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Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 12:58 pm
New York has several laws that make it a crime to engage in schemes to defraud others. These charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the specifics of the alleged scheme. This article will explain the different degrees of scheme to defraud charges in New York and what they involve.
A scheme to defraud refers to an ongoing, systematic plan to obtain money or property from others through fraudulent means. This is different from a single act of fraud or theft – scheme to defraud requires an overarching plan with multiple actions taken in furtherance of the scheme.
Some examples of schemes to defraud include Ponzi schemes, certain investment frauds, some types of identity theft, and systematically overbilling for services. The key is that there is an intentional, thought-out plan to repeatedly deceive and take advantage of victims over time.
For a scheme to defraud charge in New York, the prosecution generally must prove:
The scheme does not have to involve the exact same actions each time. But there does need to be a pattern of fraudulent conduct all aimed at accomplishing the goals of the overarching scheme.
Under New York Penal Law §190.60, Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree is a Class A misdemeanor. This charge applies when:
For this charge, the prosecution only needs to prove the identity of one victim who lost property. They do not have to prove the identities of any other intended victims.
If convicted of Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a defendant can face up to one year in jail. They can also get probation up to 3 years, and be ordered to pay fines.
Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree is a more serious felony charge under NY Penal Law §190.65. There are three ways this charge can apply:
A “vulnerable elderly person” refers to someone over 60 years old who has an age-related disease or infirmity that makes them unable to adequately care for themselves.
The penalties if convicted of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree can include 1 to 4 years in state prison. The defendant may also get probation up to 5 years, or a conditional discharge. Fines up to $5,000 or double the amount obtained through the scheme can also be imposed.
New York also has a specific statute, NY Penal Law §190.70, that makes it a crime to engage in a systematic scheme to unlawfully sell prescriptions and defraud the state. This involves things like systematically selling fake prescriptions or billing Medicaid for unnecessary prescriptions.
To be guilty of this charge, the defendant must:
This is a Class A misdemeanor with penalties similar to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree.
There are several defenses that may apply in New York scheme to defraud cases:
An experienced New York criminal defense attorney can evaluate the specifics of your case and determine if any defenses may apply to fight the charges.
Prosecutors often bring other charges in addition to scheme to defraud, such as:
The penalties you face can become harsher when multiple crimes are charged together. A knowledgeable defense attorney can argue to get charges dismissed or reduced when appropriate given the facts of your case.
Being charged with any degree of scheme to defraud in New York is very serious. These cases often involve complex investigations and allegations. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can carefully evaluate the prosecution’s evidence, build a defense for trial if needed, and seek the best possible resolution to the charges. For anyone facing scheme to defraud charges in New York, contacting a lawyer promptly is critical.
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