Fraud makes up many different types of crimes – from simple forging of checks to complicated and technical wire fraud or internet fraud.
It is one of the most common white collar crimes in Pennsylvania and is frequently prosecuted. If found guilty of fraud you face very harsh penalties – the worst being up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Beyond the penalties of a guilty verdict and jail time, being convicted of a serious crime like fraud means you will likely have trouble finding employment or jobs, loans and even housing in the future. Being convicted of any crime can be a burden fro you and your family for many years to come.
However, being found guilty and convicted of fraud is different than facing fraud charges. Until you are found guilty you have many options for fighting your charges or getting your sentence reduced or dropped.
Yes, being charged with a fraud crime is a stressful situation. It can make a person and their family feel hopeless and scared for the future.
Fraud charges do not mean that you are guilty. You have the right to fight back and defend your liberties to avoid a conviction.
Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Christopher P. Thomas can help you get started by answering your questions and providing a free legal evaluation.
Our Pittsburgh Criminal Attorneys have over a decade of experience in successfully fighting for people who have been accused of fraud and other white collar crimes. He will listen to your situation and offer options so you can make the best decision about how to fight back against the fraud charges.
Fraud is covered extensively in Title 18 Chapter 41 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes – titled Forgery and Fraudulent Practices.
While there are many forms of fraud, all fraud crimes have a similar intent – which is to mislead, misrepresent, and/or offer false statements and/or documentation in order to make a personal financial gain.
Some of the most common fraud charges include:
In addition to the charges and penalties you face in Pennsylvania, you may also be subject to U.S. federal jurisdiction if:
Generally speaking, it is very difficult to execute a fraud crime that does not use either electronic communication or the mail system, so facing federal charges is quite common.
Facing both state and federal charges is complicated. An experienced attorney who handles fraud cases is a necessity in helping you have the best chance at a positive outcome for your case.
The penalties for fraud crimes are directly correlated to the amount of money defrauded. However, that is not the only factor – the type of victim and the number of criminal offenses can also add to the severity of the penalties inflicted.
For example, if a victim of fraud is a person over the age of 60, the charges the alleged criminal will face automatically increase by one degree. In other words, if your original charge is normally considered a second degree misdemeanor, you will receive a first degree misdemeanor charge if your victim is 60 years of age or older. This means a lot of extra jail time, upon conviction.
Summary Offense: Up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine
Third Degree Misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine
Second Degree Misdemeanor: Up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine
First Degree Misdemeanor: Up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine
Third Degree Felony: Up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine
Second Degree Felony: Up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine
Here are just a few examples of the penalties you can face in Pennsylvania if you are arrested for the following fraud crime:
Credit Card Fraud:
Passing Bad Checks:
Your reputation, your future and your freedom are on the line. You need an excellent attorney to aggressively defend your rights.
Our experienced Pittsburgh Crime Attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case, gather all evidence and closely examine all police reports, witness testimony, and documents pertinent to your arrest.
We work to significantly increase your chances of having your charges reduced or withdrawn by building a strong defense strategy. We will make sure we get answers to all questions to aid in proving your innocence as well as search for any holes in the prosecution’s case.
A great attorney not only understands the court system but also has compassion for the clients’ situation. That compassion has the capacity to carry over when it is time for hearings and sentencing, negotiating with prosecutors, and arguing your case before a judge.
Pittsburgh Criminal Attorney Christopher Thomas is a skilled and compassionate attorney who will fight for your liberties.
Call 412-765-3345 for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are available by phone, email or in-person.
SMA Law Group attorneys believe in aggressively representing our clients while maintaining the personal compassion needed when counseling clients through difficult situations and navigating a complex legal system. Contact us today.