White Collar Crimes
Corporations, business executives, and public officials are subject to increasingly intense regulations and government enforcement. Individuals accused of a white collar crime often have had no previous experience with the criminal justice system and can be caught off guard by the implication that they have done something illegal.
If you are under investigation or have been arrested and/or charged with a white collar crime, you need to act immediately to retain an experienced white collar crime defense attorney. Your career, reputation, integrity and freedom are all at stake.
What is a White Collar Crime?
White collar crimes refers to a broad range of illegal acts that are generally committed in a business or professional setting by those who wear a “white collar” and involves using deceit to obtain money, property or some other unfair financial advantage.
Even though these crimes are non-violent in nature, they carry extremely harsh penalties such as a prison sentence, monetary fine, and probation. In addition to criminal penalties, many white collar offenses may give rise to civil lawsuits brought either by the federal or state government, or by the victims of the offense.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be charged in either state or federal court, however the majority of white collar cases are likely to be tried in federal court. Federal prosecutors (also known as Assistant United States Attorneys) work in tandem with federal agents from a variety of federal regulatory bodies including the FBI, IRS, and SEC.
The federal government has enormous resources at its disposal when conducting an investigation. A federal prosecutor may use a grand jury to investigate and gather information. This is a group of 16 to 23 citizens who can subpoena individuals to appear before them in order to answer questions or turn over key documents.
Taking on the government is no easy task and demands a great deal of experience to defend successfully. A white collar crime charge requires an attorney that has practiced in federal court and who has the capability and sophistication to handle complex financial information and long “paper trails.”
Are You Under Investigation?
It’s possible that may not even be aware that you are the target of a criminal investigation until you are subpoenaed for documents or receive a notification letter from the Department of Justice. As soon as you have been contacted by agents of the state or federal government concerning a white collar crime, it’s critical that you get a white collar crime defense attorney on your side.
A white collar crimes lawyer can “get ahead” of the investigation by responding to a federal grand jury subpoena on your behalf. They can interview witnesses early and make contact with the prosecutor to begin a dialogue concerning the investigation and potential outcomes.
Government Agencies & Regulatory Bodies Involved in Conducting White Collar Crime Investigations
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Department of Labor
- Small Business Admin
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
Potential Repercussions for White Collar Crimes
- Fines and
- Restitution/repayment of stolen funds or damages to alleged victim
- House arrest
- Asset Forfeiture
Types of White Collar Crimes
- identity theft
- credit card fraud
- bank fraud
- insurance fraud,
- healthcare fraud
- tax fraud
- welfare fraud
- securities and accounting fraud
- Insider Trading
- Money Laundering
- Violations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
- Racketeering (RICO)
Potential Defense Strategies for White Collar Crime
Every case is different and requires a strategy tailored to the specific needs of the client. Your attorney will exhaust all possible defense strategies to get the charges against you dropped or reduced, or to minimize the consequences you face.
Here are a few potential defense strategies often used in white collar crime cases
- Source the money
- Lack of Intent
- Lack of Knowledge (unaware that unlawful activity was occurring)
- Plea Bargain