Pennsylvania’s statutes provide a grading system to classify an offense as a misdemeanor or felony. As noted on the Pennsylvania General Assembly website, when pursuing fraud allegations, prosecutors review the value of goods or services defendants allegedly received.
Access device fraud, for example, involves the unauthorized use of a mobile phone to obtain property or services. If the device’s use results in a financial gain worth between $50 and $500, it may lead to a misdemeanor charge. Defendants could, however, face felony charges if the value exceeds $500.
A returned check may become a misdemeanor or felony offense
Individuals may face fraud allegations if their checks “bounce” or do not clear from the bank because of insufficient funds. Using a check to pay for goods or services valued between $200 and less than $75,000 may result in misdemeanor charges if the bank refuses payment.
If an account balance cannot cover a check written for at least $75,000, the account’s owner may face a third-degree felony offense. Allegations of fraud may, for example, result from paying for a home’s down payment or remodeling services with a check that a bank refuses to cash.
Insurance claims could result in fraud charges
As noted on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website, insurance fraud is the most common white-collar offense in the United States. Individuals could find themselves facing allegations of fraud by submitting questionable health care claims to insurance carriers. Workplace accidents, for example, may lead to allegations of workers’ compensation insurance fraud if medical records do not match the severity of the accident.
Regardless of the type of offense, the value of the gain or benefit allegedly obtained could determine how prosecutors file fraud charges. Defendants may, however, counter prosecutors’ claims by presenting relevant evidence to the court.