December 28, 2023 By Wallin & Klarich

What is the Difference Between Criminal Fraud and Civil Fraud? 

Have you ever heard the terms “criminal fraud” and “civil fraud” being used interchangeably? While both involve fraudulent actions, there are significant differences between the two. In this article, we will focus on understanding what sets criminal fraud apart from civil fraud in California.

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Irvine and the rest of Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free consultation!

What is Fraud? 

First things first, let’s define fraud. In simple terms, fraud is an intentional deception or misrepresentation made for financial gain. This can include actions such as lying, concealing information, or manipulating data to convince others to part with their money. Fraud can occur in various forms, including identity theft, credit card fraud, and insurance fraud.

Criminal Fraud 

Criminal fraud is a type of fraud that is considered a crime in the state of California. This means that if someone commits criminal fraud, they can face criminal charges and potentially go to jail or pay fines. Criminal fraud typically involves intentional and deliberate actions aimed at deceiving someone for financial gain.

Examples of Criminal Fraud

Some examples of criminal fraud in California include:

  • Embezzlement: This is when someone in a position of trust, such as an employee or financial advisor, misuses funds for personal gain.
  • Ponzi schemes: These are fraudulent investment scams where investors are promised high returns but are paid with money from new investors rather than actual profits.
  • Insurance fraud: This is when someone makes false claims to an insurance company for financial gain. This can include exaggerating damages or falsifying documents.

Civil Fraud 

Unlike criminal fraud, civil fraud is not considered a crime in California. Instead, it is a type of fraud that can result in legal action being taken against the perpetrator by the victim. Civil fraud typically involves intentional misrepresentation or omission of information to deceive someone for financial gain.

Examples of Civil Fraud

Here are some examples of civil fraud in California:

  • Contract fraud: This occurs when one party provides false information, or fails to disclose certain information, when entering a contract.
  • Securities fraud: This happens when an individual or company misrepresents information that investors use to make decisions, causing them to lose money.
  • Real estate and mortgage fraud: This involves false information on mortgage applications or fraudulent property sales to defraud the lender or buyer.
  • Consumer fraud: This is when businesses deceive consumers about their products or services, such as false advertising, warranty fraud, or deceptive billing practices.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help with a Fraud Allegation 

If you find yourself facing a fraud allegation, whether it’s criminal or civil, hiring a defense attorney can be incredibly beneficial. In the complex legal landscape of California, a defense attorney can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and fight to minimize potential consequences.

Firstly, a defense attorney will help you understand the nature of the fraud charges levied against you, explaining the nuances between criminal and civil fraud and what those implications might mean for you. They’ll review the evidence, assess its legitimacy, and potentially challenge its admissibility in court.

Secondly, a defense attorney can aid in developing a robust defense strategy tailored to the specifics of your case. This could involve demonstrating that you had no intent to defraud, disputing that the alleged victim relied on your misrepresentation, or arguing that no material harm resulted.

Lastly, your attorney can negotiate a plea deal or settlement on your behalf, if appropriate. In criminal fraud cases, a plea deal might reduce potential jail time or fines. In civil fraud cases, a settlement could reduce the amount of damages you’d have to pay.

Remember, dealing with fraud allegations is no small matter, and the right legal counsel can make all the difference in your case.

At Wallin & Klarich, you will never be left wondering what will happen next with your case. Our attorneys will help you through each step of the process, and figure out the best strategy for your case, which will help you get the best possible outcome. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are here to help you. We offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you are facing fraud charges, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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