In Arizona, integrity in all transactions, whether they are personal or business-related, must be upheld or a person can face serious consequences. According to A.R.S. §13-2310, a person may be charged with fraudulent schemes and artifices if they intentionally receive a benefit through the implementation of false pretenses or fraudulent behavior.
These behaviors include the use of material omissions and representations along with false promises which constitute an artifice or scheme intended to defraud another person. This charge can also include anyone who acts with intention to deprive another person of their right to receive honest services. It is also important to note that the alleged victim did not have to rely on the fraud to be considered a victim of fraudulent behavior from the defendant.
Potential Penalties for Fraudulent Schemes
The possible punishments a defendant faces when they have been charged with fraudulent schemes in Arizona will depend upon two factors. First, a person criminal history will play a role with harsher punishments given to those with prior convictions. Second, the amount of benefit the defendant received will also play a role. Here are the most common penalties for those facing charges of fraud:
- First offense is a class two felony with penalties that range from probation to twelve and one-half years of prison-time.
- One allegeable historical prior conviction includes incarceration in prison from anywhere between four and one-half years to twenty-five years.
- Two allegeable historical prior convictions will involve an even longer prison sentence that can range from ten and one-half to twenty-five years.
- Any fraudulent scheme charges, even first-offenses, that result in a benefit of $100,000 or greater for the defendant will not be eligible for probation. Additionally, anyone convicted of this level of classification will only be eligible for the prison-only sentences. If you fall into this category, do not despair. We can still argue for you to receive the minimum sentence instead of the maximum. In most cases, this can shave years off of a person’s sentence.
Potential Defenses for Fraudulent Schemes Charges
An experienced fraudulent schemes defense lawyer can use several strategies to clear you of your charges or at least get your sentences reduced. At DM Cantor, we strive to first prove that a defendant did not act with the intention of defrauding someone. One way we can do this is by using evidence that we gather from our investigation that shows the defendant did not create a scheme for their benefit. We can also argue that any benefit that was gained by the defendant occurred from a mutually agreed upon arrangement that either took place verbally or through a printed exchange. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, we may also argue that the defendant did not receive any actual benefit from the transaction that took place.
There are several common circumstances that arise when we can use this fraudulent schemes defense strategy. One example of this is when a dishonest employer informs the defendant they may use company checks for personal purchases with the intention of using these expenses as tax write-offs. However, the employer quickly turns the tables on the employee in an effort to cover themselves after they experience problems with the IRS, or when the employee-employer relationship goes sour. To cover themselves, the business may claim they never gave the employee the right to use company funds in such a manner. A similar situation sometimes occurs between business partners when one person begins to realize they made a bad investment. In an effort to avoid responsibility, they may place the blame on the defendant and make claims they were falsely led to believe the business venture was profitable.
When our defense team takes on a client facing charges of fraudulent schemes in Arizona, we take action immediately so we can interview witnesses and gather other important evidence. By doing so, we can sometimes negotiate a civil disposition. This involves a settlement that either releases the defendant from all charges or reduces their sentence.
For the best defense strategies, you need a team of lawyers with experience on their side. At our law offices, our legal team includes ex-prosecutors who understand how it works on the other side and can use this knowledge to prepare the best defense for your case. For a free initial consultation, contact us at 602-737-2812 or click here to fill out our confidential online form today.