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Carbondale Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Law Blog

Arson investigation in Weatherly leads to other charges

Police investigations of major crimes often lead to the discovery of other crimes involving the same suspects. The two-year investigation of a suspected arson in Weatherly, has led local police to other crimes as well, including crimes related to drugs and explosives.

The fire in question occurred two years ago on a residential street in Weatherly. A surveillance camera captured images of two individuals setting a fire in a vacant house. The police suspected arson as the cause almost immediately, primarily because the fire spread so quickly.

How does a Breathalyzer work?

Most residents of Lackawanna County are aware that local police departments use a device called a "Breathalyzer" to measure the blood alcohol content of persons believed to be driving under the influence of alcohol, but very few understand how such devices work. While details vary depending on the model, most Breathalyzers operate on the principles outlined below.

Contrary to the expectations of most people, Breathalyzers do not directly measure the amount of alcohol in a person's bloodstream. That can only be done by taking a blood sample and subjecting it to laboratory analysis. Instead breathalyzers perform a chemical analysis of the person's breath and use that result to calculate the person's BAC.

Police seek arrest of contractor charged with fraud

Police are searching for a Lackawanna County man who is believed to have committed several acts of home improvement fraud. The suspect appears to have been part owner of a home construction firm several years ago, but police believe that he has recently been using fraudulent home improvement contracts to steal money from homeowners who thought they were hiring the man to perform various repairs.

A woman in Lower Saucon Township described her interactions with the man to police. She said that the man spoke to her about re-siding her home in March 2018. The woman paid the man $6,000 when the contract was signed, and she agreed to pay an additional $5,000 when the work was completed. Several months passed with no work being commenced, and the woman notified the police.

Disagreement about liquor ID becomes fight, robbery and DWI

Store clerks who sell liquor in Pennsylvania are required to ask for identification and proof that the customer is old enough to legally purchase intoxicating beverages. Ordinarily, the transaction is simple and quick, but a recent argument about showing identification turned into accusations of a fight, a robbery and a DWI.

The incident occurred in a store in South Scranton when three men were asked for identification before they could purchase beer.

Government contracts and state law

Working with the state government can be lucrative business for all different types of industries. When roads need to be built, the government will ordinarily have to hire a construction firm. Even in the office environment, governments will often rely on outside professionals to do important public work.

Because the business is so competitive, public officials who are in charge of handing out these contracts may find themselves being accused of cutting corners in order to favor the business of a family member, friend or a big political contributor.

Insurance fraud entails more than staging accidents

When people in the Carbondale, Pennsylvania, area think of insurance fraud, the first thing that comes in to their mind might be someone burning down their own house or staging a car accident in order to collect insurance money that, in reality, they want for other reasons totally unrelated to an accident.

However, insurance fraud is in fact a white collar crime that everyday citizens can find themselves accused of or even formally charged with. Once an accusation is made, it can be very difficult for a person to explain themselves, even if they are completely innocent or, at worse, were merely careless with how they went about filing an insurance claim after a legitimate accident.

Legal secretary charged with stealing $175,950 from employer

Many lawyers rely on their secretaries to handle accounting duties, including depositing receipts and paying bills. Secretaries in this position have frequent opportunities for self-enrichment, but most resist the temptation and follow the highest ethical standards. The recent arrest of a secretary who works for a Scranton attorney shows what happens when the ethical restraints are ignored.

In 2017, the lawyer discovered that his secretary had been allegedly stealing money since 2015. He confronted her with the suspected theft of $148,000, and she agreed to make restitution. For this reason, the lawyer did not report her to the police or fire her. Unfortunately, the woman allegedly continued to forge firm checks payable to herself. The checks were drawn on both the firm's general account and trust account.

Commissioners' ex-chief-of-staff charged with indecent assault

Fear of deportation affects the behavior of many immigrants who have recently come to the United States. People who are aware of this tendency frequently use it to prey upon migrants for their own purposes. One emerging example of such behavior involves alleged indecent assault and the former chief-of-staff of the Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners.

According to investigators, the man had a pattern of approaching young Hispanic men and making sexual advances. He was specifically spotted making advances to a Latino male in the P&R Discount Store in Eynon. Investigators have alleged that the man chose Latino men because their fear of deportation caused them to submit to the advances.

Mother and son charged with sex crimes

Women are charged with sex crimes far less frequently than men. Not surprisingly, when a woman is alleged to have committed such crimes, the circumstances can be highly unusual. Two recent arrests in Lackawanna County go a long way to proving the point.

Police announced that they arrested a 58-year-old woman and her 28-year-old son on a number of charges concerning sexual abuse of young girls. The alleged crimes first came to light when a seven-year-old girl, who is one of the alleged victims, told a social worker about the alleged sex crimes while she was being treated in the emergency room at a Scranton hospital. The worker immediately contacted the ChildLine abuse hotline, and a criminal investigation was launched shortly thereafter.

Legal resources for sex crimes charges

Sex crimes charges can be complex for a variety of reasons and can have a significant impact on the accused individual's future and freedom. Accused individuals not only face the potential consequences associated with the legal process but can also face potentially significant consequences related to a job or housing and in both their professional and personal lives.

Individuals who have been accused of committing a sex crime should be familiar with their legal protections and rights. They should immediately understand their criminal defense rights and options for facing the charges they have been accused of. It may be possible to challenge police conduct if it violated procedures designed to protect accused individuals, challenge the facts as asserted by authorities or present other challenges to mitigate the charges the accused individual is facing and the impact of those charges.

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