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Common SC Fraud Charges and Their Defenses

Fraud occurs when one person intentionally deceives others for the purpose of financial or other personal gain. Not every false or misleading statement of fact is punishable as criminal fraud. The essential element of the crime is that money or property is diverted from its rightful owner as a consequence of the deception. A successful defense often depends upon showing circumstances that cast doubt on that charge.

There are many forms of fraud under South Carolina law. Examples include credit card or check fraud, which may involve obtaining goods or services by using a credit card or writing a check knowing that there are insufficient funds to cover the transaction. Tax fraud occurs when a someone files a false return or other documentation to illegally minimize a tax liability. Healthcare providers commit fraud by falsely billing or overbilling patients or insurers for services. Securities fraud may consist of soliciting funds from investors by misrepresenting the nature and/or value of the assets or interests being sold.

Some alleged acts of fraud can successfully be defended on procedural or substantive grounds. These can include one of the following:

  • Lack of intent —To be guilty of fraud, the person who deceives or makes misstatements of fact must have done so purposefully. Sometimes false statements are a result of a mistake. For example, a person may write a check mistakenly believing there was enough money in the account to cover it.
  • Duress — The person charged with fraud may assert that they have been pressured or coerced. However, the person allegedly coerced must have reasonably feared for their safety or physical well-being, or the safety or well-being of another person, in order to use duress as a valid defense.
  • Entrapment — Government agents sometimes encourage lawbreaking as part of their enforcement efforts. Entrapment is an affirmative defense, which means the burden is on the accused to show that the government induced him or her to violate the law and that the accused was not otherwise predisposed to committing the crime.
  • Lack of damages — There must have been an actual loss suffered by the person who alleges to have been defrauded. For example, if a salesman promised that an investment would grow at a rate much higher than it actually did, the investor cannot claim compensation for anticipated profits that did not come. A plaintiff’s recovery is limited to the difference between the real and represented value of what was purchased.

Columbia attorney Jack B. Swerling is a highly regarded criminal defense attorney in South Carolina with wide experience representing defendants in fraud cases in state and federal courts. If you are facing criminal charges, feel free to contact us online or call {PHONE} for an initial consultation.

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Jack Swerling In The News >>

  • Jack Swerling, Derrick Mobley and Alissa Wilson were successful in having a Judge rule after an extensive hearing, that the defendant was immune from prosecution based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in a murder prosecution. The Judgment was handed down on March 29, 2021.
  • Jack Swerling, Gregory Harris and Alissa Wilson obtained a Not Guilty Verdict in Lexington County on March 3, 2022. An Orthopedic Surgeon was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of a friend.
  • “When Jack is on my docket, I tell my law clerks, ‘You do not want to miss this. You are seeing one of the greatest trial lawyers in the state’s history.'” -South Carolina Circuit Court Judge
  • Jack was selected to Super Lawyers Magazine Top Ten List for 2019. Each year Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in South Carolina via a selection process involving peer evaluations, independent research and professional achievement. The South Carolina lawyers who receive the highest points during this selection process are further recognized in the South Carolina Super Lawyers Top Ten List.
  • USA v. FRANK*: In a child pornography case, Swerling was successful in obtaining a 22 level variance reducing the defendant’s sentence from 8 years to 6 months.
  • STATE v. BORIS: The defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a case where the defendant was involved in a shoot-out with 3 police officers.
  • STATE v. TYGER: Jack Swerling obtains a not guilty verdict in a criminal sexual conduct case in Beaufort County.
  • Pre Trial Dispositions: STATE v. DWAYNE: Mr. Swerling successfully argued for the dismissal of stalking and unlawful use of telephone charges brought against a prominent businessman in Florence County.
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