Aggressive Defense for Fraud and Forgery Charges

Our fraud and forgery defense attorneys have a track record of achieving extraordinary results. They are your best hope of avoiding a conviction or a harsh sentence.

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Fraud and Forgery Defense

Although fraud and forgery felonies are not violent offenses, judges routinely impose harsh sentences. Specialized prosecutors typically handle fraud, forgery, and other white-collar criminal cases. The effective fraud defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are widely respected and known for providing the highest possible caliber of defense.

Pre-Charge Intervention

It is in your best interest to have a fraud defense attorney involved in your situation as early as possible. In many cases, a defense attorney can provide information to the police and prosecutor that reduces the likelihood of criminal prosecution. Under different circumstances, a talented defense lawyer can negotiate reduced or fewer charges with law enforcement and the prosecutor. A defense lawyer’s mission on a pre-charge basis is to reduce the client’s exposure, mitigate damages, and head off potential charges when possible. It is critical that you do not speak to law enforcement or provide any information except through experienced legal counsel. Remember, anything you say or do “can and will be used against you.”

Types of Felony Fraud and Forgery and Maximum Penalties

OffenseMaximum Penalty
Uttering and publishing false, forged, altered, or counterfeit financial transaction device or records14 years in prison
Forgery of bank checks, bills, or promissory notes7 years in prison
Possession of Counterfeit Notes – possession of 10 or more similar forged or counterfeit bank documents (checks, notes, etc.) and are found to have intended to use them7 years in prison
Trying to pass counterfeit money5 years in prison
Obtaining a signature by fraud10 years in prison
Knowingly writing a check with insufficient funds2 years in prison
Knowingly writing a check on a closed account2 years in prison
Possession of counterfeit coins or currency (less than 5 coins or bills)10 years in prison
Possession of 5 or more pieces of counterfeit coins or currencyUp to life in prison
Possession of counterfeiting tools10 years in prison
Knowingly possessing a forged financial transaction device (credit card)4 years in prison
Identity Theft – 1st Offense5 years in prison
Identity Theft – 2nd or Subsequent Offense15 years in prison
Forging or counterfeiting a public record, certificate, return, or an attestation of a court clerk, notary public, or public officer where the item may be received as legal proof14 years in prison
Food stamp fraud 93 days in jail
Mail fraud 20 years in prison, or 30 years if the fraud relates to a presidentially declared disaste
Insurance fraud 4 years in prison
Insider trading 20 years in prison
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Fraud and Forgery Defenses

There are multiple potential defenses to fraud and forgery crimes. A skilled and savvy fraud defense attorney will take the time to analyze their client’s case carefully and identify all possible defenses. Even in cases that seem impossible to defend, an experienced lawyer might be able to craft a strong and viable defense.

Mistake of Identity

If someone committed a crime but the person accused wasn’t involved, there is a mistake of identity. In many fraud and forgery cases, the victim does not have face-to-face contact with the suspect. With the rise of e-commerce, internet banking, and social media, it is common for fraud to take place over the Internet. A hasty investigation or other conjecture might mistakenly lead the police to accuse the wrong person. If you face a charge that you had nothing to do with, your attorney will need to take steps to prove that there was a mistaken identification or that there is insufficient proof of your guilt.

Misunderstanding/Good Faith

Innocent mistakes and misunderstandings can lead to accusations of fraud. If an individual makes a genuine mistake or acts honestly but based on missing important information, there is no fraudulent or wrongful intent. An example of this would be when a person genuinely, but mistakenly, believed they had the authority to engage in a transaction or sign a document. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors often assume the worst and infer wrongful intent. A skilled, respected, and persuasive fraud defense attorney can help clear things up and work to get the charges dropped.

Lack of Intent

A prosecutor must prove that a defendant intended to commit fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. If an individual did not intend to defraud anyone, they are not guilty. There must be evidence that a person intentionally and willfully defrauded a person, business, or the government to obtain money, property, or services. Whether wire fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, or another fraud-related offense, fraud can’t happen by accident or in good faith. There is insufficient evidence for a conviction without direct or strong circumstantial proof of intent. Experienced and successful fraud defense attorneys will have a command of the most persuasive lack-of-intent arguments.

Insufficient Evidence

For a conviction, a prosecutor must be able to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof of guilt can be direct, circumstantial, or both. Direct proof means that there is firsthand information proving the defendant is guilty. Circumstantial evidence is evidence that leads to an inference of guilt. If the government’s evidence is weak, skilled fraud and forgery attorneys might focus the defense on the lack of sufficient evidence for a conviction. If the defense lawyer is aggressive and proactive, they might persuade the prosecutor to dismiss charges because the evidence is insufficient for a conviction. A prosecutor will see an experienced, respected defense lawyer as a threat to their case than an inexperienced or less proficient attorney.

You could not have committed a fraud-related crime if the alleged victim had consented to your actions. If there is evidence that the alleged victim permitted the accused to engage in the transaction, whether a person or business, this would be crucial to the defense. For example, elderly or infirm individuals might give someone permission to engage in a transaction and then forget they consented. While a person’s actions may have been ill-advised or look suspicious, there is no crime if the victim consented.


If someone used threats or violence to force a defendant to act against their better judgment, there is no intent to defraud, and thus they are not guilty. Zealous fraud defense attorneys will know how to preserve or obtain evidence to corroborate the threat. If the feeling of duress and the action in response are deemed reasonable, the defendant is not guilty.

Statute of Limitations

In Michigan, the statute of limitations for most misdemeanors and many felonies is six (6) years. The limitation for most severe felony charges, including serious assaults and fraud, is 10 years. Violent crimes like murder and terrorist activities have no statute of limitations. In criminal sexual conduct cases, particularly those with children, complex rules and limitations are applicable and can depend on the alleged victim’s age (sometimes the limitation is as long as 25 years or 10 years following the child’s 21st birthday). If there is no applicable statute of limitations, there is no time limit for the government to charge someone.


Entrapment occurs when the police or federal agents entice a person to commit a crime they usually would not have otherwise committed. Simply being presented with the opportunity to commit a crime is not considered entrapment. If the defendant has a prior record of committing similar offenses, it would be difficult to prove that the defendant would not ordinarily commit such an offense. A skilled fraud defense attorney will determine whether entrapment has occurred and file a motion to dismiss all charges. The entrapment defense, when successful, results in a complete acquittal and dismissal of charges.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Fraud Defense Attorneys in Michigan

At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we have fraud defense attorneys in Michigan with decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with all forms of fraud and forgery offenses in state and federal court. We have the knowledge and skill to provide the highest caliber defense. Most importantly, our record of successfully defending and protecting our clients is unparalleled. If you call for a free consultation, we will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and address your concerns.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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