In Georgia, fraud may occur in a variety of ways. Under the Georgia Code, fraud will be classified into either an actual or constructive category.
Actual fraud is defined as any method or device in which one party is deceived by another. Actual fraud requires an element of intent.
Constructive fraud is defined as any act, or omission of an act, that conflicts with an apparent trust or duty that is owed, and which is contrary to good conscience and causes injury to another. Or simply, constructive is any event where one party acts inconsistently with the trust of another party, which ultimately causes the affected party harm. Constructive fraud may be accomplished with or without intent.
The Statutory Punishment
Fraud covers a wide array of crimes, and there are a number of statutory punishments that may be applied. Some of the crimes – and the resulting punishments – are:
Bank Fraud: a person convicted of bank fraud shall be punished as follows-
- When the instrument (e.g. check) is for less than $100.00, a fine of not more than $500.00 or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both;
- When the instrument is for $100.00 or more but less than $300.00, a fine of no more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or both; or
When more than one instrument is involved and were drawn within 90 days of one another and each is in an amount less than $100.00, the amounts of the separate instruments may be added together to arrive at the requisite punishment of a fine of no more than $1000.00 or 12 months imprisonment, or both.
- When the instrument is for an amount of no less than $300.00 but not more than $499.99, the actor is guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. When more than one instrument is involved and those instruments were given to the same entity within a 15 day period and the cumulative total of such instruments is no less than $300.00 but not more than $499.99, the person drawing and giving such instruments the crime shall be categorized as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
- When the instrument is for $500.00 or more, the actor shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by a fine of not less than $500.00 but no more than $5,000.00 or by imprisonment for not more than three years, or both.
- Conviction of a first or any subsequent offense, the defendant shall be required to make restitution of the amount of the instrument, together with all costs of bringing a complaint under this Code section. The court may require the defendant to pay as interest a monthly payment equal to 1 percent of the amount of the instrument.
Credit Card Fraud: A person who is convicted of credit card fraud-
- A person found guilty of misdemeanor credit card fraud shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or face imprisonment of no less than one year, but no more than two years, or both.
- A person found guilty of felony credit card fraud shall be subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or imprisonment for not less than a year but not more than three years, or both.
Fraud, as defined in the State of Georgia, may be seen as a negligent or intentional act. The punishment can range from facing a simple misdemeanor, to years of prison time and possibly thousands of dollars in restitution. Because of the wide ranging definition, prosecutors have engineers many ways to convict the accused in court. What may simply be an unintentional miscalculation on the part of one party, could result in a felony conviction if the defendant is not properly represented.
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