Internet fraud generally refers to any type of fraudulent use of a computer and the Internet, including the use of chat rooms, email, message boards, discussion groups and web sites, to conduct fraudulent transactions, transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions, or to steal, destroy or otherwise render unusable (the proliferation of viruses for example) computer data vital to the operation of a business.
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Internet Fraud Defense Considerations
Online auction and retail schemes, business opportunity/"work-at-home" schemes, investment schemes and market manipulation schemes are just a few of the current known cybercrime abuses. Auction and retail schemes sometimes offer luxury merchandise, from expensive watches to high-end computers to collectible items. These schemes encourage people to send money, but either the goods are never delivered or the item is far less valuable that what the purchaser thought he was buying. Business opportunity and "work-at-home" schemes promise that individuals will earn thousands of dollars but require upfront fees ranging from $35 to hundreds of dollars. Often people never receive anything in return, or find that the materials are not what the seller warranted.
Internet fraud examples provided by the Department of Justice include:
Los Angeles: February 2000, a man was sentenced to 87 months' imprisonment for his role in a scheme that purported to provide immigration assistance to aliens seeking to become U.S. residents or citizens. Using web sites, newspaper advertisements, recruiters and word of mouth to offer their services to aliens, the leaders of the scheme typically charged more than $10,000 per client and promised that the client would receive particular immigration documents. In some cases, however, the leaders of the scheme provided their clients with counterfeit or false immigration documents. In other cases, they provided no documents at all, and blamed the government and the legal system for the delay in providing the promised documents.Los Angeles: November 1999, four men were criminally charged in the Central District of California for their alleged roles in conducting a "work-at-home" scheme promoted over the Internet.
Internet fraud is also sometimes referred to as computer forgery. Forgery of computer data includes but is not limited to:
- "data" as defined in ? 1.07(14) of this Code,electronic mail,computer generated text and other computer word processing documents,computer image and graphic data, and any other computer generated document, record, or representation
- A person is guilty of computer data forgery when, with the purpose to defraud or injure, the person alters, manipulates, or deletes computer data that is contained in a computer, computer network, computer program, or computer system.
- initiates the transmission of computer data that has been altered, manipulated, or deleted
- creates and possesses, with the intent to initiate the transmission of, computer data that has been altered, manipulated, or deleted
- When computer data is involved in lieu of a tangible writing, the absence of a tangible writing that is created, altered, or manipulated shall not be a defense to the crime of computer data forgery.
A person violating this section shall be guilty of computer data forgery, a felony.
If you are facing potential internet fraud charges, it is critical that you use a legal defense team with specific experience and expertise dealing with these types of charges. Call us at any time at (800) 209-4331 for a free, confidential initial consultation. Early intervention is critical to obtaining the best results.