An elderly Louisiana woman has been arrested on charges of forgery, felony theft and bank fraud. The federal charges arose out of a complaint filed by the woman's employer in May.
The 70-year-old woman was a bookkeeper at a business when her employer reportedly began noticing discrepancies in the company's tax returns and bank accounts as of February of this year. The business owner's complaint this past spring alleges that the woman illegally obtained monies by operating a fraudulent check cashing scheme. An arrest warrant was issued, citing theft of over $125,700 as well as forgery and bank fraud.
Forgery generally involves a false document or signature of an object of value. In order to qualify as a forgery, however, there must be intent to deceive or an attempt to commit fraud or theft. Generally, theft includes the unlawful taking of someone else's property without the owner's consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.
Due process protections require prosecutors to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If a prosecutor fails to prove even just one of the elements to that standard, no conviction is possible. In addition to a defendant attempting to cast doubt as to whether the elements have been met, common defenses to theft include belief of ownership or right, entrapment or consent.
Individuals facing federal charges, such as the woman in this instance, deserve to have the proper procedures followed in order to guarantee their rights have been met. An experienced defense can be important in making sure a defendant receives the rights the person deserves.
Source: KATC, "Tangipahoa Parish Woman Arrested for Fraudulent Check Cashing Scheme," July 30, 2014