FREE Case Evaluation
Pennsylvania Fraud Lawyer
Fraud charges are extremely serious in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Since the 2008 financial crisis, prosecutors and courts have become increasingly more aggressive at penalizing fraud offenders. This is true even for relatively minor mistakes and offenses.
If the Commonwealth has charged you with fraud, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. A Pennsylvania fraud lawyer can help you make intelligent legal decisions in your case and assist you with properly responding to your charge.
Types of Pennsylvania Fraud Charges
Fraud is a broad term under Pennsylvania law, and a variety of criminal offenses may constitute fraud. Examples of fraud offenses in the Commonwealth include the following:
- Selling items under false pretenses – This occurs when the accused tries to trick a buyer into believing that an ordinary item is a true antique or holds special value. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Deceptive business practices – The accused may face fraud charges if they misrepresent the quantity of an item or mislead the general public about certain services or property. If the amount of the goods or services at issue exceeds $2,000, the charge is a third-degree felony. If the value is between $200 and $2,000, the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Bad check writing – A bad check is one which the accused knows the bank will not cash. If the check has a value of between $200 and $500, the charge is a third-degree misdemeanor. If the check has a larger value, the penalties can be even harsher.
- Insurance fraud – In order for the Commonwealth to charge the accused with insurance fraud, the accused must intentionally and knowingly file a false or misleading claim for insurance. The accused may also make a false statement to the insurance company’s representative – such as an adjuster – for purposes of deceiving them. Insurance fraud is a third-degree felony.
In addition to these types of fraud offenses, the Commonwealth also criminalizes embezzlement, identity theft, bankruptcy fraud, commercial bribery, and rigging public contests. Individuals can also face fraud charges for trademark counterfeiting or unlawfully operating or using a recording device in a theatre. A Pennsylvania fraud attorney can review the charge and all possible legal defenses.
Potential Penalties for a Fraud Conviction
In order to receive a criminal penalty for engaging in Pennsylvania fraud activities, the Commonwealth must first prove that the accused is guilty and/or the court must enter a conviction against them.
Felony fraud convictions are more serious than misdemeanor convictions. Consequently, sentencing judges tend to punish felonies more harshly than they do misdemeanors. A first-degree misdemeanor fraud conviction, for example, may result in up to five years in jail, while a third-degree felony conviction can result in up to seven years in jail.
A fraud lawyer in Pennsylvania may be able to arrange a favorable plea bargain on the accused’s behalf, if they are willing to admit guilt. A lawyer may also speak to the prosecutor and request a less serious charge in exchange for a plea.
Speak with a Pennsylvania Fraud Attorney Today
If you are facing a fraud charge in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, time may be a factor. You should not delay in seeking legal counsel to represent you in your case.
A Pennsylvania fraud lawyer can review all of your options with you and start preparing a good defense to assert on your behalf.