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Pittsburgh employee indicted on federal fraud charges

Many white collar crimes are federal felony offenses that can result in lengthy prison sentences. In criminal cases involving financial crimes, evidence plays a crucial role. Evidence in financial crimes cases, including cases alleging fraud, is usually based on paper trail evidence that follows the flow of money.

The role of a criminal defense attorney in this type of case is clear. All evidence that is produced against a defendant must pass constitutional scrutiny. If the evidence was gathered in an unconstitutional manner, a defense attorney can use constitutional violations to have incriminating evidence thrown out of court.

Recently, a former employee of a Pittsburgh-area IKEA store was indicted by a federal grand jury on felony charges of fraud. If convicted, the 24-year-old employee can face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both.

According to the federal indictment, the 24-year-old man worked as a customer service representative at the IKEA store in Robinson Township. Authorities allege the man would access computerized customer records and change their records to show that the customers had returned items purchased from IKEA for a refund when the customers had not done so. The defendant would then allegedly transfer the refunded money to his own debit card account. Prosecutors allege the employee then used another employee's password information to make it appear that the returned items were returned to the stockroom.

Prosecutors allege the employee took more than $160,000 in this manner from January 2007 to February 2010. He is facing charges of wire fraud and computer access fraud.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "IKEA employee charged with fraud," Paula Reed Ward, 5/3/2011

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