Many people who are charged with crimes like fraud and forgery later say they felt like they were above the law, like they couldn’t get caught. Or they make the mistake of getting in over their heads financially, and make some bad decisions with under financial pressures.
This seems to be especially true for people who are accused of “white collar crimes” or financial crimes. Because they don’t typically involve any violence, people can fool themselves into thinking it isn’t really that bad of a crime. But once you are charged and you become aware of the penalties you face, everything changes.
Maybe you saw a chance to get ahead and didn’t think you would get caught. Perhaps, however, you maintain you are innocent of the charges against you. Regardless of the case, we may be able to help.
A criminal defense attorney is there to advocate for your best interests, whether you admit guilt and seek lenience or if you want to fight the charges to the end.
Pennsylvania Fraud & Forgery Crimes and Penalties
There are many laws regarding the different types of fraud. Some of the more frequently seen charges are listed here. If you are accused of any crime, it is always in your best interest to speak with a local defense attorney about the penalties you might be facing.
PA Forgery Laws & Penalties
Forgery is defined as altering the writing of another person without their permission, making or transferring any writing while purporting it to be the act of another, or uttering any writing which you know to be forged. This could apply where you sign someone else’s name to an important document or even have a friend sign it and then deliver it yourself.
The penalty you face for a forgery charge depends on what it was that was forged. Some forgery crimes are classified as 2nd degree felonies and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Others are considered 3rd degree felonies and carry up to 7 years.
(PA Code §18-4101)
PA Bad Checks Laws & Penalties
The writing of bad checks is one of the more frequently seen criminal charges in the state of Pennsylvania. This applies in situations where you write or pass a check that you know will not be honored by the bank.
The penalty you face for a bad check charge is dependent on the value of the check.
Summary Offense: You will face summary offense charges and up to 90 days in jail if the check is less than $200.
3rd Degree Misdemeanor: if the check is for more than $200 and less than $500, you will be charged with a 3rd degree misdemeanor and face up to 1 year in jail.
2nd Degree Misdemeanor: If the check in question is $500 or more and less than $1,000, you could be charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor and face up to 3 years in prison.
1st Degree Misdemeanor: You could face 1st degree misdemeanor charges and up to 5 years in prison if the bad check was for $1,000 or more and less than $75,000.
3rd Degree Felony: The highest grade of bad check charge you can face is a 3rd degree felony, and up to 7 years in prison. This applies if the check you write was $75,000 or more.
*If you already have similar convictions on your record for this offense, your penalties will be more severe.
(PA Code §18-4105)
Other Fraud Offenses
Other fraud offenses under Pennsylvania law include:
- Trademark counterfeiting
- Washing vehicle titles
- Insurance fraud
- Identity theft
- Using a recording device while in a movie theater
- Falsely impersonating privately employed individuals
- Fraud in insolvency
- Defrauding secured creditors
- Rigging publicly exhibited contests
- Commercial bribery
- Deceptive or fraudulent business practices
- Access device fraud
- Unlawful device making equipment
- Tampering with records
If you are facing any of the above charges, we may be able to help. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case in a free consultation.