Fraudulent Schemes and Practices

Knowledgeable Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Skillfully Handling Cases Involving Complex Allegations of White-Collar Crime

Arizona, like many other states, has strict laws when it comes to fraudulent activities. One of the main provisions designed to target fraud under Arizona law is the statute related to "fraudulent schemes and practices." This crime is broadly defined to encompass a wide range of potentially fraudulent actions intended to cause financial or other benefits to one person at the expense of another.

At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our dedicated Phoenix fraudulent schemes and practices lawyer has extensive experience handling these complex and high-stakes cases. We command an in-depth knowledge of the legal and evidentiary requirements that apply in these cases, enabling us to provide our clients with the defense they need to reach the result they are looking for.

What Are Fraudulent Schemes and Practices in Arizona?

The fraudulent schemes and practices statute is found in A.R.S. § 13-2310. The language of the law stipulates that any person who, pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud, knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, or material omissions is guilty of this crime.

To be sure, the statutory language of § 13-23010 is a mouthful. To break it down, in a case involving allegations of fraudulent schemes and practices, the prosecution must prove:

  1. There was a scheme or artifice designed to defraud another person or entity
  2. You knowingly obtained a benefit (typically, but not always, financial);
  3. The benefit was obtained through false pretenses, representations, promises, or by omitting crucial information.
Examples of Fraudulent Schemes and Practices

Fraudulent schemes and practices can take many forms. A case might involve something as sophisticated as complex Ponzi schemes or as simple as deceptive sales practices. Real estate and investment fraud, credit card fraud, and internet scams are just a few examples of activities that could be considered fraudulent schemes and practices.

What is the Punishment for Fraudulent Schemes and Practices?

The penalties for fraudulent schemes and practices are severe. A conviction is usually graded as a class 2 felony. This can lead to extended prison sentences, hefty fines, restitution to victims, and probation. For example, the presumptive sentence for someone without a prior felony conviction is five years in prison. However, if you have one prior felony conviction, your presumptive sentence would be nine years and three months in prison.

Defenses to Fraudulent Schemes and Practices

There are two main types of defenses to fraudulent schemes and practices: substantive and procedural. Substantive defenses relate to problems with the government’s case that prevent it from establishing each of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. For example:

  • You did not intend to defraud anyone;
  • You did not receive a benefit; and
  • You obtained the alleged victim’s consent.

Procedural defenses relate to problems with the investigation leading up to your arrest. For example, procedural defenses include:

  • Law enforcement violated your rights when conducting a search;
  • Law enforcement obtained a statement from you without reading you your Miranda rights; and
  • Challenging the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence based on authenticity or reliability concerns.

Additionally, often, a successful defense requires the defense to call an expert forensic witness to counter the expert witness provided by the prosecution.

Is the Government Claiming You Engaged in Fraudulent Schemes and Practices?

If you recently learned you are under investigation for engaging in fraudulent schemes or practices, it is essential that you enlist the help of an experienced Phoenix theft crimes attorney. And, of course, this is even more important if you’ve already been arrested. Cases involving fraudulent schemes and practices are typically very complex, which can open the door to unorthodox defenses. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have more than 25 years of experience defending clients charged with all types of financial crimes and know what it takes to ensure your case ends in the best result possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call Attorney Novak at 480-413-1499. You can also reach us through our online contact form.