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Willoughby Theft and Fraud Attorney

Theft and fraud charges are serious allegations. The attorneys at Fortress Law Group have many years of experience defending clients like you.
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Theft and Fraud Attorney in Willoughby

A theft or fraud charge is not something to take lightly. If you are convicted, you face possible jail time and fines, not to mention a tainted reputation. However, just because you have been arrested for an alleged crime does not mean you can’t build a solid defense.

The team at Fortress Law Group has your best interests at heart and will defend you diligently throughout your case. We will review the facts of your arrest and discuss your options with you.

With the right Willoughby theft and fraud attorney on your side, you can gain confidence in the possibility of a positive outcome for your case.

Overview of Theft Laws in Ohio

Ohio law defines theft as knowingly obtaining or exerting control over someone else’s property or services. This can happen:

  • Without the owner giving consent
  • Beyond the express or implied consent of the owner
  • By deception, threat, or intimidation

Some common names for different types of theft are larceny, embezzlement, shoplifting, and extortion. Theft can fall into several categories, depending on the nature and circumstances of the alleged act. Consequently, the penalties can vary.

If you have a theft arrest, contact Fortress Law Group today to schedule a case evaluation with an experienced Willoughby theft and fraud attorney.

Theft Classifications And Penalties In Ohio

Some theft crimes are misdemeanors. This will depend on the value of the property the alleged perpetrator takes. Petty theft falls into the misdemeanor category. It occurs when there is less than $1,000 of property or services taken. The penalties for this charge include up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Felony theft will be the charge if a person takes more than $1,000 but less than $7,500 of property or services. It carries six to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $ 2,500. When the amount taken is more than $7,500 but less than $150,000, it is a fourth-degree felony known as grand theft. If the property is a motor vehicle or a dangerous drug, it can fall into this classification. A person found guilty of this may spend as many as 18 months in jail and could pay a fine as high as $5,000.

There are also first-, second-, and third-degree felony aggravated theft, which involve the taking of higher-value items. Prison terms can exceed several years and fines may be imposed up to $15,000.

An Overview Of Fraud In Ohio

Fraud falls under the umbrella of theft in Ohio law. The law defines fraud as knowingly deceiving another or causing another to be deceived by any false or misleading representation. Fraud enables theft and occurs when the perpetrator knows he or she is participating in this behavior.

In Willoughby and throughout Ohio, an allegation of fraud could come to someone who seeks to defraud a financial institution, credit card company, insurance company, or similar business/entity. Assuming a false identity, such as a police officer, also falls under this category. Fraud charges involving theft of items valued at $1000 or more are felonies and can bring penalties of six months to 11 years in jail, with fines up to $20,000. Fraud involving theft of items valued below $1,000 is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Contact Fortress Law Group today for a case evaluation to discuss your defense options.

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Why Choose Fortress Law Group?

Extensive Experience – Established in 2009, our firm has represented thousands of clients in various kinds of criminal cases. Our criminal defense attorneys make sure each client is diligently represented and protected throughout the trial.


Professional and Reliable – We value the trust and confidence each client gives us. The criminal justice system is complex, but we are dedicated to guiding you throughout the process to ensure your rights are protected.


Comprehensive Criminal Defense – Our team of attorneys is knowledgeable and up to date with all the relevant case laws and procedural rules in court and will ensure all your bases are covered.


Flexible Consultation Times – Facing a criminal charge is a serious matter. You must communicate with a lawyer as soon as possible. That’s why our communication lines – online and via phone – are available for clients to reach out to us at any time.

Possible Defenses For Theft Or Fraud In Ohio

One of the most common methods to defend against theft or fraud is to establish that you believed the property in question was yours, to begin with. An experienced Willoughby theft and fraud attorney can work with you to seek and review evidence that supports this position.

Another possibility is to prove that you were returning the property rather than stealing it. Under some circumstances, your attorney may claim that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the alleged incident, and that you didn’t realize you were taking someone else’s property.

In some cases, entrapment may have been at play in the incident. This occurs when someone induced or encouraged you to commit the act in order to prosecute you.

You Need An Experienced Attorney To Defend Against Theft Or Fraud Charges

Never underestimate the magnitude of a felony theft or fraud charge. A guilty verdict has severe implications for your future, and an experienced attorney can help you to prove your innocence.

Even if there are elements of guilt in your case, you still have rights. We can walk you through your options and identify ways to pursue the most favorable outcome possible.

Our team has experience working with clients who have been in your situation, and we understand the process of defending these cases. Let us be your advocate. Contact Fortress Law Group for a case evaluation today so you can have peace of mind and move forward with confidence.
We defend good people accused of bad things.

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Theft & Fraud

What penalties might I face if I get a theft or fraud conviction in Ohio?

A conviction of theft, burglary, fraud or another related crime in Ohio may involve heavy penalties. It calls for assertive legal defense by a skilled theft & fraud attorney.

The offense’s classification and potential penalties will depend on how much the stolen property is worth. For instance:

Petty theft: When the property is worth under $1,000, the charge is petty theft, a misdemeanor that may lead to a fine of $1,000 and 180 days of incarceration.
Felony theft: If the property is worth between $1,000 and $7,500, convicted individuals may face a felony theft charge, with potential fines of up to $2,500 and 6-12 months in prison.
Grand theft: Stealing property worth between $7,500 and $150,000 is grand theft, a fourth-degree felony. Convicted persons may pay up to $5,000 in fines and spend up to 18 months behind bars.

What are the pros and cons of a plea deal vs. pleading not guilty in a theft or fraud criminal process?

If you believe you face wrongful theft charges, your attorney may source relevant evidence to defend you against the accusation. In other cases, a plea deal might allow you to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and possibly even qualify for a diversion program for first-time offenders, which may help with record expungement.

Matthew C. Bangerter, an Ohio theft & fraud attorney at Fortress Law Group, can help you decide which approach to use in your legal defense and what outcome you might expect with either option.

Can I get a theft or fraud conviction expunged from my criminal record?

If you answer specific legal criteria, an experienced Ohio theft lawyer like Matthew C. Bangerter can help you get a theft or fraud conviction expunged, and your record sealed, even if you faced felony theft charges. This legal procedure, known as sealing of record, removes your conviction history from all public records. Expungement can help you start afresh and prevent past mistakes from harming your reputation, employment prospects, or housing options.

How can an Ohio criminal defense attorney help in my theft or fraud case?

Working with an experienced theft and fraud lawyer is the first step toward protecting your legal rights and minimizing penalties. Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter of Fortress Law Group, a former prosecutor with deep knowledge of DNA and forensics, knows how to choose the optimal strategies for powerful legal defense. Call his office at (440) 340-1740 in Cleveland Metro for a case review.

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Matthew C. Bangerter, Esq.

As a former Assistant Prosecutor in Lake County Ohio, Cleveland criminal defense attorney Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ. has experience with the strategies used by prosecutors to pursue their cases. As a member of the Ohio Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Board of Directors of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he takes his profession as a Cleveland criminal defense attorney seriously and ensures that he is up to date with the latest case law and trial strategies.

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Whether you’re charged with a DUI, misdemeanor, or felony, the prospect of facing trial is stressful. Worse, there’s also the possibility of jail time if things don’t go well for you in court. To help you face these legal adversities, you need an attorney who can work on an effective defense strategy and make sure your civil rights are upheld throughout the process. A Willoughby criminal appeals attorney at Fortress Law Group, LLC provides clients with comprehensive legal representation from trial to appeal, if needed.
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