New York Check Fraud Lawyer

In New York, check fraud is somewhat like credit card fraud, but also has its own unique qualities. If a person steals someone’s check, for example, and they make it out to themselves, that classifies as both identity theft and larceny. However, this charge is not a felony, unlike possession of a stolen credit card, which qualifies as such.

If you are facing a charge of check fraud, it is imperative to consult with an experienced New York fraud attorney as soon as possible. A check fraud lawyer in New York City can evaluate the claim and assist in building an appropriate defense.

Instances of Check Fraud

Check fraud often occurs in the context of a business setting. For example, a person may be writing checks from their employer to themselves, or they may be falsifying business records. This classifies as an E felony. To determine the elements of the crime, it is best to contact a check fraud attorney in New York City.

There are also forged instrument crimes, which are Class D felonies. These include fake checks that may be either completely fabricated or merely altered in a slight way. This occurs when an individual is taking a check that they do not have the permission to have, or is altering the check in some way to defraud another person and benefit themselves or a third party.

Lastly, an individual could have a completely fake check and deposit that check in a bank account. This could be from a fake business check from a company that does not exist, or a fake business check from a company that exists. This usually occurs when an individual puts money into a bank account or a money cashing service, and then getting that money back.

In that case, that person is committing a grand larceny in addition to a forged instrument crime. If it is a treasury check, it is a Class C felony as opposed to a D felony because it involves the US government. No matter the crime, an individual should consult with a New York check fraud lawyer to effectively defend the case.

Possession of a Stolen Check

There is no specific check fraud statute or crime in New York State. By merely possessing a stolen check, an individual is committing a crime. This is in a similar manner to the illegal possession of a credit card.

If a person has a stolen credit card, that is automatically a crime. Possessing a stolen check is not automatically a felony crime, but the forged instrument in the second degree is a broad statute. Such circumstances can be best explained using a check fraud attorney in New York City.

Obtaining False Instruments

If a person possesses an instrument such as a check, ID, credit card, passport, deed, will, or a contract, and these instruments prove to be either fake or partially fake, the individual will be charged with the crime of possession with intent to defraud. This is a Class D felony.

A fake check is also classified as a D felony. A check that is made out improperly, and knowing that it is made out improperly and falsified, is a D felony. It is not called fraud in terms of the title of a statute, but would be possession of a forged instrument in the second degree or forgery of the second degree for completing it and making it. Such charges can best be combatted using a New York check fraud lawyer.

Elements of the Charge

When an individual is initially charged with check fraud, an attorney will want to know a variety of information about the case, such as:

  • Where the person is charged
  • Whether or not there is a dollar or monetary amount associated with the fraud
  • The context of the fraud: Is this a check fraud where the individual is part of a scheme involving other people? Or, is this an allegation that the individual is the sole person responsible?
  • If the fraud had taken place in the business context, where they are alleged to have taken money from an employer
  • If the fraud had taken place in the personal context, such as involving a roommate, an associate, or a friend
  • Whether the person has been arrested already, or if there is just an investigation pending
  • Whether the person made any statements or admissions of guilt
  • Whether there has been a search warrant that has been executed, or whether a search warrant can or will be executed based on the person’s conduct

These are all elements that an individual will want to disclose to their New York check fraud lawyer. If there is a monetary loss or if someone had money stolen from them as a result, an attorney may want to calculate and secure that money.

Therefore, if an individual needs to pay restitution in some way, the attorney can know that they can get their hands on it at any moment.

Potential Penalties

If the fraud is valued at $1,000, it is an E felony and considered grand larceny in the fourth degree. If the value is less than $1,000, then the crime is considered petit larceny, or fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

If the value of the fraud is valued at more than $3,000, it is a D felony of grand larceny in the third degree, punishable by between two and a third to seven years in prison. The C felony of the same charge in the second degree is punishable by between five and 15 years in prison.

Next, there is the Class B felony, which carries between eight and a third to 25 years in prison. This is considered grand larceny in the first degree if there is a theft associated with it.

If there is no theft associated with the creation of a fake check, then the charge is a Class D felony of forgery in the second degree, or criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. The difference being one is the making and one is the possession of the item. That carries between two and a third to seven years in prison.

Those are the main charges related to the crime of fraud. To best understand and to help defend against any further penalties that may be associated with the charge, it is critical to consult with an experienced New York fraud lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact Us
Available 24/7 | 212.312.7129