Fraud is an act of deception, either through concealing or misrepresenting the truth or through outright complete fabrication of facts. In acts of criminal fraud, the concealment, misrepresentation, or fabrication is typically intended for personal financial gain or the receipt of benefits to which one is not otherwise entitled.

There are virtually countless acts of fraud for which a person may be criminally charged, and both state and federal laws prohibiting and penalizing each type.  Many acts of fraud are felonies, and without adequate criminal defense representation, a defendant charged with fraud may be facing years behind bars, heavy fines, and restitution to the victim. Felony conviction can also impact voting rights, gun ownership, public assistance, and professional opportunities.

If you are accused of fraud or believe you may be under investigation, call at once for legal counsel and defense representation.

Oklahoma Fraud Crimes

While criminal fraud can be committed through blatant, outright lies, it is often through smaller, much more innocuous acts of concealment that fraud is committed. Because of this, a person may be charged with fraud as a result of a mistake, a misunderstanding, or a simple lie of omission that seemed relatively harmless at the time.

There are many different types of fraud. Some acts of fraud may fall under more than one statute, and the state of Oklahoma or the federal government may choose the easiest charge to prosecute when determining charges to be filed.

Common fraud cases include the following:

  • Bank fraud, or making false representations to a financial institution in order to secure a loan
  • Bankruptcy fraud, or concealing assets to avoid forfeiture in a bankruptcy filing
  • Check fraud, including uttering forged instruments and passing bogus checks
  • Credit card fraud, which may entail lying on credit card applications, identity theft, using counterfeit or cloned credit cards, or using a stolen credit card
  • Health care fraud, which may include using someone else’s information or Medicaid number to get health care benefits or, more typically, provider fraud committed through false billing, upcoding, and other acts to obtain Medicare reimbursement
  • Insurance fraud, which can include making false claims or overstating losses
  • Investment fraud, including misrepresenting investors, Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and insider trading
  • Mail fraud or wire fraud, which are federal crimes that utilize a postal service, wire transfer service, or electronic communications service in order to carry out the fraud
  • Mortgage fraud, in which a homebuyer or real estate professional misrepresents information on a mortgage loan application to qualify for a bigger loan, to secure a loan greater than the value of the property, or to achieve more favorable interest rates
  • Tax fraud, or tax evasion, in which a person attempts to reduce or eliminate the tax bill owed or tries to receive a refund to which he or she is not entitled. This is typically accomplished through underreporting income or overstating deductions
  • Welfare fraud, or misuse of public assistance, whether through concealing information in order to obtain or continue to receive benefits or through buying or selling food stamps or goods obtained through WIC

Fraud may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific offense with which a person is charged. To understand the allegations against you and any penalties associated with the charge, call Coventon Criminal Defense for a free case review.

Fraud Penalties in Oklahoma

The terms fraud, defraud, and fraudulent occur at least 37 times in the table of contents of the Oklahoma criminal code. This means that there are dozens of ways a fraud case may be prosecuted and penalized in Oklahoma—and that does not even take into consideration the federal fraud crimes prosecuted by U.S. Attorneys.

The state does have a general fraud statute, found in 21 O.S. § 1541.1 – Obtaining Property by Trick or Deception:

Every person who, with intent to cheat and defraud, shall obtain or attempt to obtain from any person, firm or corporation any money, property or valuable thing, of a value less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), by means or by use of any trick or deception, or false or fraudulent representation or statement or pretense, or by any other means or instruments or device commonly called the "confidence game", or by means or use of any false or bogus checks, or by any other written or printed or engraved instrument or spurious coin, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

The next section stipulates that if the value of the property involved is at least $500, but less than $1,000, the crime is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000, restitution, and up to one year in jail.

If the value of property involved in the fraud is $1,000 or greater, fraud is a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

White Collar Criminal Defense in Oklahoma

To speak confidentially with an Oklahoma criminal lawyer about your fraud case, call Coventon Criminal Defense at (405) 417-3842, or submit the free case review form linked in the header of this page.