The punishment for white-collar crime in Pennsylvania can vary depending on the crime type, severity, and the total number of offenses. Penalties can range between minor offenses with small fines of $75 to felonies that carry a punishment of fines of up to $25,000 and 10 years in jail. Some crimes can carry multiple charges. For example, insurance fraud can include identity theft and forgery charges, each carrying its own penalties.
Punishments for White-Collar Offenses in Pennsylvania
Here is an overview of the punishments for white-collar offenses in the state of Pennsylvania:
- Summary Offense: Can vary according to whether it is a first, second, or third-degree summary offense, but includes a fine of up to $250 and up to 90 days in jail
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor: A fine of no less than $250 or no more than $5000 and/or jail time of up to 90 days
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: A fine of no less than $500 and no more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years
- First-Degree Misdemeanor: A fine or no less than $1,500 but no more than $10,000 and/or jail time of up to five years
- Third-Degree Felony: A fine of no less than $2,500 and up to $15,000 and/or up-to seven years in jail
- Second-Degree Felony: A fine of no less than $5,000 and up to $25,000 and/or up-to 10 years in jail
Common Types of White-Collar Crimes
Here are a few of the most common white-collar crimes in Pennsylvania that violate PA Code Chapter 41:
Credit Card Fraud
Pennsylvania law makes it illegal to use another person’s credit card without permission or use a card that has been canceled or revoked.
Embezzlement is when a person who has been entrusted to handle money or property uses their position to misappropriate funds, such as when an employee or third party find ways to funnel money into their personal bank account.
A person can file for bankruptcy if facing insurmountable debt. However, bankruptcy comes at the expense of creditors who can only recover a portion of the debtor’s nonessential assets. If the person intentionally hides property when filing for bankruptcy, they can be accused of bankruptcy fraud.
Pennsylvania law defines identity theft as a person who uses, through any means, the identifying information of another person without their consent to further any unlawful purpose.
Extortion occurs when a person coerces another person or company into giving up money, property, or services.
This is a type of investment scam that promises high returns for little or even no risk. People use Ponzi Schemes to attract new investors in order to pay off older ones. The entire scam falls apart when new investors stop coming in, and there is no more influx of cash to pay off old investors.
Forgery refers to the practice of altering or fabricating any document for personal gain. This is a second-degree felony offense if the forged instrument is money, food stamps, stocks, or bonds. Forgery on wills, contracts, or deeds represents a third-degree felony offense.
How the Statute of Limitations Can Impact a White-Collar Crime
The statute of limitations limits the amount of time in which plaintiffs may file a claim. In most cases, federal crimes are subject to a statute of limitations that is five years. The United States Code Title 18 §3282 states that “(e)xcept as otherwise expressly provided by law,” a prosecution for a non-capital offense shall be instituted within five years after the offense was committed.”
It is important to realize that white-collar crimes—financial crimes—and federal crimes often overlap.
There is no limit to bring charges for serious crimes like murder, but lesser crimes generally have a statute of limitations between two and 12 years. Major offenses or conspiracy or solicitation to commit major offenses have a limitation of five years. Fraud of breach of fiduciary duty has a limitation of three years. Official misconduct has a limitation of eight years.
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Wants to Help With Your Case
If you or someone you love is facing charges of fraud, forgery, embezzlement, or another other white-collar crime in federal or state court, the team at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is here to help. We offer a free consultation where we can evaluate your case and help you understand your punishment for white-collar crime in Pennsylvania. Our team can also get to work right away, mounting a strong defense in your case, possibly challenging the prosecutor’s evidence or seeking to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today at (610) 680-7842.