Scheme to Defraud

Scams, frauds and rip offs have stood the test of time from century to century and generation to generation. While they certainly have gotten more complex, the bottom line is the same. How does one take property or money from another in the easiest or quickest way possible? From Ponzi schemes to immigration frauds, prosecutors and judges routinely take these matters extremely seriously even if the value of the theft is well short of hundreds or even tens of thousands of dollars. Your criminal attorney knows this, prosecutors enforce this and judges are ready to send a message. Don’t be lulled into thinking otherwise.

In New York State, whether in White Plains, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Yonkers, Queens or anywhere else, when these crimes are perpetrated, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, New York Penal Law 190.65, is often one of the first offenses charged. An “E” felony, First Degree Scheme to Defraud is far from an atypical charge and can land a defendant behind bars “upstate” for as many as four years. As many New York criminal lawyers know, it is fairly common to find an arrest or indictment charge of NY PL 190.65 saddled to equal or even greater crimes including Falsifying Business Records, Grand Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. Make no mistake. Exposure to significant time in prison well beyond four years is great.

Defining First Degree Scheme to Defraud: NY PL 190.65

First Degree Scheme to Defraud is fairly straight forward yet complicated at the same time. It certainly is a crime that requires your full attention and that of your criminal defense attorney. A person is guilty of New York Penal Law 190.65(1) when that person engages in a systematic course of conduct that is ongoing (the “scheme”) and has the intent to defraud at least ten people. The purpose of this scheme is to obtain property from these people (it need not be money, but often is financially based) and it is done so through fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises. In the end, the accused or the defendant must actually obtain property.

A person is guilty of New York Penal Law 190.65(2) when similar elements are present. Here, a person must also engage in this ongoing scheme and course of conduct, but must only have the intent to defraud at least two people. However, as a result of this scheme, the accused must also obtain property valued in excess of $1,000.00.

Lastly, but again similar to subsections (1) and (2), a person is guilty of New York Penal Law 190.65(3) when he or she engages in the scheme to defraud more than one person, regardless of the value of the property obtained, and at least two of those individuals must be a “vulnerable elderly person.” Defined under NY PL 260.31, such a person must be “sixty years of age or older who is suffering from a disease or infirmity associated with advanced age and manifested by demonstrable physical, mental or emotional dysfunction to the extent that the person is incapable of adequately providing for his or her own health or personal care.”

What defense may best suit your set of allegations is something to be discussed and vetted in great detail with your criminal defense attorney and Scheme to Defraud lawyer. The wrong step or relying on misinformation can be detrimental not only to the case today, but how it plays out going forward.

Protect your rights and your freedom. Do not let a mere allegation derail your future. Educate yourself on the laws and crimes relating to Scheme to Defraud, identify your defense and work with you criminal attorney to fight back.

Call the Scheme to Defraud lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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