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Pittsburgh man on federal probation now accused of counterfeiting

If a person has been accused of a nonviolent federal crime such as fraud, then it may be possible for that person to be released from police custody pending the trial. However, the general stipulation for remaining free during that time period is that the defendant must not leave the state and not commit any crimes.

A Pittsburgh man was recently arrested for allegedly failing to meet those requirements. The 28-year-old is a former bank administrator who was initially charged with white-collar crimes such as mail fraud, embezzlement and bank fraud. In particular, he was accused of stealing more than $2,440,000 from bank customers and defrauding computer customers.

Now the man is being held by authorities in Arizona for allegedly receiving and spending counterfeit money from Uganda. A federal probation officer claimed that the man also traveled to Nevada, Colorado and New Jersey, violating federal probation orders.

For defendants awaiting a federal trial, a major problem that comes with violating probation by committing a crime is that doing so can cause a judge to consider higher sentencing guidelines. In other words, if the defendant is convicted, then the penalties may include many more years in prison than might have been handed down if no additional crime was committed.

While it may be possible in some cases to convince a judge to deviate from federally recommended sentences, many judges adhere strictly to the guidelines.

Federal prosecutors take charges of fraud and counterfeiting very seriously. Individuals facing such allegations should speak with their attorneys before leaving the state or potentially violating any aspect of a probation order.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Former bank official arrested in Arizona on counterfeit charge," Rich Lord, Feb. 28, 2014

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