If you believe you are a victim of fraud, as a business or customer, contact the Birmingham business fraud lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. right away. If you believe someone lied to you or stole money or property, you need to work with an attorney who has experience with Alabama’s business and consumer protection laws.
Fraud is a broad term that covers any deceptive behavior that’s used for financial or personal gain. Fraud can be perpetrated by a business toward consumers, an employee of a business, a person to another person, and in a number of other situations.
For instance, it’s fraud when someone lies to gain money from someone else. A person may go door to door asking for money for a fake charity and then pocket the cash. A business might say it’s selling a health supplement but the product inside the bottle isn’t the same as the ingredients listed on the label. Both that individual and this business could face criminal liability for their fraudulent activity.
However, as the victim of business fraud, you may have options to seek compensation for your losses from the person or business that committed the fraud separately from any criminal charges that the government may pursue. Our Birmingham business lawyers can discuss your situation, explain your legal options, and fight to see that you obtain justice and appropriate compensation after being the victim of business fraud.
Fraud Perpetuated by a Business
Unfortunately, some businesses may engage in unethical practices. Sometimes these practices amount to illegal activity or harm other businesses or individuals. It is possible that the officers or directors of the business commit fraud toward the organization’s shareholders or consumers.
Under Alabama law, types of business fraud include:
- False advertising — Many businesses have been fined for advertising in a way that is confusing or outright lying to consumers. Organizations may violate the law by offering a product or service they do not intend to sell as advertised or when the advertisement includes false or misleading claims.
- Unfair or deceptive business practices — This includes a number of fraudulent activities such as selling or delivering incorrect, mislabeled, or adulterated products. It includes charging customers for services that are never performed. Ultimately, customers do not get what they were told they were buying.
- False business records — Corporations and other types of businesses not only should keep detailed records, but sometimes have a legal obligation to do so. In order to hide fraudulent transactions, business officers may falsify the records to escape detection.
- Unfair trading practices — Public companies have stock that can be bought and sold. Business directors and officers can purposefully influence the price of their stock to cause it to be bought or sold at a particular time in order to make money.
As a consumer, if you believe you were deceived in order to make a sale or received a product that wasn’t what you paid for, you should contact an attorney right away. Additionally, if you’re a shareholder of a business and you think something illegal is going on behind closed doors, you should seek legal advice from Belt & Bruner. You may have options for recovering compensation that we can explain.
Fraud By Employees
One of the most common fraudulent acts by employees is known as embezzlement. This crime occurs when someone who is put in charge of money or property appropriates that money or property for their own use. The perpetrator was a person in a position of trust and they used that position to take advantage of a business.
Employees don’t have to be the company accountant to steal from the business. They can also commit what’s known as payroll fraud, where they turn in more hours than they really worked to be paid additional overtime. If the company has no payroll oversight, employees can amass tens of thousands of dollars in overtime wages when they aren’t actually working.
Workers in charge of supplies or inventory might also over-order what the business needs, return items for cash, and pocket those funds.
Fraudulent Customer or Vendor Behavior
If you’re a business owner, you have probably dealt with deceptive consumers, independent contractors, or vendors. Large companies and small mom-and-pop stores are both at risk for fraud that can cause significant financial losses.
Common fraud directed at businesses includes:
- False or forged checks: Customers can use checks to avoid paying in a number of ways. They may present a cashier’s check that is not backed by funds or has false banking information on it. They may present you a check that they’ve forged that will actually take money from someone else’s account – also known as identity theft.
- Phishing scams: Scammers often send phishing emails to individuals but businesses are also susceptible. Sometimes scammers will pretend to be a bank, creditor, or vendor asking for private business information that then gives the scammer access to the business’s banking information or customer credit card information.
Your Legal Remedies For Business Fraud
Whether you’re a business, a shareholder, or a consumer, you have legal rights and legal remedies, if you were wronged. You may have a business fraud case if you were lied to by the other party to the transaction. If you were promised something you never received and suffered a financial loss, you might be able to take the other party to court in order to recover from your losses.
While you may have a legal claim, these types of cases can be difficult to litigate. They are often complex and document heavy. They often require expert financial or technology professionals to evaluate evidence and testify in support of your claim. If you want to move forward with your case, you need an attorney who is prepared to take full advantage of the discovery process and has the resources to go through page after page to prove the other party’s deception.
If you’re able to prove fraud and your injury, you may be able to recover your financial loss with interest.
Contact an Alabama Business Fraud Lawyer
The business fraud attorneys at Belt & Bruner understand the nuances of business fraud cases as well as the importance of seeing litigation through to the end. They have document imaging and indexing technology that allows them to handle complex, multi-million dollar fraud cases. They understand how to establish proof of fraud in court in order to obtain a beneficial settlement or jury award in your favor.