Understanding the Gravity of Fraud and False Pretense Charges


Most people throughout the world fear that they may become the victim of a violent crime. The truth of the matter, however, is that people are far more likely to suffer a financial or property crime. While many people don’t believe that these crimes are as bad as violent offenses, the criminal justice system often punishes the offenders of such crimes even more harshly than violent offenders. Fraud and false pretense charges can cause a person several difficulties in their present and future lives if they’re convicted, so it is important that anyone charged of these crimes get a criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Definition and Legal Penalties

Fraud and false pretense have nearly the same definition in every part of the country. The basic definition is the criminal or wrongful deception of others with the specific intent to gain financial or personal rewards. False pretense usually relates to what is considered ‘theft by deception’. This may also be considered fraud, but fraud laws often include numerous subsections including computer fraud, wire fraud, welfare fraud and several other specific instances that can carry varying penalties.

Most people who are convicted of false pretense or fraud will likely face jail time or at least serious fines. A misdemeanor charge will only result in a year or less in county jail, but the fines involved are often extremely high. Some statues set certain fines forth while others base the fine on the doubled or even tripled value of the property that was deceptively taken. These charges can also be brought forth as felonies. According to our Charlotte criminal attorney, the severity of charges and penalties often depends on the financial amount stolen and the number of people affected.

Current and Future Consequences

Legal issues are not the only possible consequences that a person will face when charged and convicted of false pretense or fraud. Just about any criminal charge can affect a person’s current employment status. Many companies will not want to work with a convicted criminal, especially if the charges were felony.

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There are several employers, however, that will choose to overlook new criminal convictions if they don’t relate to a person’s job. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case with fraud and false pretense charges. A person who is willing to steal is a liability for absolutely any company, so it is very likely that a person will immediately lose their job.

These charges will also affect a person’s future job opportunities as well. All employment applications ask if a person has been convicted of a crime in their lifetime. They claim these aren’t automatic disqualifiers, but in the case of fraud and false pretense, it often is.

There aren’t many jobs whose workers don’t work with customers’ money or financial information, so it is imperative that these companies don’t hire people who have been convicted of dishonest financial crimes in the past. So unfortunately, a single charge of this type can follow a person forever if the charges aren’t dismissed.

Being convicted of fraud or false pretense is a serious issue that should never be taken lightly. These charges should always be faced with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney due to the high stakes involved. A conviction of this magnitude can lead to serious legal consequences and repercussions that will affect a person throughout the entirety of their lives. There aren’t many mistakes that should follow a person for the rest of their lives, and until the criminal justice system gets around to noticing this, it is up to defense lawyers to help the accused get the best outcome possible during their trial.

Shelby Warden is a researcher and contributing author for the Charlotte criminal attorney team at Powers McCartan. If you have been arrested on fraud and false pretense charges in North Carolina, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights as soon as possible. Before taking any action, contact Powers McCartan to discuss your legal options.

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