Computer Fraud Fines and Prison Sentences – La. RS 14:73.5

Did you know that Nigerian prince scams still scam people out of $700,000 a year? A Nigerian prince scam is where emails are sent to people from someone overseas claiming to be royalty. They offer a huge investment opportunity and can end up taking money and leaving or draining their bank account.

If you’ve been charged with computer fraud, you need to understand what you’re up against. You can be fined up to $10,000 or even get prison time up to 5 years in jail.

The more you learn about the charges, the better able you are to defend yourself. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about computer fraud, including the penalties you can face.

What Is Computer Fraud?

There are several different types of fraud including access device fraud, identity theft, and forgery in Louisiana. Each of these types of fraud is set out under different provisions of the Louisiana criminal code. They have different penalties and defenses, so you need to understand exactly what you are charged with.

Computer fraud is set out in RS 14:73:5. Computer fraud involves accessing any computer, computer system, or computer network to:

  • Defraud
  • Obtain money, property, or services through false or fraudulent conduct or representations
  • Obtain money from property or services through fraudulent alteration, deletion, or insertion of programs or services

As you can see, it has a wide-ranging set of circumstances that can get you caught within this provision. You should also know that you can be charged with computer fraud even if you didn’t access the computer directly, but indirectly accessed the computers through your conduct or representation.

Different Types of Computer Fraud

If you are charged with computer fraud, you should understand the different types of activities that can fall under the umbrella of computer fraud. 

Hoax Emails

Like the Nigerian prince scams, you can be charged with computer fraud if you have sent any emails that are designed to defraud someone. If you are making false claims or representations in order to scam people out of their money, it constitutes computer fraud in Louisiana.

Accessing Unauthorized Computers

If you try to access any computer that’s not yours, it can also be considered computer fraud. The prosecutor would need to show that you were intended to defraud or obtain money, property, or services through your false conduct or representations.  

Data Mining or Sending Computer Viruses

Computer fraud also involves installing spyware or malware to steal data that you can use to get money. This data can include protected customer information like credit card information or even protected intellectual property.

Computer fraud can also be used to defraud companies through the use of ransomware. Ransomware involves installing malicious software in a corporation’s network that makes files unusable. You can then demand a ransom in exchange for giving the encryption to allow corporations to use their data again.   


Network fraud can also include hacking into computer networks or computer systems to illegally access personal information. With all the online shopping that we do now, our credit card information is saved on many corporate websites. Hacking into such computer systems can allow you access to credit card information that can be sold to third parties or used for identity fraud.

Assisting With Any of the Above

Any actions that provide someone else with access to computers for fraudulent purposes are also considered computer fraud. This can include giving someone else’s password, allowing access to a corporate network, or any such actions that give access to a computer for fraudulent purposes. 

What Do You Need to Prove?

To be charged with computer fraud, you need to show that you were involved in the fraudulent activities. It can be difficult to find evidence of computer fraud because it’s all online. However, many times there could be evidence such as eyewitnesses or video footage.

With a computer fraud attorney by your side, they can help you argue that the evidence is insufficient to prove guilt. This can include questioning the evidence, the documenting process, and arguing that the evidence is hearsay and inadmissible.


If you are charged with computer fraud, you can get penalties of:

  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Prison with hard labor, up to 5 years
  • Prison without hard labor, up to 5 years
  • Both fines and imprisonment

Depending on how much money you’ve defrauded someone, your punishment can be higher. You can end up paying significant fines up to the maximum of $10,000.

If you’re facing criminal charges, you can work with a computer fraud attorney to ensure that you stay out of prison. A history of criminal behavior, prior conviction, and the severity of the crime can all play a role in determining if you will go to prison.


The best way to defend yourself against computer fraud charges is to get an experienced and professional computer fraud attorney. They can help you brainstorm strategies that you can use to avoid jail time or walk away without charges.

First, make sure to maintain your silence when arrested by the police. Second, you need to explain your situation to a competent computer fraud attorney who can present your case in the most favorable way possible. Your attorney’s familiarity with the law can help them look into potential loopholes to ensure that the case turns in your favor.  

Contact an Attorney With Computer Fraud Expertise

Now you know exactly how you can be charged with computer fraud. There are many different circumstances and actions that fall within the provisions of RS 14:73:5. If you do get charged, you can end up paying fines of up to $10,000 or even get jail time up to 5 years.

With these significant penalties, you want to make sure that you are well-represented. With a strong and well-reputed computer fraud attorney by your side, you can fight these charges or even get them reduced.

If you’re looking for a criminal attorney for computer fraud in Baton Rouge, Livingston, or Ascension, or anywhere in Louisiana, contact us to schedule a consultation today. 


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