Being charged with a crime in Philadelphia can make even the strongest of people feel as if their world is collapsing. Wimmer Criminal Defense, the preeminent criminal defense law firm in Philadelphia, has put together the below guide to help you become acquainted with some of the terms you may hear as you navigate the…
White Collar Criminal Defense
In recent years, prosecutors in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation have turned their attention to identifying and prosecuting “white collar crimes.” White collar crimes generally refer to charges of unlawful acts committed by businesspeople and other professionals.
Potential penalties for white collar crimes can include prison sentences and large restitution payments. Furthermore, for professionals accused of engaging in fraud or other acts, such allegations can derail a career, provoke an ethical complaint or result in a loss of a professional license. For certain financial professionals, entrepreneurs, and other workers typically involved in trust and security-sensitive occupations, white collar crime allegations are especially damaging.
Lauren Wimmer is a trial-seasoned criminal defense attorney that will fight to protect the freedom and reputation of individuals accused of committing white collar crimes. Call for a free consultation today at 215-712-1212 to discuss the unique circumstances surrounding your case and the work we will do to reduce the consequences you will face.
Embezzlement Defense in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, embezzlement and certain types of fraud acquisitions are typically prosecuted as theft. Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3927 – Theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, a person can face a theft charge for embezzlement when he or she has a known legal obligation to make specified payments, but does not, and chooses to treat the property as his or her own. It is important to note that for government employees and employees of financial institutions, knowledge of criminal liability under this section of the Pennsylvania code is presumed. Likewise, financial and government employees are presumed to have dealt with the property as his or her own if he or she fails to give over the money when asked, or if an audit reveals that accounts were shorted or records were falsified.
Defense Against Identity Theft Charges in Pennsylvania
Identity theft is another type of ‘white collar crime’ that is charged somewhat often. However, due to the nature of the crime, misidentification of the perpetrator of the crime is possible. While identity theft can take many forms and is part of an array of scams, at its core, it involves obtaining and improperly utilizing the personal information of another person. As defined under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4120, identity theft occurs when a person “…possesses or uses, through any means, identifying information of another person without the consent of that other person to further any unlawful purpose.”
Thus, to be charged with identity theft in Pennsylvania, a person would need to satisfy these basic elements:
- Possess or use the identifying information of another person,
- Without the consent of the of the person,
- To further the commission of a crime or any unlawful act.
It is important to note that each time a person satisfies the above elements, that constitutes a separate offense. In other words, multiple identity theft acts will not merge into a single crime or criminal charge. However, the loss caused by each separate identity theft act can be combined for purposes of grading the offense. Thus, due to the nature of identity theft crimes, people can often face multiple serious felony charges.
Credit Card and Insurance Fraud Defense
Pennsylvania laws against insurance fraud are set forth in 18 Pa.C.S. § 4117 – Insurance fraud. Insurance fraud can be charged in a number of circumstances including when an individual knowingly and with the intent to defraud presents a false document to a government agency as part of an agency’s decision-making process. Other scenarios where insurance fraud charges may be charged include:
- Situations where an individual knowingly and with the intent to defraud, presents false documents or information to an insurer.
- Situations where a person knowingly and with the intent to defraud, conspires with or helps another person present misleading information in connection with an insurance determination.
- An unlicensed broker or agent who knowingly engages in unauthorized insurance activities with the intent to defraud.
- A person who knowingly benefits from insurance fraud.
Insurance fraud can be charged under an array of additional circumstances as well. In light of a renewed focus on healthcare and other insurance costs, insurance fraud is an increasingly common charge.
Credit card fraud is another type of increasingly common criminal charge in Pennsylvania. Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4106. Access device fraud. Credit card fraud can include acts ranging from creating fake credit cards to skimming the legitimate information of other credit card users.
The severity of the penalties you can face for credit card fraud changes based on the value of the property involved. At the lowest end of the spectrum, where property worth less than $50 was stolen, the act is a second-degree misdemeanor. However, $50 is a pretty low value, so many thefts will likely meet or exceed this limit. Furthermore, when the alleged value involved is greater than $500, then credit card fraud becomes a felony of the third degree.
If you have been charged, or are under investigation for, a ‘white collar crime’, it’s important to seek aggressive and skilled legal representation as early in the process as possible. Many of these cases involve large amounts of evidence and sometimes include testimony from ‘whistle blowers’. Contact Wimmer Criminal Defense or call for a free consultation at 215-712-1212 today. Learn about the aggressive action we can take to reduce any charges you might face as well as the associated consequences.
If You Have Been Arrested and Charged with any “White Collar” Crime
You need a criminal defense attorney that is trial-ready and experienced in the strategies surrounding disputing evidence and testimony who can take your case through trial, if necessary. Lauren Wimmer will personally fight for you.