Fraud and embezzlement are considered white collar crimes and are being prosecuted at a higher rate than ever before. In general, white collar crimes are nonviolent crimes that are committed for financial gain or to avoid financial loss. White collar crimes can come with serious penalties including long prison sentences and large financial penalties.
If you have been charged with fraud, embezzlement, or other white collar crimes, contact a Beaver County fraud/embezzlement charges attorney to schedule a consultation. Our attorneys can help at any step in the legal process, but there are advantages to hiring an attorney to represent you sooner than later. If you have not yet been charged, but you believe you are under investigation, depending on the circumstances we may be able to negotiate with law enforcement agencies to avoid lengthy legal proceedings.
In general, fraud occurs when someone achieves financial gains through deceptive practices. There are many different types of fraud including the following:
- Mail fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Check fraud
- Wire fraud
- Tax fraud
Embezzlement occurs when a person entrusted with money or property illegally diverts some of that money or property for his or her own use. The most common scenario is when money in a corporation is misused by an employee for his or her own benefit. Embezzlement charges can be brought under state or federal criminal law and defendants often face serious fines and prison time, especially when charges for additional crimes are included.
Fraud and embezzlement defenses
- Lack of intent to commit the crime is a good defense because without intent, it is essentially impossible to prove that the defendant is guilty.
- Prosecutors lack the evidence to prove the charges against the defendant. Prosecutors need evidence to back up their claims that the defendant is guilty and if they do not have that evidence, the case cannot go forward.
- Duress due to someone forcing the defendant to engage in the illegal conduct such as a boss threatening to fire or physically harm an employee if he or she refuses to partake in the activity.
- Defendant did not understand that what he or she did was illegal. This is really a lack of intent defense and often happens when a superior is directing the defendant’s actions.
- Entrapment if the government baited the defendant to engage in illegal conduct that he or she would not otherwise have participated in.
- The defendant did not realize any type of gain, financial or otherwise from his or her actions. This may be used to show lack of intent arguing why would the defendant intentionally commit a crime without realizing a benefit?