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Fraudulent Schemes

Illegal enterprise crimes and fraudulent crimes are serious offenses under Arizona law.  If convicted of fraudulent schemes, the consequences could be detrimental. Depending on the type of charge and your criminal history, the consequences could include probation, jail time, or hefty fines. Phoenix Criminal Attorney can help you fight the charges if you are currently facing charges for fraudulent schemes.

Elements of the Crime

For a conviction of the crime of fraudulent schemes under Arizona law, the prosecutor should prove various crime elements. The prosecutor should prove that you used fraudulent or false pretenses, promises, representations, or material omissions. The prosecutor will also need to prove that you acted in pursuant to artifice or scheme to defraud another person. It should also be evident that due to the actions named above, you were able to obtain a material benefit.

According to the law, defrauding another person involves misleading or planning to mislead another person to gain a material benefit. Arizona law if harsh on persons convicted with fraudulent schemes.

Arizona laws under A.R.S. 13-2310 outlines the crime of fraudulent schemes. You will be in violation of A.R.S. 13-2310 if you benefit from a trick or a scheme to defraud another person. You could defraud another person of tangible or intangible property, services, or goods. It is important to note that you could be guilty of fraudulent claims, even if the victim did not rely on your pretenses, representations, or omissions.

Penalties of Fraudulent Schemes

The penalties for fraudulent schemes will vary depending on the value of the fraud. The higher the value of the benefit derived from the scheme, the higher the penalties for the crime.

You could get a jail or prison sentence for the crime of fraudulent schemes under Arizona law. These offenses typically attract Class 2 felony charges. You could get imprisonment of up to 12.5 years for an aggravated class 2 felony. The victim's and the judge's statements will determine the length of the sentencing. Depending on the presence of aggravating factors, the judge might give an aggravated sentence of 12.5 years. If aggravating factors do not exist, the presumptive sentence for a class 2 felony in Arizona is five years.

If you have an existing conviction for a fraudulent scheme on your record, you could get enhanced sentencing after performing a subsequent offense. The court might recommend imprisonment of 4.5 to 25 years in prison.

If you have two prior convictions of fraudulent schemes on your record, the court might impose minimum imprisonment of ten years.

You could face the possibility of probation instead of jail time; the court might also require you to pay restitution to the victim. Paying restitution involves reimbursing the victim for all the losses that the victim could have suffered due to your actions. However, you will have a permanent record of a felony conviction on your record.

A fraudulent scheme conviction could prevent you from getting your dream job. With this conviction, many employers would not be willing to hire you in sensitive positions like bookkeeping or office management. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight the charges and protect your future.

Prosecutors in Phoenix and other cities in Arizona have zero tolerance for people who engage in fraudulent schemes. Therefore, after an accusation of this crime, you should not face the prosecutor on your own. You need an aggressive criminal attorney by your side.

Crimes that Qualify as Fraudulent Schemes

Many crimes qualify as fraudulent crimes in the United States. According to Arizona law, you could be guilty of fraudulent schemes if you knowingly or intentionally obtain any benefit by means of fraudulent or false representations, pretenses, material omissions, or representations. If you obtain any benefit through the mentioned means, you will be guilty of a Class 2 felony under Arizona law.

If you are guilty of fraudulent schemes that involved a benefit exceeding $100,000, you will not be eligible for probation, suspension of sentence, or pardon release from jail on any basis until you serve a sentence imposed by the court. However, there is an exception to this law, according to section 31-233 under subsection A or B. You could be eligible for release according to section 41-1604.07 or after serving your sentence.

White-collar crimes in Arizona cover a wide range of offenses. The majority of the offenses involve tampering with ordinary or regular systems to achieve the desired results. According to the revised Arizona statutes, certain crimes are classified as fraudulent schemes. Some of the crimes that qualify as fraudulent schemes under Arizona A.R.S. 13-2310 are:

Bank Frauds

Bank employees are the typical perpetrators of bank fraud. However, outsiders could also perform bank fraud by representing false checks and assuming a false identity while seeking bank services. Clients could also commit bank fraud by making false statements on mortgage and loan applications. You could perform a bank fraud to control important property and financial assets in the bank. You could be guilty of fraudulent schemes for trying to independently control assets owned by the bank.

Bank fraud is a serious offense to be convicted of because the offense is prosecuted under Federal law. The crime of bank fraud also entails intense stigma; you will have a hard time clearing your name and reputation after a bank fraud conviction.  The media highlights bank fraud as the primary reason for recession and economic downturn. Therefore, having a conviction of bank fraud in your record could lead to negative connotations.

There has been a hype in bank fraud in the news. Therefore, many consumers are skeptical about entrusting banks with their money. Many consumers are also quick to file lawsuits if they suspect any form of fraud on their bank transactions.

Most people often face bank fraud charges for making false statements on loan and mortgage applications.  This is unfortunate because bank employees often guide clients when filling loan and mortgage application documents.  The bank could accuse you of fraud even if the bank officials encouraged you to fill the falsified applications. With the help of an experienced attorney,

Computer Tampering

Computer tampering is also a serious fraudulent scheme in Arizona. The state of Arizona is committed to fighting computer-tampering crimes. You could be guilty of this crime if you intentionally alter a computer system. If you obtain confidential information from another person's computer without the person's consent, you could be guilty of computer tampering. You could also be guilty of computer tampering if you intentionally install a computer virus into another person's computer without the person's consent. 

To accuse you of computer tampering, the prosecutor will have to prove that accessed, altered, damaged, or destroyed a computer system with the intent to execute or commit a fraudulent scheme. It should be evident that when tampering with the computer, you intended to take control or defraud the owner through pretenses or false promises. The mentioned actions will attract class 3 felony charges.

You could be guilty of a class 4 felony if you damage, delete, or alter computer data or programs. Class 4 felony charges will also apply if you spread a computer virus into a computer system or network or attempt to disrupt a computer system.  

If you reckless use a computer, computer network, or system to engage in a scheme that threatens, terrorizes, or torments another person.

Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud is a common fraudulent scheme in Arizona because the real estate industry is treacherous. You could be guilty of mortgage fraud if you intentionally manipulate the mortgage system to gain control of your home without following the right payment procedure.

In Arizona, mortgage fraud follows the same prosecution criteria as bank fraud because the federal government has taken up the role of prosecuting mortgage fraud perpetrators. In recent years, there has been an increase in the prosecution of mortgage fraud cases in Arizona. In most cases, mortgage fraud involves innocent homeowners who might have been misguided by their banks when filing mortgage documents.

It is also common for mortgage brokers to fill certain information in mortgage application documents without the knowledge of homeowners. Even if the mortgage brokers also face prosecution for these offenses, it does not excuse the homeowners from facing mortgage fraud. You can avoid the negative implications of a mortgage fraud conviction by hiring an aggressive criminal attorney. 


Theft is also a form of a fraudulent scheme under Arizona law. Theft involves using technology or materials in an unauthorized manner. You could also be guilty of theft if you accidentally gain control of lost items for failing to conduct the necessary inquiries.

According to A.R.S. § 13-1802, you will be guilty of theft if you intentionally control another person's property with the intent of depriving the person of the property. If you obtain the property or services of another person through material misrepresentation to deprive the person of the services or materials, you will be guilty of theft. You could also face theft charges for controlling misdelivered or mislaid property. If you control another person's property, yet you know or have a reason to know that the property is stolen, you will be guilty of theft.

If you obtain services without paying or an agreement to pay, yet you know that the services are only available for compensation, you could be guilty of theft under A.R.S. § 13-1802.

The prosecution of theft crimes will depend on the amount of money at issue in your case. If the crime involves an amount of $25,000 and above, you will be guilty of a class 2 felony. For amounts between $4000 and $ 24999, class 3 felony charges will apply. Class 4 felony charges will apply for amounts between $3,000 and $3999. For amounts ranging between $2000 and $2999, class 5 felony charges will apply. You will be guilty of class 6 felony charges for amounts ranging between $1,000 and $1999. For theft of property or money worth less than $1,000, you will be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. 


Counterfeiting is a serious offense under Arizona law as outlined under A.R.S. 3-1209. This law makes it an offense for any printer, brand manufacturer, firm, corporation, or person to print, cast, or lithograph any device containing an official mark, any label bearing an official mark, or any form or certificate.

It is a crime for any person to forge an official device, certificate, or mark without the necessary consent or authorization. You could also be guilty of counterfeiting if you intentionally alter, deface, destroy, or detach any official mark, device, or certificate. 

Other forms of fraudulent schemes in Arizona include:

  • Bribery A.R.S. §§ 13-2602
  • Extortion A.R.S. § 13-1804
  • Forgery A.R.S. § 13-2002
  • Money Laundering A.R.S. § 13-2317
  • Welfare Fraud A.R.S. 46-215
  • Internet Fraud
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Escrow services fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Business opportunities schemes
  • Auction fraud
  • Debt elimination schemes

Common Legal Defenses

You should not give up after an accusation of fraudulent schemes in Arizona. With a skillful criminal defense attorney, you can come up with various defenses to fight the charges. Your attorney will examine all the aspects of your case to come up with the best defense strategy. Some of the defenses that your attorney could use are:

Lack of Intent to Defraud

For you to be guilty of fraudulent schemes in Arizona, it should be evident that you intended to defraud the victim. In most cases, the defendant aims to deprive the victim of property, money, or service. You can point out that you did not intend to deprive the victim and that you did not have the requisite state of mind. If you can prove that you did not create a scheme to enable you to get a benefit from another person, you could be able to fight the charges.

Victim’s Consent

If you had the victim’s consent at the time of committing the crime, you could fight fraudulent schemes charges based on this fact. For instance, you could prove that the money or the property you obtained was through consent or mutual understanding with the victim. You can’t be guilty of fraudulent schemes as long as the victim was aware of your actions and their implications. 

You Did Not Get a Benefit

You could fight fraudulent schemes charges by pointing out that you did not get any benefit. In some instances, you could have been a victim of false accusations. If the person accusing you of fraudulent schemes is dishonest, your attorney could question the person’s credibility. For instance, your attorney could bring the witness to the stand and impeach him/her.

Procedural Defenses

Procedural defenses could work for you if the arresting officer did not follow the right procedure while arresting you for fraudulent schemes. For instance, if you feel that the arresting officers violated your rights, you could challenge them. Your attorney could request the judge to overlook any evidence obtained through illegal means. You could use this defense if the arresting officers or the prosecution denied you the right to counsel. This defense could also apply if the arresting officers did not read your Miranda rights to you, including your right to remain silent. Your attorney might be able to get the evidence presented against you, suppressed.

Dismissal of illegally obtained evidence from your case would have a serious effect on the prosecution’s case. Depending on the nature of the offense, your criminal defense attorney could also challenge any forensic weaknesses present in your case.

Importance of an Attorney

The penalties for white-collar crimes like fraud are detrimental under Arizona law. Therefore, you need to ensure that you get a dependable criminal attorney. Your attorney will help you determine the best strategies to facilitate the clearing of your criminal charges. Your attorney will also come up with ways that can help to reduce the terms of your sentence. Any involvement of a criminal attorney in your fraudulent schemes case will be valuable.

Your attorney will gather all the necessary evidence regarding your case. If you did not take part in the fraudulent scheme by any chance, your attorney would unearth this fact. Your attorney will also do his/her best to point out that you did not get any personal benefit from the scheme. An attorney is always looking for new ways and redeeming evidence to help exonerate their clients.

When your criminal case proceeds to court, you will need an attorney to represent you in court. Your attorney will challenge the prosecutor’s evidence on your behalf and come up with the proper defense to fight your charges.  You should not wait too long before contacting a criminal attorney. You should seek counsel from an experienced attorney early in the proceedings. Having a competent attorney by your sides increases your chances of vindication. 

Find a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me

If you are currently facing charges for fraudulent schemes in Arizona, you do not have to face them alone. You need a skilled criminal attorney to guide you on the way forward and the best defenses. Phoenix Criminal Attorney can guide you on the legal procedures and help you come up with a convincing legal defense. Contact us at 602-551-8092 and speak to one of our attorneys. 

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