Attorney’s Office

Financial Crimes

There are several specific crimes that fall under the category of Financial or Economic crimes. These crimes almost always involve persons committing illegal acts for the purpose of a personal financial gain. These include Forgery, Identity Theft, Unauthorized Use of Credit Cards, Theft from an employer by an employee, Theft by use of a financial instrument, and Lottery Fraud.

Forgery

Forgery charges are filed by the Polk County Attorney’s Office when someone intentionally defrauds or attempts to defraud someone by use of a “writing”. A “writing” can include any method of recording information and often evidences an obligation of the person who has supposedly executed or transferred the writing; but can include instruments purportedly issued by the government, such as money or documents. This class of forgery is a Class “D” Felony. A person convicted of a D felony is subject to imprisonment for up to five (5) years.

There is a lesser class of Forgery which is an Aggravated Misdemeanor. A person convicted of an Aggravated Misdemeanor is subject to imprisonment for up to two (2) years. This lesser class of Forgery is charged when someone intentionally defrauds or attempts to defraud someone by using “writings” which purport to be documents evidencing, creating, transferring, altering, terminating or otherwise affecting legal relations; such as a contract, will or deed.

Identity Theft

Identity Theft charges are filed by the Polk County Attorney’s Office when someone fraudulently uses or attempts to fraudulently use the identification information of another person, with the intent to obtain credit, property, services, or other benefit. “Identification Information” can mean, among others, the use of someone else’s name, address, date of birth, telephone number, driver’s license number, social security number, bank account or credit card numbers, etc.

If the value of credit, property or services, etc. obtained or attempted to be obtained exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000) then a person commits a Class “D” felony. If it does not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) then a person commits an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Tips on preventing identity theft

Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card

Unauthorized Use of a Credit Card charges are filed by the Polk County Attorney’s Office when someone uses a credit card for the purpose of obtaining property or services with the knowledge that the credit card is stolen, the credit card has been revoked or canceled, or for any other reason the use of the credit card is unauthorized.

If the value or the property or services secured or sought to be secured is greater than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) then a person commits a Class “C” Felony. A person convicted of a class C felony is subject to imprisonment for up to ten (10) years. If the value or the property or services is greater than one thousand dollars ($1,000) but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) then a person commits a Class D felony. If the values of property or services is less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) then a person commits an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Theft (by Financial Instrument)

Theft (by financial instrument) charges are filed by the Polk County Attorney’s Office when someone presents a check, draft, etc. and obtains property or services in exchange for such instrument with the knowledge that the instrument would not be paid when presented. Such as when someone cashes a check on their own account knowing they have insufficient funds in their account to cover the check.

If the theft exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000) this is a Class C Felony. If the theft exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000) but is less than ten thousand ($10,000) this is a Class D Felony. If the theft exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) but is less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) this is an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Theft (by an Employee)

Theft (by an employee) charges are filed by the Polk County Attorney’s Office when someone takes property (usually money) from their employer. This is commonly referred to as embezzlement; however the Iowa Code does not use that term and simply refers to this type of crime as theft.

If the theft exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000) this is a Class C Felony. If the theft exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000) but is less than ten thousand ($10,000) this is a Class D Felony. If the theft exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) but is less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) this is an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Lottery Fraud

Lottery Fraud charges are filed when someone falsely makes, alters, forges, utters, passes, redeems or counterfeits a lottery ticket or attempts to do so, or commits or attempts a theft of lottery tickets with the intent to defraud. Charges may also be filed if someone influences or attempts to influence the winning of a prize through the use of coercion, fraud, deception, or tampering with lottery equipment or materials.

Lottery Fraud is a Class D Felony.

Contact Us

Polk County Attorney's Office
Polk County Justice Center
222 Fifth Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309

Phone: (515) 286-3737
Fax: (515) 286-3428
Email: ctyatty@polkcountyiowa.gov