Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of information, typically for the financial benefit of the perpetrator. This could be something as simple as lying on taxes all the way to burning down a family business to collect insurance money.
If you feel like you are being taken for a financial ride by someone, make sure to vet them beforehand with reliable references or even a criminal record check – which you can find on sites like Information.com.
The prison sentence for fraud often depends on the severity of the falsehoods committed. To better understand the time someone may have to serve for pulling the wool, we will briefly summarize the common sentences for bank fraud, credit card fraud, securities fraud, and more.
Typical Prison Sentences for Fraud
Fraud is far more common than we give it credit for being, and almost everyone has been an attempted victim of the crime throughout their life. Whether your credit card details have been stolen or you were prompted to enter personal information into a suspicious site, the illegal act permeates all corners of society.
Mail Fraud is any illegal deception that involves the postal service but can also include other delivery services, the Internet, and television. Someone found guilty of mail fraud could serve as much as 20 years in prison. If it is discovered that the crime involved a bank, the fine can be a minimum of $100,000.
Law-breaking wire transfer trickery, altering checks, or clearing out other people’s bank accounts all fall under the umbrella of bank fraud. Bank fraud is taken very seriously; punishments can be as severe as 30 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $1,000,000.
The most common type of credit card fraud you will see is the abduction of a person’s credit card information to make random and often pricey purchases. This is usually in conjunction with other forms of fraud, and the prison sentence can be as high as 15 years. The fine varies, with many having to pay a fee in addition to recompensating the victim.
Anything that is underhanded, deceptive, or plainly illegal in stocks, assets, and commodities will fall under securities fraud. The most commonly known form of securities fraud is insider trading. Fines for securities fraud can be frighteningly long, with prison time being as high as 25 years in some cases.
It should be mentioned that fraud can be both a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. This is usually measured by the amount of money taken, with smaller amounts resulting in lesser punishments. This will vary by state depending on which fraud was committed and its severity.
A majority of victims will pursue fraud in civil court, which can result in financial restoration should the court decide in their favor. While this may not be satisfying for those who dealt with the stress of an empty bank account, it is still a prudent alternative for those looking to be flush again.
The sobering reality is that one in three Americans will get scammed at some point in their life. So don’t beat yourself up if you find unexplained purchases on your account statement; just be more vigilant going forward.