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Pennsylvania Fraud Lawyer

Fraud is one of the most common white collar crimes. After the financial crisis of 2008, prosecutors have become very aggressive at punishing fraud offenses. This has resulted in many people who made minor mistakes or who were in-over-their heads financially being charged with serious criminal offenses. If you have been accused of fraud, you need to take advantage of the protections built into the criminal justice system to ensure your rights are respected. A Pennsylvania fraud lawyer can represent you during every step of your criminal case and help you make smart decisions in responding to charges.

Pennsylvania Fraud Laws

Title 18 Chapter 41 of the Pennsylvania Code lists crimes related to forgery and fraudulent practices. Some of the different types of fraud that are prohibited under this Code Section and may warrant contact with a Pennsylvania fraud lawyer include:

  • Falsely portraying objects as rare or antique with the intent to trick someone into believing the objects are authentic.  This is a first degree misdemeanor under Pennsylvania Code Section 4102.
  • Writing bad checks, which you know will not be honored. This is a third degree misdemeanor if the check is valued at $200 to $500.  Larger checks result in harsher penalties under Code Section 4105.
  • Deceptive business practices, such as selling less than the represented quantity of an item, selling mislabeled commodities, or making misleading statements to the public to promote the purchase of property or services. This is a third degree felony if the amount of money involved is greater than $2,000 and is a first degree misdemeanor if the fraud involved items or services valued between $200 and $2,000 under Code Section 4107.
  • Insurance fraud, which involves knowingly and intentionally filing false insurance claims or making false statements to the insurer with the intent to deceive. This is a third degree felony under Code Section 4117.

Other fraud offenses include commercial bribery, rigging public contests, bankruptcy fraud, unlawfully operating a recording device in a theatre, and trademark counterfeiting.

Penalties for Pennsylvania Fraud

Felony fraud offenses are punished more harshly than misdemeanor fraud offenses. For a first degree misdemeanor, you may be sentenced to as long as five years behind bars. For a third degree felony, the prison sentence could last as long as seven years. You may be able to negotiate a reduced sentence with the help of a Pennsylvania fraud lawyer if you are willing to plea bargain and admit guilt. Your attorney may also be able to convince the prosecutor to charge you with a less serious offense in exchange for a plea.

How a Pennsylvania Fraud Lawyer Can Help You

When you are arrested based on allegations of fraud, you can decide how to plead. If you want to go to court and try to avoid conviction, you need to plead not guilty. A Pennsylvania fraud attorney will help you to explore possible defenses to fraud that you can present to a jury, such as entrapment or lack of intent to deceive. If a prosecutor can’t prove you acted wrongfully and committed all elements of a fraud crime, the jury shouldn’t find you guilty.  Your attorney can help you to question witnesses, argue to keep illegally-obtained evidence out, and otherwise take steps to introduce doubt into the prosecutor’s case.

To learn more, contact a Pennsylvania fraud lawyer today for help with your criminal case.