What is a Fraud Charge in Pennsylvania? | Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.
fraud charges

What is a Fraud Charge in PA?

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.
Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

Being charged with fraud isn’t something that many people experience. But what is it? Fraud is a white-collar crime, a type of crime that only makes up 3% of federal prosecutions each year. This means if you have been charged with fraud, you need an experienced defense attorney who knows how to handle fraud charges compared to blue-collar crime.

At Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the complexity of fraud cases and provide aggressive representation for individuals facing charges in Pennsylvania. If you have been charged with fraud, you need to contact us immediately so we can begin building your defense.

What is a Fraud Charge?

A fraud charge is given to people accused of intentionally deceiving someone or an entity for financial gain. In simple terms, it involves being deceitful to obtain money, property, services, and/or anything of value. Fraud charges can be brought against individual people, businesses, and/or organizations.

Types of Fraud Charges

Considering how vague the definition of a fraud charge is, there are various types of fraud charges in Pennsylvania, including:

  • Identity Theft: This involves stealing someone else’s personal information and using it. Knowing or even recording someone else’s social security number or credit card details isn’t illegal. It’s illegal once you distribute or use it, even if by accident. Such information includes their social security number or bank account/credit card information.
  • Embezzlement: This is the misappropriation of funds by a person or group of individuals who have been entrusted to manage those funds. It often occurs in corporate settings where employees have access to company finances.
  • Tax Evasion: This is an illegal activity in which an individual or entity deliberately avoids paying a true tax liability. It’s often done through dishonest tax reporting methods, such as underreporting income, inflating deductions, and hiding money and its interest altogether in offshore accounts.
  • Insurance Fraud: This involves making false or exaggerated claims to an insurance company to obtain money or benefits.
  • Securities Fraud: This type of fraud occurs when someone misrepresents information about investments, such as stocks, to deceive investors and make a profit.

Punishments for Fraud Charges

The severity of punishments for fraud charges depends on the degree of the offense. In Pennsylvania, fraud charges may be classified as:

  • A misdemeanor of the first-degree
  • A felony of the third-degree
  • A felony of the second-degree

Some of the potential penalties for these charges include fines, probation, community service, and imprisonment.

Defenses for Fraud Charges

Being charged with fraud does not automatically mean you are guilty. Various defenses can be used to fight against these charges, including:

  • Lack of intent: To prove fraud, the prosecution must show that you intentionally committed the fraudulent act. If your actions were unintentional or a mistake, this can be used as a defense. If your employer has set you to take the fall for fraud the company committed, it might fall under lack of intent.
  • Insufficient evidence: The prosecution must have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed fraud. If there is a lack of evidence or it is weak, this can be used to defend against the charges.
  • Entrapment: This defense involves proving that you were induced or coerced by law enforcement into committing the fraudulent act.

White-Collar Crime vs. Blue-Collar Crime

Fraud charges are considered white-collar crimes rather than blue-collar crimes. White-collar crimes are typically non-violent offenses committed by people in a position of trust or power, often for financial gain. On the other hand, blue-collar crimes involve physical force or threat of violence.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.

Fraud charges can have serious consequences, and it is important to have experienced legal representation to defend you. At Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., our criminal defense attorneys have a deep understanding of fraud laws in Pennsylvania and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and defend you against these charges. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.