Fraud & Theft

Fraud comes in various forms, and both state and federal courts handle fraud cases. These forms include identity theft, mail and wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, insurance fraud, immigration fraud, and many more. Those convicted of fraud often receive harsh sentences. In many instances, the government will seize your assets and leave you unable to access your accounts. If you are charged with a fraud-related crime, it is important to have a New York fraud attorney on your side to successfully navigate the criminal justice system.

What constitutes criminal fraud

Fraud crimes can range from simple cases of credit card fraud to more complex matters involving computer hacking, skimmer devices, or schemes to defraud. Penalties for such charges will vary depending on the severity of the fraudulent activity.

Some of the most common cases needing the representation of a New York fraud attorney are:

  • Identity theft
  • Immigration fraud
  • Wire and mail fraud
  • Prescription fraud
  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Mortgage fraud

What are the penalties for fraud

Identity Theft

While serving as Deputy Attorney General, Jacqueline Cistaro prosecuted statewide identity theft rings. As a result, she knows the intricacies of complex investigations.  Ms. Cistaro is familiar with the procedures and technology the government has used to develop a case against you.

Identity theft and fraud cases can vary widely in terms of facts and circumstances, but each is a serious offense. Identity theft occurs when a person intends to defraud another and assumes the identity of another person by purporting to be that person or acting as the individual by using the personal identifying information. Personal identifying information is classified as a person’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number, address, telephone number, social security numbers, bank account numbers, taxpayer identification number, debit and/or credit card numbers.

Under New York law, the degrees of identity theft require that the person knowingly and with the intent to defraud assumed the identity of another person. The difference in these degrees is based on the severity of damages or loss to the victim of identity theft.

  • 3rd degree: when a false identity is used to obtain goods, money, property or services, to the detriment of another or used to commit a class A misdemeanor or higher level crime.
  • 2nd degree: when a false identity is used to obtain goods, money, property or services and the value or detriment to another exceeds $500 or used to commit a class E felony.
  • 1st degree: when a false identity is used to obtain goods, money, property or services and the value or detriment to another exceeds $2,000 or used to commit a class D felony or higher level crime.

State and federal prosecutors can charge defendants with aggravated identity theft. which carries harsh penalties. Under federal law, if convicted, you could be facing a mandatory two years in prison, which would be served consecutively to any other sentence.

Immigration Fraud

With the current immigration climate, the government is cracking down on immigration fraud and prosecuting individuals in criminal federal courts around the country.  Immigration fraud encompasses several types of fraudulent misconduct:

  • Filing a false asylum application
  • Committing perjury or forgery
  • Providing false statements to the government
  • Using a false identity on an immigration document
  • Intentionally failing to provide the application “preparer’s” name on an application
  • Entering into a sham marriage (marriage fraud)
  • Misrepresentation of a material fact to obtain immigration benefits
  • Immigrant assistance services fraud
  • Businesses charging excessive fees for immigration “consulting” services

The federal government has a very strong interest in deterring and prosecuting any type of fraud within this context due to terrorism and the atrocities that occur worldwide.  The penalties for an immigration fraud conviction may include a prison sentence, revocation or denial of legal status, and deportation.  If you are facing an immigration fraud investigation or prosecution, it is imperative that you have knowledgeable and experienced immigration fraud attorney to represent you.


While the facts and circumstances of every case are different, the specific charges you may face for theft depend upon the monetary value of the property that was stolen at the time of the theft. Generally, there are two types of charges: grand larceny and petit larceny.

If the value of stolen property is less than $1,000, the offense is petit larceny, a class A misdemeanor. Misdemeanors carry more lenient penalties than felony grand larceny. However, any conviction for theft can result in serious consequences in your future. These consequences can include the loss of employment, inability to secure future employment, and the loss of professional license.  You need a fraud attorney who can handle all levels of theft crimes, from petty to the most serious.

  • Grand larceny, 1st degree: when a person steals property and the value of the property exceeds one million dollars. This is a class B felony and punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
  • Grand larceny, 2nd degree: when a person steals property valued in excess of $50,000.00 or by extortion, regardless of its nature and value. This is a class C felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
  • Grand larceny, 3rd degree: when a person steals property valued in excess of $3,000.00 or the property is an automated teller machine or the contents thereof. This is a class D felony and punishable by up to seven years in prison.
  • Grand larceny, 4th degree: when a person steals property and the value of the property exceeds $1,000.00, public records, credit or debit cards, extortion, religious items (value of $100 and kept/used for religious worship), firearms, or automobile (value exceeds $100). This is a class E felony and punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

If convicted of a theft offense, you may also be subject to criminal restitution.

Get help from a New York fraud attorney

As a former prosecutor and New York lawyer, I have been on both sides of the courtroom in these cases and know firsthand what it takes to defend a client charged with a fraud crime.   If you have questions or concerns, I invite you to contact me directly to discuss the issue you may be facing at 646.253.0583 or [email protected].  You will discuss your concerns with me personally – never an associate or paralegal.  Additionally, you should know that the law privileges your contact with me and with my firm. Regardless of whether or not you decide to retain my firm to represent you, you still have protection.