There have been a number of widely-reported cases of sports and entertainment stars losing money due to poor investments and less-than-honest financial advisors. Some prominent celebrities lost millions to Bernie Madoff, for example.
Identity theft has been around since the days where people would steal checking account statements out of a mailbox or someone's driver's license or credit card. The victim could suffer financial damage, not to mention significant inconvenience, to be sure. However, with so much of our business and personal activity now done online, the potential loss, and therefore the penalties, are much greater.
What you might see as creative accounting or simple desperate measures to keep your household or business afloat short-term could actually be bank fraud. Check kiting occurs when someone uses more than one bank account, writing checks and depositing them in a circular fashion to make it look like funds are present when they are not. This is possible when someone uses the bank float system to their advantage, and it is illegal.
One type of fraud for which you can be arrested and convicted is to send out fake invoices that are actually solicitations. While they may contain disclaimers somewhere in small print stating, "This is not a bill," that is not sufficient.
One of the crimes investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation is mortgage fraud. As one of the crimes that comes under the umbrella of financial institution fraud, mortgage fraud is characterized by misrepresentations, omissions or material misstatements related to the generation of a mortgage loan.
There's a new scam in town.
At its most basic level, fraud is based on deception of some type. A person can be accused of intentionally defrauding another individual for money or other gain, or he or she can be accused of defrauding an institution or entity. But the common denominator is always some kind of deceit in order to take advantage of a situation or person.
Oregon residents may be interested in a case in which five employees of Starkey Laboratories -- an international manufacturer of hearing aids based in another state -- have been charged with the theft of over $20 million from the company. Three of the accused individuals were executive members of the company. The federal charges that they are facing include wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to participate in money laundering.
After allegedly concocting a scheme to obtain money fraudulently based on false promises, the owner of wine retailer in another state may spend many years in federal prison if he is convicted. Oregon consumers may be aware of the ongoing case against the owner of Premier Cru, a wine retailer. He is accused of committing wire fraud by means of electronic communications. He recently surrendered to federal marshals, and it is expected that he will change a prior not guilty plea to guilty.
When an Oregon resident is accused of a federal crime, it is a serious situation and not likely one to be handled without legal counsel. A pharmacist in another state who has been the subject of a federal investigation for a long time was recently indicted on 46 fraud charges. It is alleged that he defrauded Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of $1 million in federal government funds.