Most fraud schemes are aimed at the general public, but occasionally banks and other financial institutions are the targets of the scheme. In a recent case in Harris County, a 29-year-old woman was arrested and charged with running a credit fraud scheme that allegedly defrauded its victims out of $3.3 million.
The alleged scheme
According to the allegations that underpinned both the search warrant and the arrest warrant that led to the suspect’s arrest, the defendant used illegally obtained information to falsify Harris County offense reports and then submitted the falsified reports to various financial institutions asking them to remove certain loans from their books. The warrants accused the suspect of fraudulently obtaining $3.3 million from the institutional victims.
Police first detected the fraud when they saw advertisements that they considered suspicious.
On searching the suspect’s home, police found documents and multiple electronic devices that were allegedly used in perpetrating the fraud. The Harris County sheriff’s office plans to use the documents and electronic devices to identify any additional crimes and complainants.
The defendant will be brought before a federal magistrate judge to enter a plea to the allegations of the warrant. The magistrate judge will also set the terms of temporary release, including the requirement of posting bail.
Media coverage of cases such as this one often omits details that might support a valid defense. For example, an error by police in obtaining or serving either warrant may provide a defense based upon the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches.
The defendant in this case is facing serious federal criminal charges that, upon conviction, may result in lengthy imprisonment and a substantial fine. It’s important to remember that everyone accused of a crime has the right to a defense. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help people understand their options for defending their rights.