Nevada "Fraud" Laws
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyers

Definition

Fraud occurs when people deliberately misrepresent themselves in order to receive benefits, such as:

  • money,
  • insurance,
  • housing, and/or
  • services

As discussed below, there are several different types of fraud offenses depending on the transactions involved.

Penalties

The majority of Nevada fraud crimes are prosecuted as felonies, carrying:

  • time in Nevada State Prison,
  • fines (at the judge's discretion),
  • restitution payments (if applicable), and
  • investigation reimbursement costs (if applicable)1

But it may be possible to plea bargain the charges down to lesser offenses or a full dismissal.

Defenses

The most common ways to fight Nevada fraud charges is to argue either:

If the defense attorney can raise a reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt, then the case should be dismissed.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys summarize the following types of Nevada fraud crimes:

fraud in NV
Fraud is usually prosecuted as a felony in Nevada and may carry prison, fines, and restitution.

1. What is auto insurance fraud in Nevada?

Car insurance fraud is the act of intentionally deceiving an insurance company to obtain money that the insurance company is not legally obligated to give. Examples include:

  • Intentionally inflating the cost to repair a damaged vehicle;
  • Intentionally abandoning a car and claiming that someone stole it (this is referred to as “owner give-ups”);
  • Intentionally vandalizing a car and claiming that it was caused by an accident;
  • Intentionally making a false claim in a vehicle insurance application; and
  • Falsely stating that an automobile collision caused physical injuries

Note that a person need not own a vehicle in order to get prosecuted for defrauding a car insurance company. For example a physician who willingly makes a false medical report about an injured driver to an insurance company could also face prosecution for this offense.

Deceiving a car insurance company is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying:

car insurance fraud
  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison,
  • Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion), and
  • Restitution

Also note that auto insurance fraud cases are usually prosecuted by the Nevada Attorney General instead of the local district attorney.

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of auto insurance fraud.2

2. What is bank fraud?

Like it sounds, bank fraud occurs when people knowingly execute a "scheme or artifice" to either:

  1. Defraud a financial institution, or
  2. Obtain money or property under the custody of a financial institution by false pretenses.

An 18 U.S.C. § 1344 violation can occur without the perpetrator ever walking into a bank. This is different from the federal crime of bank robbery, which requires a physical taking and carrying away.

Penalties include:

bank fraud
  • Up to 30 years in Federal Prison, and/or
  • Up to $1,000,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the federal crime of bank fraud.3

3. What is credit card fraud in Nevada?

There are many different actions that qualify as credit card fraud. Examples include: 

  • Using other people's credit cards without their permission;
  • Using a revoked or expired credit card;
  • Lying on a credit card application; and
  • Using a fake credit card

A 205.760 violation is a category D felony, carrying:

credit card fraud
  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison,
  • Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion), and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on Nevada crime of credit card fraud.4

4. What is foreclosure fraud in Nevada?

Foreclosure consultants may be prosecuted for deception if they do not abide by the terms of their contracts with homeowners. Examples of fraudulent behaviors include:

  • Consultants receiving compensation outside the terms of their contracts with a homeowner; and
  • Consultants taking a homeowner's power of attorney for reasons other than to review documents as provided by law; and
  • Consultants misrepresenting the services provided by the foreclosure consultant(s)

A single NRS 645F.400 violation is a category C felony, carrying:

  • One to ten (1 - 10) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution

Meanwhile, "a pattern" of foreclosure fraud is prosecuted as a category B felony, carrying:

  • Three to twenty (3 - 20) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $50,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of foreclosure deception.5

5. What is gaming fraud in Nevada?

It is illegal to use information not known to the general public when gambling in Nevada. This offense is similar to insider trading but with casinos instead of the stock market. Examples include:

  • A casino employee telling a patron that a particular blackjack table has a hot deck;
  • A casino host indicating to a patron that a particular slot machine is "loose"; and
  • A dealer fixing a game in order to ensure a predetermined outcome

An NRS 465.070 violation is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

gaming fraud
  • One to six (1 - 6) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $5,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of gaming fraud.6

6. What is health care fraud in Nevada?

Police may arrest a doctor or other medical professional for lying to health insurance companies about how much money they are entitled to. Examples of health care fraud are:

  • Double-billing;
  • Falsifying patient records;
  • Charging for procedures that were not necessary or never performed;
  • Upcoding or unbundling of services or items; and
  • Accepting kickbacks

An NRS 422.369 violation is a category D felony, carrying:

health care fraud
  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison,
  • Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion), and
  • Restitution

Note that these cases are usually prosecuted by the Nevada Attorney General instead of the local district attorney.

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of health care fraud.7

7. What is mail fraud?

The federal crime of mail fraud has four elements:

  1. There was a "fraudulent scheme" intended to divest another person or institution out of money, property, or "honest services" (including ethical behavior or trade secrets);
  2. The defendant had an intention to defraud;
  3. The fraud involved material misrepresentations of truth; and
  4. The defendant employed the mail to conduct the fraud.

Mail fraud is usually prosecuted alongside other offense(s) related to the underlying fraudulent scheme, such as bank or securities fraud.

Penalties for an 18 U.S.C. § 1341 violation include:

mail fraud
  • Up to twenty (20) years in federal prison, and/or
  • A fine, and
  • Restitution

But if the scheme involves federal disaster relief or defrauding a bank or other financial institution, the sentence is:

  • Up to thirty (30) years in federal prison, and/or
  • Up to one million dollars ($1,000,000) in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the federal crime of mail fraud.8

8. What is mortgage fraud in Nevada?

It is illegal to deliberately make a false statement or conceal a material fact when conducting a mortgage lending transaction. Examples of mortgage fraud include:

  • False loan modification schemes, where the company takes large fees upfront but then fails to deliver on their promised services;
  • False loan applications, where prospective home buyers put false information on their mortgage applications; and
  • False appraisals, where home sellers bribe appraisers to exaggerate the home's value

An NRS 205.372 violation is a category C felony, carrying:

mortgage fraud
  • One to ten (1 - 10) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution

But "a pattern" of deceptive mortgage practices is charged as a category B felony, carrying:

  • Three to twenty (3 - 20) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $50,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of mortgage fraud.9

9. What is obtaining money by false pretenses in Nevada?

Nevada outlaws monetary transactions where one party profits from a material misrepresentation made to the other. Typical scenarios include:

  • Getting a paycheck for a job that the recipient did not do;
  • Selling goods that the seller does not deliver to the buyer upon payment; and
  • A landlord locking out a tenant after taking his/her rent money

Penalties for an NRS 205.380 violation depend on the amount of money involved. Falsely obtaining less than $650 is a misdemeanor, carrying

  • Up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • Up to $1,000, and
  • Restitution

If the money amounted to $650 or more, then it is a category B felony, carrying:

  • One to six (1 - 6) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of obtaining money by false pretenses.10

10. What is securities fraud in Nevada?

Any fraudulent act involving the stock market and investments is highly illegal in Nevada. Examples include:

  • Insider trading;
  • Unauthorized trades;
  • Churning (a broker buying or selling securities to get extra commission); and
  • Unsuitability (investing clients' funds in risky ventures without informing them of the risk) 

Securities fraud is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • One to twenty (1 - 20) years in prison, and/or
  • $500,000, and
  • Restitution

Note that securities fraud is also a federal offense. Common scenarios include violating the:

securities fraud

A 15 U.S.C. § 78 violation carries:

  • Up to twenty (20) years in federal prison, and/or
  • $5,000,000 dollars in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our articles on the Nevada crime of securities fraud11 and the federal crime of securities fraud.12

11. What is unemployment insurance fraud in Nevada?

Both employers and former employees are possible defendants in fraudulent unemployment insurance cases. Common scenarios include:

  • An applicant collecting unemployment despite working another job;
  • An applicant cashing another person's unemployment check;
  • An employer giving a false reason about why an employee was fired in order to avoid paying;
  • An employer withholding employee deductions and intentionally not paying them to the state

An NRS 612.445 violation involving less than $650 is a misdemeanor, carrying

  • Up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • Up to $1,000, and
  • Restitution

Meanwhile, an NRS 612.445 violation involving $650 to less than $3,500 is a category C felony, carrying:

insurance fraud
  • One to five (1 - 5) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution, and
  • A penalty equal to 15% of the benefits received, and
  • An additional penalty at the judge's discretion

Finally, an NRS 612.445 violation involving $3,500 or more is a category B felony, carrying:

  • One to ten (1 - 10) years in prison, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • Restitution, and
  • A penalty equal to 15% of the benefits received, and
  • An additional penalty at the judge's discretion

Note that these cases are usually prosecuted by the Nevada Attorney General instead of the local district attorney.

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of unemployment insurance fraud.13

12. What is welfare fraud in Nevada?

It is unlawful for welfare applicants to deceive social services into giving them more assistance than they are entitled to otherwise. Examples of this offense include:

  • The defendant using a fake ID in order to receive benefits;
  • The defendant intentionally not reporting their assets in order to increase benefit payments; and
  • The defendant taking benefits from more than one state

An NRS 422A.700 violation is typically prosecuted as a category D felony, carrying:

  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison,
  • Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion), and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of welfare fraud.14 

13. What is wire fraud?

The federal crime of wire fraud has five elements:

  1. The defendant executed a "fraudulent scheme" that resulted in losses to another person or a business;
  2. The defendant had intent to defraud;
  3. The defendant's lies were material to the scheme;
  4. The defendant used wire communications such as the telephone or email to advance the scheme; and
  5. The wire communication crossed state lines

Wire fraud is usually prosecuted alongside other offense(s) related to the underlying fraudulent scheme, such as bank or securities fraud.

Penalties for an 18 U.S.C. § 1343 violation include:

wire fraud
  • Up to twenty (20) years in federal prison, and/or
  • A fine, and
  • Restitution

But if the scheme involves federal disaster relief or defrauding a bank or other financial institution, the sentence is:

  • Up to thirty (30) years in federal prison, and/or
  • Up to one million dollars ($1,000,000) in fines, and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the federal crime of wire fraud.15

14. What is workers' compensation fraud in Nevada?

People commit workers' compensation insurance fraud by lying to obtain insurance benefits. Possible defendants include:

  • Employees ("applicants"), who are trying to get money they are not entitled to;
  • Employers, who are trying to pay fewer workers' comp premiums;
  • Carriers, which are attempting to avoid paying out benefits;
  • Claims mills, where "rings" of people recruit people to file fake workers' comp claims so the ring members can divvy up the benefits; and
  • Providers, who over-bill or provide unnecessary treatment to get more money.

Workers' compensation fraud is typically prosecuted as a category D felony in Nevada, carrying:

workers comp fraud
  • One to four (1 - 4) years in prison,
  • Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion), and
  • Restitution

Learn more in our article on the Nevada crime of workers' compensation fraud.16

Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673)
Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE for a FREE consultation.

If you are facing criminal charges in Nevada, call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We can set up a free meeting right away to discuss the best way to defend your case. Our objective is to try to keep you out of custody and your record clean.

Even if you are merely suspected of deceptive practices but have not been arrested, it is advised you retain counsel as soon as possible. We may be able to speak with the D.A. while they are conducting your pre-file investigation in Nevada and persuade them not to bring charges at all.

Arrested in California? Please see our informational article on California fraud laws.

Arrested in Colorado? Please see our informational article on Colorado fraud laws.


Legal References

  1. See, e.g., NRS 686A.291.
  2. See NRS 686A.2815.
  3. 18 U.S.C. § 1344.
  4. NRS 205.760.
  5. NRS 645F.400.
  6. NRS 465.070.
  7. NRS 422.369.
  8. 18 U.S.C. § 1341.
  9. NRS 205.372.
  10. NRS 205.380.
  11. NRS 90.650.
  12. 15 U.S.C. § 78.
  13. NRS 612.445.
  14. NRS 422A.700.
  15. 18 U.S.C. § 1343.
  16. See, e.g., NRS 616D.370.

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