One of the scariest aspects of white collar crime is that you might not even realize you’re committing it. This type of crime is complex and nuanced enough that the federal government has set aside an entire law enforcement department to deal with it. Unfortunately, even if you don’t realize you’ve committed a white collar crime, you could face stiff penalties on both the federal and state level.
Forgery Charges in the State of Ohio
Forgery is the act of copying the handwriting of another individual – typically a signature – without authorization. If you do this on behalf of an elderly parent and a sibling later accuses you of not having your parent’s permission, you may be charged with forgery. Penalties are based on the amount of money involved and the victim’s status (the penalties increase if the victim is disabled or elderly).
- Forgery is a fourth-degree felony if the amount of money or property value is $7,500 or more but less than $150,000; the same crime is a third-degree felony if the victim is elderly or disabled.
- Forgery is a third-degree felony if the amount of money or property value is $150,000 or more; the same crime is a second-degree felony if the victim is elderly or disabled.
A fourth-degree felony in Ohio is punishable by six to 18 months in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. This increases to nine months to five years in prison for a third-degree felony, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. A second-degree felony conviction results in two to eight years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Stealing a Person’s Identity is a White Collar Crime
Identity fraud or theft is the act of taking someone’s personal information, such as a Social Security number and using it for your own personal gain. The gain does not necessarily have to be monetary, but it often is. The act must occur without that person’s knowledge or consent. Identity fraud is a felony under Ohio law; similar to forgery, penalties are based on the amount of money or property value involved.
- If the victim does not suffer a financial loss, identity fraud is a fifth-degree felony, punishable by six to 12 months in prison and fines of up to $2,500.
- If the fraud results in losses of less than $7,500, it’s a fourth-degree felony.
- Identity fraud is a third-degree felony if the victim suffers losses of at least $7,500 but less than $150,000.
- If identity fraud results in losses in excess of $150,000, it’s a second-degree felony.
- If identity fraud results in losses in excess of $150,000 and the victim was elderly or disabled, it’s a first-degree felony under Ohio law, punishable by three to 11 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
Identity theft can be either a state or a federal crime.