When is Fraud a Felony in Texas?

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If you’ve been charged with some type of fraud in the state of Texas, it’s important that you take these charges seriously. You may wonder, is fraud a felony? Whether your fraud charges will be a felony or a misdemeanor will depend on the type of fraud, and the monetary value of the fraud. Either way, you do not want a fraud conviction on your record. And, of course, you don’t want to spend time in jail or prison because of your fraud charges. One of the most important steps you can take following your fraud charges is to speak to an attorney from Whalen Law Office.

Our highly experienced, skilled attorneys will comprehensively review your charges. Next, we will look at all the evidence before determining the best way to proceed. When you choose an attorney from Whalen Law Office, you can be sure you have chosen a well-respected, knowledgeable attorney who will fight for you from beginning to end. We will ensure your rights are properly protected and that they were not violated during your arrest.

Our attorneys will determine whether the search and seizure of items in your home or office were legal and whether there was a valid search warrant in place. At Whalen Law Office, we make customer service a high priority. We truly care about the outcome of your charges—a commitment you will clearly see once you speak to attorneys James Whalen and Ryne Sandel at the Whalen Law Office.

What is Fraud?

Is fraud a felony? It really depends on the type of fraud you are alleged to have committed. In the state of Texas, there are many different ways you could be charged with fraud under the law. Some of these are felony fraud charges, while others are misdemeanor fraud charges. The different types of fraud charges in the state of Texas include:

  • Assuming an appearance that is not your own in order to commit fraud is known as criminal simulation.
  • Altering, manufacturing, executing, or authenticating any writing that belongs to another when that person did not authorize the act is known as forgery.
  • If you steal an unsigned check from another person, or you receive a check stolen by another person intending to use it, you could be charged with the fraud of stealing or receiving a stolen check.
  • Using a counterfeit trademark to create false merchandise is known as trademark counterfeiting.
  • If you intentionally make a false written statement as a means of obtaining credit or property, you could be charged with fraud.
  • Using another person’s credit card or purchasing or selling a stolen credit card results in charges of credit or debit card abuse.
  • Hindering a secured creditor is a form of fraud that involves destroying, removing, concealing, or otherwise harming or reducing the value of the property as a means of hindering enforcement of another’s interest in the property.
  • When you transfer a motor vehicle to another when you have a loan on the vehicle, you could be charged with fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle.
  • Writing a check when you know you do not have sufficient funds in the bank to cover the check is a form of fraud
  • Presenting a creditor with a credit card transaction that didn’t occur is known as credit card transaction record laundering.
  • Deceptive business practices involve deliberately taking money for services never performed.
  • Commercial bribery involves corruption when dealing with a potential buyer as a method of securing an advantage over your competitors.
  • Rigging a public contest (a horse race, or sports event) in order to win a bet.
  • Using illegal means to recruit an athlete
  • Insurance fraud
  • Misappropriation of funds or property
  • Deceiving a person into signing a document—Securing execution of a document by deception
  • Deliberately destroying, removing, or concealing a code, label, price tag, or trademark
  • Falsely simulating a civil or criminal legal process
  • Asserting a fraudulent claim on property, then refusing to release that claim
  • Deceptive advertising
  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Health care fraud
  • Identify theft
  • Securities fraud
  • Issuing or claiming to have an academic degree that doesn’t exist

When is Fraud a Felony in the State of Texas?

Essentially, if the dollar amount of your fraud is less than $100, you will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. Since identity theft is such a big problem in Texas and across the nation, under Texas Penal Code Section 32.51, you will be charged with a state jail felony if the number of identifying information you took is less than five. A state jail felony conviction can result in up to two years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or probation and community service.

More than five pieces of identifying information that belongs to others can result in enhanced charges. As an example, if you stole 20 driver’s licenses from different people, you could face second-degree felony charges. If the fraud you perpetrated results in the theft of more than $300,000, you would be charged with a first-degree felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to from five years to 99 years in prison. Whether or not you will be charged with felony fraud charges is dependent on many different things; contact an experienced attorney from Whalen Law Office to determine whether you are being charged with felony or misdemeanor fraud.

What Are the Potential Penalties for Fraud

If you are convicted of federal fraud charges, below are some of the penalties you might expect:

  • A conviction for bank fraud is usually a felony and could result in a fine of up to $1,000,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
  • Both mail and wire fraud offenses carry a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years when charged as a felony.
  • If you are charged with securities fraud, the Court could order a steep fine based on the amount of money that was fraudulently obtained, and you could be incarcerated for up to 25 years.
  • Healthcare fraud will result in a prison term from a few years to life, along with fines that equal the value of the amount received.
  • Federal bankruptcy fraud could put you in prison for up to five years and could require that you forfeit certain assets.

The penalties for a state fraud conviction will depend on many different factors, including the type of fraud and the monetary amount stolen. One example would be identity theft, which generally results in a maximum of six months to two years in jail as a misdemeanor crime or a state jail offense, although it could be charged as a felony, resulting in more jail time and higher fines. If the identity fraud is skillfully planned and executed, the charges would be bumped up to felony charges and the penalties could range from 2-7 years in prison.

How a White-Collar Criminal Defense Attorney from Whalen Law Office Can Help

A highly experienced criminal defense attorney from Whalen Law Office can answer your question of “Is fraud a felony?” Our attorneys will look at your specific charges, then map out a plan that will result in the least amount of adverse penalties for you. If a good plea deal can be made, your attorney will work toward that end. We may be able to have your charges lowered, or if a conviction is inevitable, we may be able to negotiate lower penalties. Your best course of action after being charged with any type of fraud in Texas is to speak to a Whalen Law Office attorney as quickly as possible. Contact Whalen Law Office today.

Author Bio

James P. Whalen

James P. Whalen is the managing attorney and founder of Whalen Law Office, a Texas criminal defense firm offering personalized legal representation for various federal criminal charges. With a commitment to providing comfort and guidance during challenging times, Mr. Whalen serves as both an attorney and counselor to his clients, helping them navigate their cases while striving to restore normalcy to their lives.

In an inherently unbalanced criminal justice system, Mr. Whalen takes on cases with unwavering dedication. With decades of legal experience, he offers representation across various criminal charges, including white-collar crimes, violent crimes, drug charges, and more. Mr. Whalen’s numerous accolades, including Super Lawyer recognition and board certification in Criminal Appellate Law and Criminal Law, reflect his unwavering commitment to ethical and high-quality legal representation.

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