An individual, educational institution or business that engages in intentional deception or misrepresentation might be risking more than just criminal penalties for violating Texas criminal laws against fraud. Those who engage in fraudulent scams and schemes can be subjected to additional legal consequences that may include injunctions and civil monetary damages.
Texas consolidated most business and consumer fraud crimes. Chapter 32 of the Texas Penal Code includes different forms of fraudulent conduct that may subject a person to criminal punishments. Some of the offenses included in the statute are:
The severity of Texas fraud penalties depend upon the financial harm done to the victim. Charges and the punishment imposed upon conviction can range from a Class C misdemeanor and a fine up to $500 where the amount of the damages is less than $20 to a felony of the first degree punishable by imprisonment for five to 99 years and a $10,000 fine where the damages are $200,000 or more.
A person victimized by a fraudulent scheme might be entitled to recover monetary damages in civil court. Depending upon the type of fraud, civil courts can grant an injunction to prevent future financial harm and award a judgment against the con artist for the damages suffered by the victim.
In order to obtain a conviction in a criminal fraud case, prosecutors must produce evidence to establish each of the following elements of the crime:
• The statement or representation was false when it was made
• The person making the statement or representation knew it to be false
• The accused intended for the victim to rely upon the statement
A defense attorney might challenge the evidence by showing a lack of intent or that the individual charged with the crime believed the representation to be true. Weakening the prosecution case might result in dismissal or other result favorable to the accused. If you would like to get your fraud charges dismissed, call Rand Mintzer at 713-862-8880.