As large companies and small businesses face more security breaches each year, they spend more time focusing on protecting consumer information and less on creating new revenue streams. Individuals are also victims of fraud more frequently than in years past. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that in 2016, businesses and individuals lost $3.5 trillion to fraud or $7 for every $100 spent in the economy.
Fraud has criminal penalties for the defendant, but if you have been a victim of fraud in Washington, D.C., you can also file a civil lawsuit against the defendant for compensation and punitive damages. The attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, understand the devastating effects that fraud can have on your personal or business assets, and they will present the strongest case to a judge or jury on your behalf.
What is Fraud?
Washington, D.C. law has three levels of criminal fraud.
- False Promise as to Future Performance: The defendant makes a promise that he has no intention of performing.
- Fraud in the Second Degree: The defendant participates in a scheme or conducts himself systematically with the intent to defraud another person, or with the intent of obtaining another person's property under false pretenses.
- Fraud in the First Degree: The defendant participates in a scheme or conducts himself systematically with the intent to defraud another person, or with the intent of obtaining another person's property under false pretenses. The defendant obtains the other person's property or causes the other person to lose their property.
If convicted, the defendant faces jail time and fines, but the victim may also seek relief by filing a civil lawsuit, even if the defendant has not been charged with a crime.
Proving Fraud in Court
In civil court, the judge or jury makes their judgment based on "a preponderance of the evidence." They find in the plaintiff's favor if they believe that the plaintiff's story is true and the defendant caused the damages.
A strong civil fraud lawsuit proves these five elements:
- The defendant made a false statement about a pertinent fact and this affected the plaintiff's decisions or actions.
- The defendant made a false statement knowing that the information is untrue.
- The defendant made a false statement with the intention of misleading the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff reasonably relied on the false statement to make their decision.
- The plaintiff suffered an actual loss.
If the judge or jury finds in the plaintiff's favor, they may award compensation for the damages suffered and/or punitive damages.
Have You Been a Victim of Fraud in Washington, D.C.?
Fraud can have devastating effects on your business or personal assets. If you have been a victim of fraud, the attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, will build the strongest case for you. Unlike 90 percent of other attorneys, our firm has the real courtroom experience necessary to effectively present your case to the judge or jury. If you have been a victim of fraud and are considering filing a lawsuit, call us today at (202) 489-0720 or contact us online.