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Pittsburgh Embezzlement Charges Filed Against Deceased Woman's Relatives

Pittsburgh Embezzlement Charges Filed Against Deceased Woman's Relatives


Relatives of an elderly woman who died two years ago are facing charges for Pittsburgh embezzlement.

As our Pittsburgh embezzlement attorneys understand it, three family members have been arrested and accused of stealing from their dead aunt's estate.

In Pennsylvania, the crime of embezzlement is considered a type of property crime. It's basically when you are charged with taking money or property that was entrusted to you, but wasn't yours.

A lot of times, we think about this law as relating to an employer. For example, if you work at a clothing store and keep a pair of returned jeans instead of placing them back in stock - that's embezzlement.

However, it can also apply to situations in which you have been placed in a position of trust with an elderly relative or, as in this case, his or her estate.

According to Allegheny County prosecutors, the aunt in this case died in 2010. She didn't have any children, but willed the contents of her estate, valued at approximately $135,000, should be divided among 24 nieces and nephews. However, in a court document, three of those relatives claimed there was no will and that there were only 10 nieces and nephews. Three of those relatives wrote checks for themselves from that estate that totaled about $95,000.

Other family members became concerned, and took the case to court. One of accused nephews admitted that he and his sister had a gambling problem, which is what led to their actions.

The penalties for embezzlement depend on the value of what was reportedly stolen. Certain kinds of property, it doesn't matter what the value is. For example, if you embezzle property or money during a disaster or if it involves a firearm, you're facing 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

That doesn't appear to be the case here. For theft of property that's worth more than $2,000, that's punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

If you are accused of embezzlement in Pittsburgh, your first call needs to be to an experienced criminal defense attorney.