When you hear of embezzlement and fraud charges, you probably think of big-time executives getting into trouble. However, many people face these crimes every day in Pennsylvania and they have serious consequences. Today, we want to talk about both fraud and embezzlement charges and how they can affect you.
At the SMA Law Group, we are here to help when you need a Washington County fraud charges attorney. Our knowledgeable and experienced team understands this area of law and is ready to build a strong defense around you so you can avoid prison time and a permanent mark on your record.
What Is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a type of financial theft. More specifically, it involves the fraudulent taking of money or other property in which the defendant has been entrusted with. In most cases, the person charged has some kind of fiduciary duty to the person or organization in which they have stolen from.
- Fiduciary duty – means that the person holds a legal or ethical responsibility to a person, company, or organization. This typically involves money or other valuable assets.
In Pennsylvania, embezzlement charges will show up in the form of theft charges. The penalties for embezzlement charges will ultimately depend on the total value of the assets that were taken.
- Less than $50: third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of incarceration and a fine up to $2,500.
- $200 to $50: second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- $2,000 to $200: first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
- More than $2,000: third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
What Is Fraud?
Embezzlement is one of many different types of fraud a person can face charges for. Other types include:
- Tax fraud
- Mail fraud
- Identity theft
- Check fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Wire fraud
- Insurance fraud
Please know that many of these cases can also rise to the federal level. By law, the federal government has the right to govern interstate commerce, which gives them the right to prosecute any theft or fraud that crosses state lines. This includes almost all fraud charges. A defendant can find themselves facing BOTH state and federal charges. This can mean two separate convictions and sets of penalties.
Moving Forward From Here
If you or a loved one are facing embezzlement or fraud charges, the most important thing you can do is secure legal assistance as soon as possible. At the SMA Law Group, we cannot stress enough just how detrimental a guilty verdict for these charges can be to both you and your family. Aside from the criminal penalties discussed above, your personal and professional reputation could be ruined permanently.