Professional fraud is a serious concern in many industries. It undermines the reputation of all professionals and can harm those who patronize specific services. Fraud can affect people’s finances and sometimes even their health. For example, mortgage fraud could potentially harm the profit margins of a financial institution, while healthcare fraud might lead to a patient undergoing completely unnecessary treatment so that a doctor can bill for services rendered.
Every case of professional fraud is unique, and different professions and industries are subject to different laws and regulations. Still, there are consistently two specific consequences that many professionals who are facing allegations of fraud will need to address.
1. The possibility of criminal charges
Fraud charges are often white-collar criminal charges, and they may come from the federal government. Provided that the issue involves federal systems or crosses state lines, someone accused of a professional fraud defense might find themselves facing federal charges.
Even state charges might lead to major financial penalties and a lengthy prison sentence. A guilty plea to professional fraud charges doesn’t necessarily ensure leniency, as a judge will typically get to determine the sentence they impose, as long as their sentence falls within the legal parameters set by criminal statutes.
2. The risk to their professional future
After a conviction, a professional with no prior record might be able to avoid a jail sentence. However, they may not be able to continue working in their chosen profession. Criminal convictions related to someone’s occupation will often affect their professional licensing. California requires professional licenses for individuals working in professions including medicine, architecture, psychiatry and even some kinds of sales, like real estate.
Those accused of criminal activity and ethics violations could lose their professional licenses and can find themselves unable to work in the same industry after a guilty plea or criminal conviction. They will often have to attend disciplinary meetings and could lose their licensing depending on the outcome. Those who defend themselves in criminal court can avoid jail time and Licensing penalties.
Individuals who are facing professional consequences and fraud charges almost always benefit from having professional legal representation. Fighting back against claims of white-collar crimes with the assistance of a lawyer who understands such cases can help to protect those who have invested in their careers and do not want to gamble their future.