Philadelphia Internet Fraud Lawyers
In the modern world, many important transactions are now done entirely on the internet. This has opened a whole new realm of potentially fraudulent activities. People can now be charged and convicted for internet fraud, and a wide range of activities can legally count as fraud. Those potentially involved in internet fraud in Philadelphia need to be able to understand these laws so they can better protect their rights.
What Counts As Internet Fraud?
Since any fraud committed over the internet may affect people outside of Philadelphia, most of the laws about internet fraud fall under federal instead of state laws. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 made it illegal for people to use computers to intentionally gain unauthorized access to bank computers, federal computers, computers used for commerce for the purpose of obtaining anything of value or causing damage. Since any computer with internet access can be used as an instrument for commerce, this essentially means it is illegal for anyone to access any computer without authorization. It is also illegal to perpetuate standard acts of fraud, such as promising a large fund in return for a small deposit, over a computer.
Internet fraud is a vary wide subject that encompasses many activities, including:
- Sending a computer virus to destroy another computer.
- Harvesting personal information with spyware or phishing emails.
- Taking someone else’s computer and entering it to steal information.
- Purposefully interrupting an authorized user’s ability to access a network.
- Hacking into any sort of system without authority.
- Logging in to other people’s accounts without their authorization for the purpose of causing damage or taking information.
What Are the Legal Consequences of an Internet Fraud Conviction?
The exact nature of the penalties you face when convicted of internet fraud depend on the unique circumstances of your case. The maximum potential jail sentence for internet fraud is 20 years in prison, but not every person receives this punishment. First offenders typically get a sentence of around 10 years in prison, though the sentence may be less if the amount of money gained through the fraud is less than $5,000. In addition to imprisonment, people who participate in fraud may not be allowed access to the internet for a certain period of time, and they may have to pay fines as compensation for their actions.
Can a Lawyer Do Anything to Prevent an Internet Fraud Conviction?
An internet fraud defense lawyer can greatly help those charged with fraud. One potential defense rests on improper behavior of arresting or investigating law enforcement. Your lawyer may be able to show that the activities of undercover online agents counts as illegal entrapment. If evidence in the case was obtained without properly protecting your rights, your lawyer may be able to get the evidence removed. Other strategies for internet fraud often rely on casting doubt on whether or not you actually did the fraud. If others had access to the computers used to perpetuate the fraud, it may be more difficult for the prosecutors to prove the charge. Good lawyers can even help those who are convicted, since the penalties for internet fraud are so variable. They can potentially argue for lighter sentences with less severe consequences.
Because internet fraud is such a serious charge, you need a Philadelphia lawyer with plenty of experience in technology-based legal matters. The right lawyer can help to prevent a conviction or achieve a lighter sentence for a person charged with internet fraud. Get in touch with us today to find out how you can get the best possible outcome for your case.