Chicago Theft & Fraud Lawyer

The terms theft and fraud can mean many different things. Theft could involve examples such as shoplifting from a retail store, stealing a car, or taking money out of someone’s purse. Fraud could involve actions such as using someone else’s debit or credit card, signing someone else’s name to a document without their consent, or scamming someone into giving you money or property through the use of false pretenses.

At their most basic, theft and fraud mean taking something that doesn’t belong to you. With fraud, there’s the added element of deception or trickery. Regardless, theft and fraud can be serious criminal charges in Illinois.

Theft and fraud can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances. Typically, the greater the value of the money or property you allegedly stole or obtained through deception, the harsher the penalty if you’re convicted. Penalties for theft also may be more severe when the money or property is taken from someone’s physical person.

Consequences of an Illinois theft or fraud offense may include:

  • Serving time in jail or prison
  • Paying costly fines, court fees, or restitution
  • Acquiring a permanent criminal record
  • Trouble getting or keeping a job
  • Trouble getting approved for rental housing
  • Losing or being denied a professional license to work as a doctor, nurse, lawyer, pharmacist, teacher, financial professional, or another licensed profession
  • Losing or being denied an immigration visa or green card, being denied citizenship, or being deported if you’re a non-citizen

However, as stressful and overwhelming as a criminal theft or fraud charge may be, you may be able to avoid a guilty finding or reduce your charge and penalties with the help of a skilled Chicago theft lawyer. A great defense lawyer can argue your innocence or present evidence of circumstances that may convince a prosecutor or judge that you deserve leniency.

Dedicated Defense From a Chicago Theft and Fraud Lawyer

Chicago theft and fraud lawyer Michael O’Meara is an experienced and dedicated attorney with more than two decades of practical legal experience. He has spent countless hours in criminal courtrooms in Chicago and the surrounding area trying a broad range of criminal cases and bringing them to successful resolutions.

O’Meara spent several years honing his litigation skills as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney before starting his criminal defense practice in 2004. His experience on both sides of the process gives him a unique perspective on how the local criminal justice system works — and how he can best defend you against an Illinois criminal charge.

He has a thorough understanding of Illinois criminal law and the court process that are invaluable when you need someone experienced to fight for you and to protect your rights. O’Meara is a passionate advocate for justice whose goal is to obtain the best possible outcome for each person he represents.

Common Types of Illinois Theft & Fraud Charges

Theft or fraud charges in Illinois can take numerous different forms depending on the circumstances of your alleged offense. Illinois criminal defense attorney Michael O’Meara can represent you in any type of theft or fraud case that you face. However, these are some of the most common types of theft and fraud charges you might encounter in Illinois.

  • Theft — Theft is a broad description for offenses involving taking money or property that belongs to someone else. In Illinois, theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether the value of the money or property stolen exceeds $500, or whether the money or property was taken from someone’s person. Learn more about the crime of theft, the possible penalties, and how a Chicago theft and fraud lawyer can help.
  • Retail Theft — Retail theft involves offenses committed against retail establishments, such as shoplifting items, changing the price tags on goods in order to pay less, switching the packaging to avoid paying full price for goods, or returning items under false pretenses in order to obtain cash or store credit. Retail theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether the value of the theft exceeds $300. Learn more about retail theft, the penalties, and possible defenses.
  • Fraud and Forgery — Fraud and forgery involve using deception or misrepresentation to obtain money, goods, or services. In the case of forgery, the deception involves written documents such as a falsified deed or signing someone else’s name to a check. Learn more about the many types of fraud and forgery charges in Illinois, the possible penalties, and how an attorney can help if you’ve been charged.
  • Credit Card Fraud — You can be charged with credit card fraud when you illegally obtain a credit or debit card, obtain or use another person’s card without his or her consent, use a card you know is fake or expired, misrepresent yourself as a cardholder in order to obtain money, property or services. Credit card fraud is a felony in Illinois regardless of the dollar value of the fraud. However, penalties increase when the value exceeds $300. Learn more about how Illinois defines credit card fraud, the potential penalties, and what a lawyer can do for you.
  • Embezzlement — Embezzlement is a crime that involves taking money or property entrusted to you by someone else and using it for your own personal gain. The offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether the value exceeds $500, you have prior offenses, and the nature of the victim. Learn more about how embezzlement is defined and punished in Illinois, and how a lawyer can help if you’ve been charged.
  • Burglary — You may be charged with burglary if you are suspected of entering a building or vehicle without permission with the intention of committing a theft or a felony. Burglary is a felony in Illinois. Penalties are more severe when the burglary is of a residence, school, day care, or church, or if it’s defined as a home invasion. Learn more about the types of burglary charges in Illinois, the possible penalties, and common defenses.

If you’ve been charged with a theft or fraud offense in Chicago or the surrounding area, contact O’Meara Law LLC today at to learn the options available to you for a defense with a skilled Chicago theft and fraud lawyer.