How Do You Know If You Will Commit
Without knowing any specific circumstances, it's not really possible to determine if any particular actions will constitute fraud. However, I will provide here a simple guideline which will help you determine if you could possibly be committing a criminal act constituting fraud. This simple guideline can help you avoid an embarrassing arrest, the necessity of hiring a criminal defense lawyer to represent you on fraud charges and worst of all, several years in prison.
Sales people and especially telemarketers seem to be unusually prone to committing fraud because they accept, if not look for, any explanation told to them by their lawyer that what they are doing is legal and is not fraud.
I have several clients who initially were stockbrokers who were arrested and later became telemarketers in other businesses, only to get into trouble and again.
For instance, one telemarketer told me that he did not know he was doing anything illegal, because his employer retained a lawyer who told all of the telemarketers that what they were selling was legal.
I have had several highly educated people ask me if actions they were proposing would constitute fraud. For instance, a doctor asked me about this illegal scenario which was being proposed by a "runner". A "runner" is a person who illegally pays money to someone injured in an accident in exchange for that person seeing a particular doctor and lawyer.
This runner was proposing what he apparently thought was a creative scheme to make an illegal act legal. He proposed to the doctor that instead of the doctor illegally paying the runner for the patient, the runner had set up a corporation which was a marketing company. The marketing company would invoice the doctor for marketing services rendered. This way, the doctor would be paying for marketing and not for a patient.
It is from this scenario that you can learn what often makes an act an Illegal fraudulent act. In this case, the runner knows that what he is doing is illegal, so he created a method to call what he was doing something by another name. Now, a "runner" would be called a "marketer".
The problem is that while an invoice for marketing will be generated, there is no marketing being conducted. If there was any marketing, it would be easy to prove what kind of marketing was performed. The reality is that the "runner" is illegally paying the patient and sending a phony bill to the doctor.
In this story, the doctor never participated in the fraudulent scheme, I was also asked if I wanted to participate and of course did not. I saw the same "runner" on TV three years later when he was arrested.
Saying that what you are doing is really something else is only going to fool you and not law enforcement officials. You can rob someone, shoot them in the head and say it wasn't murder but was a mercy killing and you may fool yourself for a little while until you have some time to think about it in prison.
The simple fraud avoidance guideline is this: If you are trying to do something that you believe is illegal and find yourself thinking about how to do it, so it is not illegal, find something else to do. Never cook up a scheme to make it look like something else or call it something else. Use common sense and don't rely on statements by your employer or a lawyer hired by your employer. They have their own financial motives and may also have fooled themselves. Remember that both doctors and lawyers have come to me with crazy illegal schemes which they thought would somehow miraculously make something legal.
If you are arrested for any kind of fraud such as accounting fraud, bank fraud, government fraud, insurance fraud, mail fraud, medical fraud, Medicaid fraud, Medicare fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, telemarketing fraud or any other kind of fraud, call a criminal defense fraud lawyer.