In Hawaii and across the nation, allegations of various forms of fraud have garnered headlines. Whether it is related to allegations of a Ponzi scheme, embezzlement, conspiracy an other types of fraud, people are realizing they can face substantial jail time and other penalties.
Many cases are not as well-known as others, but they can lead to personal and professional challenges that must be addressed. Fortunately for those accused, there are viable strategies to lodge an effective defense against fraud charges.
Bribery case sparks lawmaker push to enhance state laws
After a recent case in which two Hawaii lawmakers were convicted and sent to prison for honest services fraud, state lawmakers proposed that state laws mimic federal laws for fraud to discourage a repeat of the behavior. This could be important to those who are alleged to have committed fraud as they could face harsher consequences should there be a conviction.
The Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct proposed the law. Almost immediately the ideas to make the penalties substantially worse were shelved by lawmakers. The laws that sent the convicted lawmakers to prison would not have been possible had they been based on Hawaii law.
Some of the proposed changes that were immediately removed included a minimum of one year in jail if the fraud involved theft or money loss and there would be no opportunity to erase the conviction after the passage of time. Other proposed changes could lower the dollar amounts that could qualify a crime for felony charges.
Build a defense
Most people think of violence, theft and worse when they hear about criminal charges. Even with the spike in arrests and prosecutions involving accusations of fraud splashed across the web and in the news, it can be easy to forget that these charges can result in extended jail time, fines and worse.
With Hawaii weighing the possibility of changing the template for white collar crimes like fraud, it is essential for those who might deal with these charges to understand the possible punishments and forge a criminal defense.