An escrow service is typically implemented in an auction or sales transaction to protect the buyer. The purchaser buys an item, usually for a large amount of money, and he or she pays the escrow service the amount owed. The seller then ships the item to the buyer, and the buyer as a certain period of time to ensure the item is correct and as described. If the buyer accepts the item, the escrow service releases the money to the seller. If the buyer does not accept the item, he or she must first return it to the seller. When the seller confirms that the item is in the same condition and not manipulated in any way, the escrow service refunds the buyer’s money.
Although escrow services are an important, legitimate function and are used in many transactions without problems or complications, escrow scams are a very real possibility. If you are involved in an escrow scam, you could face significant, severe penalties as it is considered a criminal offense. If you or someone you love is facing charges, you need an escrow fraud lawyer on your side to fight for your rights. For more information about our legal services or to schedule a consultation, please contact the legal team at Raiser & Kenniff, PC today.
What Are Escrow Service Scams?
The scam typically involves the development of a fake escrow service. In this scheme, the buyer believes he or she is protected from loss and thus remits payment to the escrow service. However, the fraudulent service keeps the money they receive, and the buyer never receives the item that he or she purchased.
In some instances, people use the escrow service scam as a phishing operation. The seller tells the buyer that financial information is necessary in order to make payment for the item. Once the fraudulent service receives the buyer’s bank account number, credit card details and other financial information, it may use the information to withdraw funds without the buyer’s authorization or sell the information on the black market.
Escrow services typically go hand-in-hand with auction fraud scams. A seller sets up a shell auction, and a buyer believes that he or she is purchasing a high-value item. Once the buyer wins the auction, he is told her must pay the escrow service before he receives the item. In this type of auction, the item does not exist, and when the buyer sends the money, he loses not only the item but also his money and financial details as well.
Fake Escrow Service Penalties
In New York state court, a conviction of operating a fake escrow service may result in criminal larceny charges. The penalties for larceny will depend on the value of items allegedly taken from the victim. Under article 190 of the New York Penal Code, criminal penalties are imposed for a number of frauds, including identity theft, criminal use of access devices, schemes to defraud, false advertising and criminal impersonation.
If someone is charged in the state of New York for escrow fraud, he or she may be convicted of a felony offense, complete with a lengthy incarceration sentence. However, if an escrow scam involves the theft of a large sum of money or identity theft, state criminal charges may not be as severe as federal charges. Operating an escrow service scam can trigger federal charges for fraud involving identifying documents as well as mail and wire fraud. Mail and wire fraud alone can each result in a maximum prison sentence of up to 30 years in a federal facility.
Do Not Handle Your Case Alone: Contact a New York Escrow Service Fraud Lawyer Today
Although some people may wish to represent themselves against accusations of escrow fraud, the law can be complex regarding these situations. For this reason, it is important that you do not act alone. Raiser & Kenniff, PC provides representation to defendants accused of escrow service fraud, shell auction fraud and other types of fraud schemes. Our team will fight for your rights and strive to protect your interests, regardless of whether we negotiate a plea deal or defend you in court. For more information about our legal services or to speak to someone regarding your escrow fraud case, please contact a New York fraud defense lawyer at Raiser & Kenniff, PC today.