There are many people who fall victim to fraud every year, which is why the judicial system is so hard on those who commit it. Fraud comes in many forms, from lying on tax returns to filling out a fake prescription.

If you’re accused of fraud, you need to understand the charges. Fraud is a federal crime with serious implications. If you’re convicted, you could face jail, fines and other penalties that could impact your life for some time to come.

What are the kinds of fraud?

There are dozens of types of fraud. Some of the most common include tax fraud, bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud and identity theft. For example, lying about how much money you made to get a reduction in your taxes, purposefully using someone else’s credit card to make a purchase without his or her permission or sending mail suggesting you’re someone you’re not while seeking money could all be fraudulent acts.

What should you do if you’re accused of fraud?

It’s clear that not everyone knows they have committed a crime. For example, someone who is filling out his or her taxes and forgets a source of cash income from a one-time sale likely isn’t trying to defraud the government. If you’re accused of trying to defraud the government, it’s important to talk to your attorney about showing that you did not intentionally make errors on your taxes. Likewise, if you’re accused of identity theft or other crimes, it’s a good idea to develop a defense so you can tell your side of the story.

Source: FindLaw, “Fraud,” accessed Nov. 08, 2017