Fraud is a common white-collar crime that affects New York state residents and businesses. Facing charges when you know you’re innocent is terrifying. It’s important to know the possible defenses to fraud crimes.
Lack of intent
The only way the prosecution can prove that a person is guilty of a white-collar crime such as fraud is to provide evidence that they had intent. A common defense in such a case is to argue that the defendant lacked criminal intent and that the alleged fraud was a legitimate mistake.
Entrapment is a common defense against fraud. It occurs when a law enforcement team sets up a sting operation against a person it suspects is guilty and an officer induces the crime. Entrapment can be argued if there is evidence that the defendant only acted directly due to pressure from the undercover officer.
Illegal search and seizure
If a law enforcement officer violated the person’s Fourth Amendment rights and performed an illegal search and seizure, the defense can argue that point in the case. Officers must have a search warrant or explicit permission from a person to search their property. If either of those are lacking, the fraud charges could be thrown out.
If a person lacks the capacity to understand the nature of the alleged fraud crime due to physical or mental impairment, the incapacity defense can be used. If there is evidence in the form of medical records to attest to the individual being incapacitated, this defense could work toward getting the charges dropped.
Statute of limitations
There is a statute of limitations for charges to be brought against a person who allegedly committed a fraud crime. If federal charges were brought forth over five or 10 years after the fact, depending on the specific crime, the defense can argue that the statute of limitations has expired.
If the defendant was intoxicated during the commission of the crime, they might not have been in control of their faculties. Intoxication is a common defense against fraud charges. The defense can argue that if the person had been sober, they would not have committed the act.