What Happens If You Commit Fraud?

Prosecution, fines or imprisonment may be the penalty for committing fraud. The seriousness of the penalties depend on the type of fraud, the laws of the state where it was committed and the facts of the case as presented in a court of law.

In Tennessee, for instance, if a person is found to have committed benefit fraud, the penalty may be a prison term of up to five years, a fine of about $5,000 or both. Future unemployment benefits could also be forfeited.

For serious fraud cases, higher penalties are due. For example, counterfeiting checks or forging signatures are grave offenses that may have a devastating impact on a person and his family.