While you may not cause physical harm to another person, white-collar crimes have their own severe punishments.

According to the FBI, “Reportedly coined in 1939, the term white-collar crime is now synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. These crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence. The motivation behind these crimes is financial—to obtain or avoid losing money, property, or services or to secure a personal or business advantage.”

Typically, these non-violent offenses are punished via federal law, though on occasion, Pennsylvania law may apply.

At Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. in Scranton, attorney Craig Kalinoski can assist in your non-violent offense such as bad checks, bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, illegal gambling, fraud, money laundering, mail fraud, casino crimes, property crimes, RICO, and computer crimes.

Fraud

Recognized by both criminal and civil courts, fraud is a broad term used to describe intentional acts to deceive another for monetary or personal gain.

Established by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Bortz v. Noon, 729 A.2d 555 (Pa. 1999), the elements of intentional misrepresentation are as follows:

  • A representation;
  • which is material to the transaction at hand;
  • made falsely, with knowledge of its falsity or recklessness as to whether it is true or false;
  • with the intent of misleading another into relying on it;
  • justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation; and,
  • the resulting injury was proximately caused by the reliance.

Writing Bad Checks

Sometimes a bad check can be a mistake if you have insufficient funds in your banking account. But there is a large difference between an honest mistake and criminal intent to pass off a bad check.

According to Sapling, the charges for bad checks range on the amount of money the check was for.

  • Check under $200 constitute a summary offense
  • Bad Checks between $200 and $500 are a third-degree misdemeanor 
  • Checks between $500 and $1,000 are a second-degree misdemeanor
  • Checks between $1,000 and $75,000 are a first-degree misdemeanor
  • Checks over $75,000 are a felony

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for fraudulent checks is two years from the time the receiving party has discovered that a check is bad and three years for felonies related to fraud.

Counterfeiting

When we think of counterfeiting, we often think of fake money. But counterfeiting also can relate to the reproduction of goods, as well as alternating between legitimate and illegitimate items. If you are charged with counterfeiting and have done so outside of the United States, you can still be charged with the act.

Under federal law, there are various penalties for counterfeiting. 

  • $250,000 and a prison sentence of up to twenty years for the counterfeiting of U.S. obligations and securities
  • Maximum of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the counterfeiting of foreign obligations and securities within the United States 

Forgery

Forgery is yet another form of fraud and occurs when an individual has the intent to defraud or injure another, or with the knowledge that they are facilitating a fraud which will be carried out by another.

Under Pennsylvania law, “a person is guilty of forgery if, with intent to defraud or injure anyone, or with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, the actor:

  • 1. Alters any writing of another without his authority;
  • 2. 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; or
  • 3. Utters any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified in paragraphs (1) or (2) of this subsection.”

Penalties for forgery range from:

  • Misdemeanor of the first degree is subject to a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • Felonies of the third degree are punishable by a term of up to 7 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $15,000
  • Felonies of the second degree are punishable by a term of up to 10 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $25,000

Illegal Gambling & Casino Crimes

Over the years, Pennsylvania’s gambling laws and regulations have changed drastically. In 2013, the state passed the Pennsylvania Local Option Small Games of Chance Act which permits “tavern games” such as tavern raffles, for a charitable or public purpose, and other chance-based games at qualifying establishments.

Forms of gambling not permissible by law include poker and roulette, which are charged as a first-degree misdemeanor in the Keystone State and are punishable by up to five years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines.

To learn more about the specific games of chance that fall under illegal gambling, visit the Pennsylvania State Police presentation, here.

You may also be facing charges of casino crimes which typically are thefts, cheating table games, and topping casino chips.

Money Laundering

Money Laundering is the concealing or disguising of financial proceeds by converting them into goods or other services. Typically, money laundering is done by transferring money from legitimate businesses for illegal purposes.

Under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. section 5111, money laundering occurs when:

  • The funds came from criminal activities and acted intentionally to promote or further those activities.
  • The defendant understood that the financial transaction would be made to conceal, disguise, or protect those proceeds and the action would continue.
  • The defendant acted to avoid a “transaction reporting requirement” set by state or federal laws.

If found guilty of money laundering, you may face a first-degree felony, resulting in a fine and or, imprisonment for up to 20 years. The court may impose a fine in an amount up to $100,000 or double the total value of the financial transactions involved in the offense. 

You can also face civil penalties for money laundering which may equal the value of the financial transaction or require a set fine of $10,000.

Mail Fraud

Considered one of the most common federal criminal charges, mail fraud is the use of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or a private interstate carrier to commit a crime of deceit.

If you are charged with mail fraud, you can face 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.

Computer Crimes

Pennsylvania law prohibits unauthorized activities that are related to computer hardware, systems, and networks. 

The types of online crimes include:

  • Unlawful use of computers
  • Disruption of service
  • Computer theft
  • Unlawful duplication
  • Computer trespass
  • Distributing computer viruses
  • Unlawfully transmitting electronic mail
  • Online child pornography
  • Online harassment
  • Online stalking

Property Crimes

Property crimes can vary in severity of penalties as well as action committed. These crimes are related to the destruction or theft of someone else’s property. 

Common types of property crimes include:

  • Theft
  • Larceny
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Shoplifting
  • Arson
  • Vandalism 

Because these crimes can range from lower-level offenses to high-level felonies, the penalties can range in severity.  

Bribery

According to Pennsylvania law, “A person is guilty of bribery, a felony of the third degree, if he offers, confers or agrees to confer upon another, or solicits, accepts or agrees to accept from another:

  • 1. any pecuniary benefit as consideration for the decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official or voter by the recipient;
  • 2. any benefit as consideration for the decision, vote, recommendation or other exercise of official discretion by the recipient in a judicial, administrative or legislative proceeding; or
  • 3. any benefit as consideration for a violation of a known legal duty as public servant or party official.”

There are four types of bribery you can be found guilty of. They are:

  • Bribery of a public official
  • Bribing a witness
  • Bank Bribery 
  • Bribery in sporting contests 

The penalties of bribery can be vastly different depending on the amount of money involved, how many times bribery occurred, and if violence or intimidation was used.

RICO

According to the U.S. Department of Justice archives, “It is unlawful for anyone employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.”

To understand what racketeering is, we first must unpack the word.

Racketeering occurs when an individual participates in a criminal activity which is considered a “racket” like extortion or coercion. A racket is when a criminal creates a problem for someone else, in order to solve the issues of their original crime. Such an example is kidnapping to gain ransom after a crime is committed.

In 1970, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) was enacted by Congress with the declared purpose of seeking to eradicate organized crime in the United States. 

However, you still can be found guilty of racketeering and face harsh penalties. The maximum sentence for racketeering is a fine up to $25,000 and up to 20 years in prison. You must also forfeit all business interests and gains acquired in the criminal activity.

Aggressive Criminal Defense From a White Collar Crime Trial Lawyer

As your advocate, attorney Craig Kalinoski is committed to protecting you in and out of court using his knowledge of the community, extensive knowledge of the law, tenacious negotiation skills and commitment through trial preparation.

Our goal is to achieve the best possible situation so you can put your legal concerns behind you and get on with your life. Call (570) 207-4000 or use our contact form today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case during a free consultation.

We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law to civil rights and personal injury.

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