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An overview of the elements of fraud

In general, fraud is a crime where one person intentionally deceives another in order to attain personal or monetary gain. That deceit can take the form of a misrepresentation, false statement or a deceitful action. It's important to note that not all individuals accused of fraud are guilty and that a fraud conviction can carry serious consequences.

A recent Tennessee fraud case

Recently, the director of the Upper Cumberland Development District was accused of committing a massive fraud through the abuse of her position, especially through fraudulent expenditures at the assisted living facility she was in charge of.

According to the Tennessee Comptroller's office, this woman allegedly deceived the board of directors by spending the majority of the money earmarked for the elderly residents on remodeling the part of the facility that she and her daughter lived in rent free as a private residence. Some of the purchased items included a remodeled $25,000 staircase and $6,000 steam showers. The rest of the assisted living resid ence only housed four senior citizens who lived in very rudimentary conditions.

The woman is also accused of buying her family's used household items at full price for the facility and then never utilizing them. Further, it is alleged that she embezzled money that was intended for youth programs into her personal bank account in order to pay for catering services at a fundraising event for a local legislator. The case has been turned over to the district attorney.

Overview of fraud crimes

Fraud can come in many different forms and can be committed via various types of means, including the mail, Internet and phone. An act of fraud must be a misrepresentation of a material fact by someone who knows that it is not true to someone else who reasonably relies on that information and is actually injured because of that reliance. The injury to a person can be in various ways, but it is typically financial.

Penalties for fraud

Typically, fraud is a felony and is punishable by jail time, fines and probation. An offender may also owe damages to the injured party or parties. A fraudulent actor can also be subject to civil penalties.

If you are facing a fraud charge or other white-collar crime charges like embezzlement or forgery, it is advisable to seek out the counsel of an experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you understand your options and advocate on your behalf.

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Leonard M. Caputo, P.C.
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Chattanooga, TN 37402
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