If you are the victim of fraud, you have a set period of time to file a lawsuit. Fraud is deception intentionally performed to gain an unfair or unlawful advantage. When taking legal action, you must prove the existence of fraud, document the discover date and provide supporting documentation.
After fraud or identify theft is discovered, the aggrieved party has a limited number of years to bring legal proceedings against the alleged individual or business that committed the fraud. State statute of limitation laws on fraud are for the protection of the individual accused of fraud. State governments want to ensure that charges are filed in a timely manner, so the accused is protected from ongoing harassment with no end in sight.
The clock starts ticking when the fraud is or should have reasonably been discovered by the aggrieved party. If the alleged perpetrator can prove that the statute of limitations has run out, the case must be dropped. A skilled and experienced attorney can help a victim of identity theft or fraud determine whether there are circumstances that can extend the state statute and other rules that can affect the state statute.
State statute of limitations laws range from one year to 10 years. At three years, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia mandate some of the shortest statute of limitations laws in the country. Generally, most states mandate statute of limitations laws that range from three years to six years.
Public and private resources are available to help those navigating state statute of limitations laws without an attorney. For example, websites dedicated to state statute of limitations laws provide nationwide indexes on fraud. Simply look up your state and read the accompanying section code. Resources on state statutes are also available at your local or state library, state college or state university and local courthouse.