Review of White Collar Crime Charges and Defenses
White collar crime is a broad term that covers a variety of non-violent offenses where the perpetrator has acted dishonestly in a situation for financial gain.
In other words, these type of crimes are unlawful acts that are deceitful and do not require any use of force threat of force.
Defendants who are arrested and charged with a white collar crime are frequently accused of some type of theft or fraud at the expenses of a victim, who claims harm by loss of money or property.
They make up the full span of financially motivated crimes committed by business and government professionals. White collar offenses tend to be deliberate acts that can be highly technical and complex.
As the name suggests, white collar crimes tend to be committed by the 'suit and tie' set, people in management, or skilled office work.
These perpetrators are often educated and affluent, distinct from the common public perception of a criminal.
White collar crimes in California are prosecuted by District Attorney's Office, local prosecutors, and even the federal government.
These crimes are treated very seriously, particularly if a defendant is found to have violated federal law.
The federal government has extensive powers and resources to investigate and prosecute white collar crime.
Our Los Angeles criminal attorneys are providing more detailed information below.
What is a White Collar Crime?
The following offenses are the most common examples of white collar crime:
Fraud: Fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain. There are many types of fraud, including 18 U.S.C. § 1344 bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1348 securities fraud, computer fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1343 wire, or mail fraud, to name just a few.
Under California law, losses of $500,000 or more in California result in an additional term of punishment of two, three, or five years in the state prison.
Bribery: Bribery under California Penal Code 67 PC is the offer or acceptance of something of value as a means of influencing an individual with a public or legal duty.
Forgery: Forgery under Penal Code 470 PC is the fraudulent creation or alteration of false writing.
Money Laundering: Money laundering under Penal Code 186.10 PC is the illegal process of concealing the origins of illegally-obtained funds.
Embezzlement: Embezzlement under Penal Code 503 PC is "the fraudulent conversion of the property of another by a person in lawful possession of that property."
Extortion: Extortion under Penal Code 518 is forcing an individual "to give up property through the use of violence, fear or under the pretense of authority."
Perjury: Perjury under penal Code 118 PC is the "willful and corrupt taking of a false oath" in a court or judicial proceeding."
Insurance Fraud: These type of crimes include Penal Code 550 submitting false insurance claims, and Penal Code 548 damaging or abandoning a vehicle for auto insurance fraud.
Other types of common white collar offenses in California include:
- Penal Code 496 PC - receiving stolen property,
- Penal Code 484e PC - credit card fraud,
- Penal Code 530.5 PC - identity theft,
- Penal Code 532 PC - theft by false pretense,
- Penal Code 532f PC - mortgage fraud,
- Penal Code 476 PC - check fraud.
White Collar Crime Investigations
White collar crimes can involve highly sophisticated, complex, and protracted machinations. Prosecuting these offenses requires careful and lengthy investigations.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) all investigate federal white collar crimes.
The state law enforcement authorities also conduct investigations into white collar crime that originates in California or negatively impacts local citizens.
One of these investigatory bodies could be investigating a suspect for weeks and months after the suspected offense occurred, without the suspect knowing a thing.
These lengthy investigations are somewhat unique to white-collar crimes. Therefore, as soon as an individual begins to suspect that they could be under investigation for a white-collar crime, it would be wise to contact a federal criminal attorney.
White Collar Crime Penalties
The penalties for white collar crimes are as varied as the offenses themselves.
Courts will consider the particular details of the case and the harm caused into account when sentencing someone convicted of a white collar offense.
In California, most of these crimes are “wobblers,” meaning the prosecutor can file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony.
However, penalties can include the following:
- prison or county jail sentence,
- summary or formal probation,
- house arrest and electronic monitoring,
- fines and forfeiture of assets,
- victim restitution.
Complex white collar crimes can involve several distinct violations.
If a suspect is charged with two or more felonies involving fraud or embezzlement of more than $100,000, they will face aggravated penalties, including additional prison time and fines.
A defendant will face far stricter penalties in the federal court system.
However, regardless of whether a suspect faces state or federal charges, convictions can have grave consequences on a suspect's business and career prospects.
Criminal Defense for White Collar Crimes
While each white collar offense is unique, some common defenses against these type of criminal accusations of include the following:
- lack of intent,
- entrapment by law enforcement,
- non-fraudulent statement,
- insufficient evidence,
- false allegation.
However, a defendant's challenge will depend entirely on the nature of the specific charge and the facts of the case.
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers will assess the case and recommend a way forward.
Whether you have already been charged with a white collar offense or suspect that you are under investigation, you should contact our law firm at once.
We might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or even avoid the formal filing of criminal charges through prefiling intervention.
You must not incriminate yourself by making statements to police or federal agents without legal advice.
Further, if you face federal charges, you will need legal representation trained and equipped to defend you in a federal setting.
At Eisner Gorin LLP, we specialize in the aggressive legal defense of all types of both state and federal offenses. Our lawyers can advise you on your legal options and guide your case to the best possible outcome.
We need to first closely examine all the specific details of the case to determine an appropriate strategy. Contact our law firm at (877) 781-1570.