Have you been accused of fraud or embezzling funds in Pennsylvania? Such charges can have serious consequences. If you are convicted of fraud or facing embezzlement charges, you could be fined thousands of dollars or sentenced to several months or even years in jail.
At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, our experienced Scranton fraud defense attorneys have successfully handled many cases involving fraud or embezzlement along with similar white collar charges throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Fraud and embezzlement cases can be complex. Don’t try to figure out how to resolve your case on your own. Make sure you have our legal team on your side, investigating your charges and making sure your rights are respected. Contact us right now.
What’s the difference between fraud and embezzlement?
Fraud and embezzlement are closely connected. The paper trail for both types of cases can often be extensive and difficult to decipher. However, there are many significant differences between these two types of cases.
Fraud frequently involves allegations of intentionally trying to deceive another person for financial gain. Fraud often involves activities ranging from making false statements to engaging in deceptive practices allegedly committed to persuade someone to invest or spend money on a fraudulent business venture.
Embezzlement charges often involve someone accused of taking money from an employer, another person or an organization where the accused handles financial matters. An important aspect of embezzlement involves proving that the person accused of illegally withholding assets for personal gain was the person responsible for managing such funds. Specifically, the person accused of embezzlement charges often legally has access to the funds in dispute.
What are common fraud and embezzlement cases in Pennsylvania?
- Insurance Fraud
- Bank Fraud
- Wire/Mail Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- False Identification
- Money Laundering
- Identity Theft
- Internet Fraud
“Why do I need a lawyer to handle my fraud or embezzlement charges?”
Depending on how much money you are accused of embezzling or acquiring through fraudulent actions, you could be sentenced to several years in prison. In certain circumstances, you might also lose your professional license and no longer be able to work in your chosen profession.
If you are represented by us, we can aggressively investigate the allegations against you. This includes carefully reviewing the prosecution’s evidence and conducting independent research to uncover the truth.
We know how to do this work because our legal team includes attorneys who previously prosecuted such cases, including a former, two-term District Attorney for Lackawanna County. You have rights. We can fight for them. Call (570) 348-0776 and schedule a free case evaluation. Contact Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano.
Insurance agents, agencies or insurers are sometimes accused of insurance fraud, allegations that involve people or companies knowingly trying to defraud someone or another business or government agency. This can include:
- Filing fraudulent insurance claims
- Rejecting legitimate insurance claims for fraudulent reasons
- Submitting insurance claims with incomplete or misleading information
Many insurance fraud cases in Pennsylvania are classified as felonies of the third degree, which are punishable by a prison term of up to 7 years and/or a fine of up to $15,000. But in certain cases, some insurance fraud claims are considered civil violations punishable by fines ranging from $5,000 for the first violation to $10,000 for the second violation and $15,000 for each subsequent violation.
This form of fraud often involves people accused of obtaining money or other assets from a bank through fraudulent actions. Such actions can include:
- Attempting to cash stolen checks
- Submitting false checks to a bank
- Attempting to deposit counterfeit money
- Pretending to be a business seeking money from a bank
- Pretending to be a bank and soliciting money from investors
Banks or other financial institutions are also sometimes accused of fraud. This is especially true of these financial institutions obtain money from investors through fraudulent means. In most cases, bank fraud is a criminal offense punishable by significant fines (sometimes in the millions) and substantial prison time.
Fraud committed using electronic communication devices including telephones, radios, televisions and the internet constitute wire fraud. Such criminal activity can include telemarketing scams or posing as a fake business to solicit funds through television ads, phone calls or emails.
Mail fraud is similar to wire fraud, except the accused individual sent a letter to someone in the mail in an effort to obtain money through false statements or posing as a false business.
Both forms of fraud are often classified as felonies. The penalties for these crimes vary, depending on the amount of money obtained and the number of people affected. In many instances, wire and mail fraud are considered federal crimes punishable by up to 20 to 30 years in prison and fines up to $1 million.
This form of consumer fraud often involves people accused of using stolen credit cards. That’s why many credit card fraud cases often involve accusations of identity theft. The charges can get even more complicated if the person accused of credit card fraud used the internet or telephone to make fraudulent purchases from a company located in another state or another country.
Credit card fraud also sometimes involves people who obtained credit cards through false means, including:
- Using someone else’s identity
- Making false statements
- Lying about their income or other financial matters
Allegations of people using false identification for financial gain have become increasingly common in Pennsylvania. Common criminal charges involving false identification include possession, manufacturing or selling fake forms of identification, including fake driver’s licenses.
When such allegations involve fraud or embezzlement, the consequence can be serious. Using false identification to open a bank account, obtain a loan or a credit card are often classified as felonies punishable by several years in prison.
Money laundering involves attempting to conceal money obtained through illegal means and then trying to transform that money into legitimate, legal assets. Large amounts of money are often involved in money laundering schemes, which sometimes involve RICO or racketeering violations and/or accusations of drug trafficking.
In order to be charged with money laundering, the government must demonstrate that the person laundering money obtained it through illegal means, tried to hide where the money came from and then deposited the money into a legitimate bank account.
In most instances, money laundering in Pennsylvania is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines or double the amount of money laundered. A defendant’s property and other assets are also often seized if the defendant is convicted of money laundering.
This criminal charge involves accusations of stealing another person’s identity to fraudulently obtain money or other financial assets. This sophisticated form of fraud has become increasingly common due to the increase of people’s identities being stolen online.
Depending on the charges filed against you, you could be fined thousands or even millions of dollars, as well as sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for this serious Pennsylvania white collar crime.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local law enforcement agencies often investigate claims of identity theft for financial gain.
Financial crimes committed using the Internet can have serious consequences. If you have been accused of stealing money or obtaining other people’s assets throughout fraudulent means on the internet, you need to take your charges seriously right from the start.
Some of the most common forms of internet fraud involve the following charges:
- Items not delivered purchased on the internet
- Credit card fraud
- Check fraud
- Internet auction fraud
The FBI investigates most Internet fraud cases. Federal investigators can be intimidating and delve into your personal life in search of evidence for their case. Such investigations can be exhausting. That’s why it’s critical that you have an attorney working for you who will make sure that your rights are protected throughout the investigation.