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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Understanding Indiana Fraud Laws 35-43-5-4: A Comprehensive Guide

Fraud is a serious criminal offense in Indiana, with potential legal consequences ranging from Class A misdemeanors to Level 5 felonies, depending on various factors. If you or someone you know is facing fraud charges, it's essential to understand the intricacies of Indiana Code Section 35-43-5-4, which governs fraud-related offenses in the state. In this guide, B. Hicks Law, a criminal defense law firm, will break down the key elements of the law and offer insights into how they can impact your situation.

What is Fraud According to IC 35-43-5-4?

Fraud, as defined by IC 35-43-5-4, encompasses a wide range of deceptive actions and schemes aimed at obtaining property, data, or various benefits that a person is not rightfully entitled to. It's vital to note that the severity of the offense is determined by several factors, including the intent behind the fraudulent activity and the amount of pecuniary loss incurred. Here are some of the key aspects of the law:

  1. False or Misleading Statements: Making false or misleading statements with the intent to acquire property, data, or benefits to which you are not entitled is a violation of the law.

  2. Creating a False Impression: If you create a false impression in another person, leading them to obtain property, this can also constitute fraud.

  3. Possessing, Manufacturing, or Altering Documents: Engaging in the possession, manufacture, use, or alteration of documents or instruments with the intent to obtain property, data, or benefits you're not entitled to is a fraudulent act.

  4. Scheme or Artifice: Deliberately participating in a scheme or artifice to commit any of the aforementioned offenses can result in fraud charges.

Determining the Severity of the Offense

The severity of the fraud offense depends on a variety of factors, including:

  1. Prior Convictions: If you have a previous unrelated conviction for an offense under this article or were released from incarceration, probation, or parole for a prior unrelated conviction, the offense may be elevated to a Level 6 felony.

  2. Pecuniary Loss: The amount of pecuniary loss is a significant determinant. If the loss is between $750 and $50,000, it can result in a Level 6 felony. If it's between $50,000 and $100,000, it becomes a Level 5 felony.

  3. Victim: If the victim is an endangered adult or a minor under 18, it can elevate the charges.

  4. False Statements Representing Entities: Making false statements representing entities for certification purposes can lead to increased charges.

  5. Confinement Status: Committing fraud while confined in the department of correction, a county jail, or a secure juvenile facility can also impact the charges.

  6. Document or Instrument: If the fraudulent act involves documents or written instruments, it can influence the charges.

  7. Unconscionable Agreement: An unconscionable agreement can elevate the charges.

  8. Involvement of Human Reproductive Material: If the fraud involves human reproductive material, it can lead to more severe consequences.

Proving Lesser Value

It's crucial to note that if the defendant can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the value of the property, data, or benefit intended to be obtained, and the actual pecuniary loss, is less than $750, the offense can be classified as a Class A misdemeanor.

Understanding Indiana's fraud laws, as outlined in IC 35-43-5-4, is crucial for anyone facing potential fraud charges or seeking to navigate the legal system. The severity of these charges depends on various factors, making it imperative to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, like B. Hicks Law, to build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. If you or a loved one is facing fraud allegations, do not hesitate to reach out to our team of legal experts who can provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.

For more information or to seek legal counsel, contact B. Hicks Law today. Your future may depend on it.

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