of money or property. A seasoned mail fraud defense lawyer will aggressively challenge the prosecution’s evidence in federal court.

Mail fraud investigations are usually conducted by either the FBI or U.S. Postal Service. Federal mail fraud laws pertain to a broad range of potential crimes involving schemes to illegally obtain money or property. Federal prosecutors must prove that a mail fraud defendant knowingly employed deceit or dishonesty to defraud another party. It doesn’t necessarily constitute a crime just because an alleged victim suffered a financial loss.

Mail fraud entails a purposeful effort to use dishonest means to cheat or mislead an alleged victim. Moreover, mail fraud allegations aren’t limited to the person or persons that mailed the materials in question. Any intentional involvement in the attempt to defraud innocent victims is sufficient grounds for prosecution.

Medical Fraud

With the addition of the Affordable Care Act, government funded health care coverage has reached mammoth proportions. The sheer volume of health care claims has led to an epidemic of medical fraud cases. Even honest mistakes can lead to a costly health care fraud investigation or prosecution. The services of an experienced medical fraud attorney will be necessary to make sense of the constantly changing network of confusing health care laws and regulations.

Federal health care insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid are fraught with bureaucratic red tape. Health care regulators are well funded and eager to punish fraud and abuse. There’s certainly no shortage of schemes to grab a share of the health care loot. Instances of duplicate billing, improper coding and billing for services that were never provided are commonplace.

Health care consumers, suppliers and providers can suddenly get caught up in a medical fraud investigation. Even organized crime has gotten into the medical fraud business. Misrepresenting the date that a service was provided or altering medical records are only two ways to defraud the government.

Money Transfer Fraud

Obtaining money from another party under false pretenses is a crime. Using the Internet, mail, telephone or other electronic means to conduct a money transfer scam could result in federal criminal charges. One of the more common money transfer scams involves fake charity donation drives. Depositing a victim’s donation into a fraudulent bank account constitutes money transfer fraud. The prosecutor bears the burden of proving every element of a money transfer fraud charge beyond a reasonable doubt in federal court.

A federal money transfer fraud conviction is punishable by incarceration, financial penalties or probation. The available charges and punishments can be enhanced for transferring funds across state lines. A money transfer fraud investigation often begins with the obtaining of a search warrant. Evidence such as computers and financial records can be seized by law enforcement officials and used as evidence to obtain a conviction.

Money transfer fraud charges can be challenged in a number of ways, including violations of legal protocol and challenging inadmissible or circumstantial evidence. The services of an experienced money transfer fraud defense lawyer will prove to be essential.

Mortgage Fraud

The loss of a home due to foreclosure is a difficult ordeal to endure. The truth is that many homeowners end up with mortgage payments they can’t really afford. Believe it or not, many of these former homeowners end up being accused of mortgage fraud. A significant number of loan and bank agents suffer a similar fate.

Many foreclosure victims and mortgage professionals are improperly charged with mortgage fraud. Each and every mortgage fraud case is unique and deserves the attention of an experienced mortgage fraud defense attorney. Among the most common reasons for initiating a mortgage fraud case are falsified documents, appraisal fraud and approval violations.

Real estate agents and lending professionals often bend the rules to get a loan package approved. It’s relatively easy for a home appraiser to inflate the value of a home. After receiving an inflated sales commission check, the real estate agent then pays off the appraiser. That’s only one example of how impropriety can cause an unsuspecting homeowner to be saddled with an excessively high mortgage payment.

Fraud Charges and Consequences

Someone who is accused of fraud is often thought of as untrustworthy. This can cause people to shy away from that individual causing strained business and personal relationships. It can also lead to legal consequences which generally depend on the type of fraud committed and the amount of money or property involved. A few sanctions provided for under Texas law include:

  • Prison terms ranging from 2 to 99 years
  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • House arrest
Successful Defense of Fraud Charges

In order to prove any criminal act a defendant must be shown to have intentionally or recklessly committed an act. This is known as Mens Rea, which is Latin for “guilty mind.” Some cases of fraud are lacking in this element because people often commit fraudulent acts quite innocently. They may inadvertently become involved in scams without realizing they are helping others defraud people of their personal assets. Houston fraud attorney Greg Tsioros will examine every piece of evidence against you in order to provide reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.

Contact Houston Fraud Lawyer – Greg Tsioros

Greg Tsioros is an experienced Houston criminal lawyer who has worked with the Harris County District Attorney. While doing so he became familiar with some of the methods used by prosecutors to secure a conviction. He now uses that knowledge to help people accused of a crime by preparing an aggressive defense to counteract the state’s tactics. If you or a loved one is charged with or suspected of fraud, call The Law Office of Greg Tsioros for a free consultation today.