Business Fraud

Under Maryland law there are dozens of fraud offenses that stem from operating a business illegally.  The potential penalty for these offenses varies greatly, and some offenses provide for much harsher punishments for repeat offenders.  Some of the most serious commercial violations are listed under the Real Property Code, which provides all the rules and regulations of buying, selling, and leasing both residential and commercial real estate.  Of these offenses perhaps the most commonly known is mortgage fraud, which in some scenarios can carry up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine upon conviction.  The State would have to prove a pattern of mortgage fraud in order to seek a conviction under this particular statute, but even without proof of a pattern the punishment could still be up to 10 years in prison and a permanent felony conviction.  The penalties are again enhanced if the victim of mortgage fraud is a vulnerable adult.

The Real Estate Brokers Act also contains several provisions that could result in criminal prosecution if violated.  Real estate agents are prohibited from misrepresenting themselves as licensed brokers and are also prohibited from soliciting business from or paying commissions to lawyers.  Perhaps the most common offense is providing real estate brokerage or sales services without a valid license.  Like many professions in Maryland, real estate agents and brokers are required to maintain a valid license at all times they are either doing business or holding themselves out as open for business.  A violation of the Real Estate Brokers Act is considered a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail.  A second offense doubles the maximum penalty to 2 years, and a third or subsequent offense.  Benjamin Herbst is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who handles all violations of the Maryland Real Estate Brokers Act.

Benjamin also is a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer for other business and fraud violations including the numerous offenses regarding operating or practicing without a valid professional license.  The Health Occupations Article contains many of these laws including practicing medicine without a license and misrepresentation as a practitioner of medicine, which is considered a felony under Maryland law that carries up to 5 years in prison upon conviction.  It is also a felony to practice dentistry without a license, though the maximum penalty for a first offense is up to 1 year in jail.  Violation one of the many nursing regulations such as practicing without a license, practicing beyond the scope of a license, practicing with a fraudulent record and employing an unlicensed person all carry up to 5 years in prison but are considered misdemeanors.  These offenses may also carry civil fines of up to $20,000 per offense.  Maryland has strict licensing requirements regarding almost all professionals that perform services health and wellness related functions including athletic training, pharmacy, massage therapy, and cosmetology.  Operating without a license or knowingly employing an individual without a license can result in misdemeanor charges that generally carry up to 1 year in jail.

It is important to not speak to law enforcement if you believe you are under investigation by the Maryland Real Estate Commission, Board of Pharmacy, Board of Physicians or any other government agency, as a lawyer may be able to work with the State to secure a dismissal in your case.  Talking to law enforcement or investigators without the benefit of an attorney by your side can limit the type of defenses you may have in your case down the road.  Benjamin Herbst specializes in all criminal charges for practicing without a license.  These offenses are all considered a form of fraud and are treated seriously by prosecutors and judges.  If you have a question or are seeking representation contact Maryland fraud lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime at 410-207-2598 for a free consultation.
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