White collar criminal activity traditionally refers to non-violent crimes usually involving financial wrongdoing. While the public perception of higher-profile offenses of this nature is that offenders seemingly get off easy, the truth is anything but for everyday citizens charged with these types of cases.
The number and the types of victims in these crimes can impact the severity of the offense an alleged offender is charged with. Additionally, it can also lead to longer terms of imprisonment and more significant fines.
Philadelphia White Collar Crime Lawyer
Have you been charged with some type of white collar criminal offense in Pennsylvania? It is critical that you immediately speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can begin investigating your case and building a strong legal defense.
Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm aggressively defends clients from Philadelphia County and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania against several of these kinds of charges. He can review your case and discuss your legal options with you when you call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Pennsylvania White Collar Crime Information Center
- What actions constitute fraud involving credit cards?
- How are embezzlement charges handled?
- What is involved in identity fraud?
- Which types of activity constitute insurance fraud?
- How might a person be charged with records tampering?
- What types of acts are considered forgery?
- How is the crime of writing bad checks classified?
- Where can I learn more about these kinds of crimes?
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 4106 criminalizes the offense referred to as access device fraud. In this statute, an access device can refer to any card, including credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards as well as account numbers, personal identification numbers, or any other means of account access that can be used to obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value.
This offense is defined as a person using an access device to obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value with the knowledge that it is either:
- Counterfeit, altered, or incomplete
- Issued to another person who has not authorized its use
- Has been revoked or canceled
- Is not authorized by the issuer or the device holder for use by the alleged offender
Depending on the value of the money, goods, services, or anything else of value, this crime can be classified as a second-degree misdemeanor, first-degree misdemeanor, or third-degree felony. An alleged offender could face up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Pennsylvania does not have a statute specifically referring to embezzlement, and this crime is typically treated as a form of financial theft. Unlike many common theft crimes in which an alleged offender is accused of stealing property that he or she had no legal access to, embezzlement involves an alleged offender stealing money or other goods he or she was entrusted to manage.
The classification of this crime depends on the value of the money or goods stolen and can range from a summary offense with a possible sentence of up to 90 days in jail to a third-degree felony possibly resulting in as much as seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines. However, embezzlement of specific types of property or embezzlement committed during a manmade, natural, or war-caused disaster is a second-degree felony that can possibly result up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
This crime is defined in Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 4120 as an alleged offender possessing or using, through any means, identifying information of another person without the consent of that other person to further any unlawful purpose. Each time an alleged offender illegally possesses or uses identifying information constitutes a separate offense.
Identify information is defined as any document, photographic, pictorial, or computer image of another person, or any fact used to establish identity. Examples may include, but are not limited to:
- Birth Date
- Social Security Number
- Driver's License Number
- Non-Driver Governmental Identification Number
- Telephone Number
- Checking Account Number
- Savings Account Number
- Student Identification Number
- Employee Or Payroll Number
- Electronic Signature
Classification of this crime depends on the amount of property or services obtained by means of the identifying information and whether the alleged offender has been previously convicted of this offense. Penalties may range from a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 4117, this crime involves an alleged offender knowingly filing false claims or statements with the intent to defraud a third party or assisting in the attempt to defraud a third party. It may also involve engaging in unauthorized insurer activity, illegally using another party's insurance, or for his or her own pecuniary gain, soliciting any other person to manage, adjust, or prosecute any claim or cause of action against any person.
This offense is classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Tampering with records or identification is classified in Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 4104 as a first-degree misdemeanor if an alleged offender, knowing that he has no privilege to do so, falsifying, destroying, removing, or concealing any writing, record, distinguishing mark, brand or other identification with intent to deceive or injure anyone or to conceal any wrongdoing. This is punishable by up to five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
This crime can also be classified as a summary offense if an alleged offender knowingly buys, sells, or moves in commerce any personal property from which the manufacturer's name plate, serial number, or any other distinguishing number or identification mark has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed. A conviction for this charge can result in a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail.
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 4101, an alleged offender can be charged with forgery if he or she, with intent to defraud or injure anyone, or with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, does any of the following:
- Alters any writing of another without his or her authority
- Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act, or to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed
- Utters any writing which he or she knows to be forged in a manner specified above
Depending on the specific nature of the alleged forgery, this crime may be classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, third-degree felony, or second-degree felony. Penalties can range from a presumptive sentence of five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
An alleged offender may be charged under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 410g if he or she issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, or knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money when the drawee is located in Pennsylvania.
The classification of this crime depends on the value of the money or goods stolen and can range from a summary offense with a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail if a check or order is less than $200 to a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines if the check or order is $75,000 or more.
Investigations Division – Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia — You can find more information about the city's special investigations, economic crime/government fraud, and insurance fraud units on this website. There is also a list of office locations, information about the District Attorney, and fraud alerts.
3 South Penn Square
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499
Identity Theft – Pennsylvania Treasury Department — This website provides information on reducing the risk of identity theft, steps to secure personal identifying information, and suggested steps to take for victims of identity theft. You can also find other financial education resources such as consumer alerts, quarterly publications, and tips and tools.
Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority — Information about automotive insurance fraud, health insurance fraud, homeowners insurance fraud, and workers' comp insurance fraud can all be found on this website. You can also learn more about fighting insurance fraud, reporting insurance fraud, and research into insurance fraud in Pennsylvania.
Find the Best White Collar Crime Lawyer in Philadelphia
If you are under investigation or have been arrested for any kind of white collar criminal offense, you will want to speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Joseph Lento has nearly a decade of experienced aggressively defending people against these types of charges in the Keystone State.
Lento Law Firm represents people all over Philadelphia County as well as many nearby areas in Pennsylvania. Call (215) 535-5353 right now to set up a free legal consultation that will let our firm provide a complete evaluation of your case.