Fraudulent Schemes (A.R.S. §13-2310)
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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-2310, “Fraudulent Schemes” occurs when a person creates a scheme or artifice to defraud, and knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions. A “scheme or artifice” to defraud includes a scheme to deprive a person of the intangible right of honest services. To be convicted, it is not necessary that the person who is defrauded actually relied on the fraud.
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Possible Punishment for Fraudulent Schemes
Conviction on a first-offense Fraudulent Schemes charge is a class two (2) felony , carrying punishment of the following:
- Probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of three (3) years to twelve and one half (12.5) years of incarceration.
- If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is four and one half (4.5) years to twenty-three and one quarter (23.25) years in prison.
- If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is ten and one half (10.5) to thirty-five (35) years of incarceration.
If the amount of benefit received by the defendant is valued at $100,000.00 or more, then probation is not available and the “prison only” range must be served. However, we would still argue for the minimum prison sentence as opposed to the maximum; your case is not hopeless.
Possible Defenses for Fraudulent Schemes
The key to successfully defending a Fraudulent Schemes charge is showing that the defendant did not “knowingly” defraud anyone. This can be accomplished by presenting evidence that the defendant never created any scheme or artifice to obtain some fraudulent benefit from another person. Any benefit received by the defendant was either through the consent of the alleged “victim” (not based on any fraud on the part of the defendant), on a mutual misunderstanding between both of the parties, or alternatively, that there was no benefit to the defendant. In many circumstances, people are accused of Fraudulent Schemes by dishonest employers. Sometimes the defendant (employee) has been told that they can pay personal expenses with company checks as a sort of “bonus” that the employer can then write off as a taxable event. When the employment relationship goes bad, or if there are any IRS tax problems, the employer then accuses the employee of some sort of embezzlement, claiming that the employer never gave the employee permission.
Another typical circumstance is between business partners. When business deals fall apart, or one partner realizes that he may have made a bad business investment and may lose a lot of money, he might claim that the defendant misinformed him as to important aspects of the business deal, or that key elements of the business deal were omitted from negotiations, fraudulently inducing him to invest his money.
In order to present a strong defense, it is important to have all aspects of the case investigated thoroughly. One of the most important things to do in a Fraudulent Schemes case it to interview the alleged “victim” and to identify any inconsistencies in their side of the story. Additionally, it is important to find and interview any other witnesses to the transaction (for example, co-workers) who could serve as material witnesses on behalf of the defendant. In certain cases, our White Collar Crime lawyers in Arizona are able to negotiate a “Civil Disposition” which serves as a settlement of all claims, and the prosecutor usually will either withdraw the criminal prosecution or plead it to a much lower charge involving no jail or prison time. In addition, we can often intercept cases while they are currently under investigation and prevent the prosecutor from filing any charges at all. These are known as “Pre-charge/ Investigation Stage” cases.
Additional Defenses and Your Rights
Additionally, because our law firm fights convictions from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues.
Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Fraudulent Schemes lawyer to defend you, who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
For a Free Initial Consultation, Call Us at 602-307-0808 and speak to a Fraud Defense Lawyer in Arizona. We will assist you with your Fraudulent Schemes case.