Fight Charges or Accusations with the Help of a White Collar Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney
The term “white-collar crime” generally refers to non-violent crimes committed by professionals. “White-collar” refers to the color and type of shirt these professionals often wear. The consequences for a conviction of a white-collar crime can be significant. If you have been accused of or charged with this type of crime, contact Simmons Wagner, LLP now at (949) 439-5857 to request a consultation.
White Collar Crimes Generally Involve Monetary Losses
In most cases, a white-collar crime will involve monetary losses by a business, an individual, or a state, local, or federal agency. Common examples include:
- Bank fraud. Any act that is intended to defraud a bank of funds can be charged as bank fraud, including using a stolen identity to access someone else’s bank account, trying to pass stolen checks off as your own, and creating a fake business.
- Computer fraud. There are many ways computers can be used to defraud people out of money or property, including hacking, cybercrimes, and identity theft.
- Investment schemes. Certain alleged business opportunities and investments are illegal, such as Ponzi schemes. If a person promises a return on an investment, this can also be considered a white-collar crime
- Embezzlement. Perhaps the most commonly thought of white-collar crime, embezzlement involves stealing money or property from someone who has entrusted you with it.
- Blackmail. If a person blackmails someone within a position of power in order to demand money or other valuable items, this can be a white-collar crime. This type of blackmail often involves threatening to reveal secrets about a person in power.
- Credit card fraud. Using a credit card you are not authorized to use can be a white-collar crime.
- Bribery. Though it can sometimes seem as though bribery is a requirement in certain industries, it is against the law to offer, give, take, or solicit anything of value in exchange for the influence of a public employee or public official.
White-Collar Crimes Can Be Prosecuted at the State or Federal Level
Many people think that white-collar crimes are primarily (or only) prosecuted at a federal level. This is false. Depending on the specifics of the case, it could be tried in state or federal court. The reasons some are tried at a federal level is that many white-collar crimes take place in several states and involve complex evidence.
Federal prosecutors might also get involved if the monetary loss is large enough – that is assuming that the defendant has allegedly broken both federal and state law. Some of the charges most commonly brought in federal court include:
- Bank fraud
- Securities and commodities fraud
- Federal income tax crimes
- Bribery of federal officials
- Fraud involving federal money
A Variety of Punishments Can Be Assigned to a Person Convicted of a White-Collar Crime
There are many different examples of white-collar crime, and each of them comes with its own penalties. Depending on the specifics of the alleged crime, the amount of money allegedly involved, and the criminal background of the defendant, they could face misdemeanor or felony charges. Punishment could include:
- Incarceration in a county jail or state prison
- Significant fines
- Restitution to victims
- Loss of professional licensing
You Do Not Have to Take These Charges Lying Down – We Can Defend You in a Number of Ways
The best way to defend yourself and minimize the consequences of your alleged crimes will vary based on the evidence. Some of the ways we might work to help you include:
- Poking holes in the prosecution’s case. Remember that it is up to the prosecution to prove their case. If they have not sufficiently done so, we can identify errors and holes in their argument. Doing so could result in the case being dismissed or the jury coming back with a “not guilty” verdict.
- Proving you had no intent. It is generally the case that white-collar crimes are not actually crimes if you did not have the intent to commit them. For example, if you did sign a check in your bosses’ name, it is only forgery if you did so with the intent to commit forgery. If you simply mistook it for one of your own checks, then you did not have intent and should not be found guilty.
- Showing you did not know about the alleged crime. Many white-collar crimes involve many parties and organizations. It is entirely possible that unlawful activity was happening all around you and you were not aware of it.
- Offering evidence of coercion. If you were forced by someone else to commit the crime, then you should be found not guilty.
- Negotiating the best possible plea bargain. While the goal is always to see our clients get off without a conviction, in some cases there is simply too much evidence for that to realistically be an option. We will always be honest with you about this. In the event that going to court is not advised, we can negotiate aggressively for the best possible outcome.
If you believe that you are being investigated for a white-collar crime, you have been charged with a white-collar crime, or you have reason to believe you will be charged with a white-collar crime, we suggest you contact Simmons Wagner, LLP right away at (949) 439-5857 for help.