California statute of limitations for fraud

A statute of limitations (SOL) is the time limit plaintiffs have to file a civil lawsuit or press criminal charges. When the period is over, plaintiffs can’t seek legal redress for alleged damages. The California statute of limitations for fraud is three years.

In California, the fraud statute of limitations begins when the fraud is discovered and not at the time of injury. For example, fraud was committed five years ago, but due to the discovery rule, the statute starts when the plaintiff uncovers the fraud.

What You Need to Know About Fraud

Fraud can be defined as intentional deception to obtain an asset or reach a goal at the victim’s expense. Fraud can be committed by an individual, group of individuals, or business entities.

The alleged fraudulent behavior must meet five criteria:

  1. There must be a false statement that contains a material fact
  2. The accused must know the statement is false
  3. The false statement’s purpose is to deceive
  4. The victim relies on false information
  5. The victim suffers financial injury

Many types of fraud can be considered criminal offenses, civil actions, or both. To win a civil action, the fraud must have caused loss or injury. Criminal charges require only intent. 

If you’re not sure that the charges brought against you meet the criteria, talk to a lawyer about the Californian elements of fraud and how they apply to your case.

An Insight into the California Statute of Limitations for Fraud

California’s statutes of limitations for fraud use the discovery law. Typically, statutes of limitations can start from the date the crime was committed. However, fraud isn’t easy to detect and often only becomes evident after three years have passed. 

The discovery rule gives plaintiffs time to gather evidence, determine if the crime is civil or criminal, and find the fraudster, who might have disappeared. 

For example, a doctor who committed medical insurance fraud for three years may have moved across the country to continue fraudulent behavior in another state.

What are the Different Types of Fraud?

Fraud can be divided into criminal and civil offenses. Civil fraud occurs when facts are intentionally misrepresented to give the fraudster a financial or another benefit. Criminal fraud includes theft.

Many different types of fraud can be charged as either civil or criminal crimes. The most common types of fraud include the following:

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains personal and financial information to impersonate the victim and commit fraud. For example, by making unauthorized transactions online.

Types of ID fraud include:

  • Social security fraud
  • Child ID fraud (a “clean” ID)
  • Senior ID theft
  • Home title fraud
  • Mail ID fraud
  • Driver’s license ID fraud.

Victims often don’t know their identities have been stolen until they get unexplained bills. Their credit score takes a hit and, even though they were the victims, it can take years for their credit scores to recover.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud includes the intentional falsification of information on claims to get a benefit to which the perpetrator is not entitled. It can also happen the other way around when an insurer intentionally denies a benefit to which a claimant is entitled.

Fraudulent claims include:

  • Life insurance
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Falsification of theft reports
  • Property insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Personal injury schemes

Tax Evasion or Fraud

Tax fraud occurs when false information is intentionally supplied to pay less tax than is due. Common tax fraud methods include exaggerating expenses and claiming to live in one state for its tax benefits when living in another.

Potential penalties for tax fraud include a fine of up to $250,000 or three years in prison or both.

Tax evasion occurs when people don’t pay the full amount due. It includes concealing income; for example, not reporting cash income and claiming fake deductions. Potential penalties for tax evasion are the same as tax fraud.

Talk to an attorney about the allegations and determine if the statute of limitations for fraud in California will affect charges.

Bankruptcy Fraud

Filing for bankruptcy requires the disclosure of assets that are used to settle outstanding debts. However, some people hide their assets by giving them to friends temporarily.

The critical element of bankruptcy fraud is intent. You must intentionally deceive to protect assets and reduce the pool of resources used to pay your creditors.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud occurs with or without physical possession of the card. In the first instance, fraudsters steal or use lost credit cards for transactions. In the second instance, fraudsters use card or account details for transactions.

A lot of modern credit card fraud occurs online because fraudsters just enter accounts or card details at online stores to rack up debt.

Other types of credit card fraud include:

  • Counterfeit or doctored cards
  • Application fraud
  • Account takeover
  • Interception (obtaining cards in someone else’s mail)

Securities and Investment Fraud

Securities and investment fraud include high-yield investment fraud, Ponzi schemes, and broker embezzlement. Fraudsters misrepresent, falsify, and withhold essential information that affects the outcome of financial investments.

What are the Penalties for Committing Fraud in California?

In California, fraud is a white-collar crime that includes civil and criminal offenses like misdemeanor or felony offenses. Penalties include fines and/or prison sentences. The type of fraud and the value of damage determine the penalties.

For example, if damages from insurance fraud are up to $950, the crime is a misdemeanor. If the value is over $950 it’s considered a wobbler offense and can be a misdemeanor or felony.

Criminal Penalties

Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 for misdemeanors and prison sentences that start at 16 months and can go up to 10 years or more for felonies.

Civil Penalties

Civil penalties are typically fines that range from $10,000 to $250,000 or more. They include restitution to the victim.

Reasons You Need to Hire a Fraud Defense Lawyer When Facing Legal Accusations

Civil fraud might be considered the lesser of two evils, but proven wrongdoing can have the same impact as a guilty verdict in criminal proceedings.

You need a fraud defense lawyer well-versed in all aspects of fraudulent offenses punishable by fines or prison, as well as the statute of fraud in California.

Expertise in Fraud Law

Fraud is governed by specific laws. You want an attorney who specializes in fraud and has a proven track record of success so you know that your future is in good hands.

Protect Your Rights

Being a fraud law specialist means that your attorney knows precisely what your rights are and protect them from prosecutors who’ll do anything for a conviction.

Avoid Costly Mistakes

Experts in fraud know the civil and criminal proceedings intimately. They know the pitfalls, potential traps, loopholes, and shortcuts that save you time and money.

Build a Strong Defense

Bearing the California statutes of fraud in mind and with all the information and evidence in the case before them, skilled attorneys work with you to create an unshakeable defense.

Negotiation and Plea Bargain

Expert fraud lawyers aim to avoid civil and criminal action altogether. If proceedings are unavoidable, they negotiate favorable plea bargains to limit penalties.

Hire a Trusted Fraud Defense Lawyer in California from LibertyBell Law Group

At LibertyBell Law Group, we have expert fraud attorneys you want in your corner when you’ve been accused of a fraudulent crime. The extended nature of the statute of limitations in California fraud cases isn’t a problem at all when you’ve got a team working on your defense.

Take advantage of our 24/7 service and book a free consultation, complete the form on our site and we’ll get back to you!

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