White-collar crime charges are typically brought against business executives and government professionals accused of committing federal crimes like securities fraud, insider trading or embezzlement, and these crimes carry severe, life-changing penalties for convicted offenders and their loved ones. A white-collar crime conviction can put you at risk for imprisonment, fines, restitution, and other criminal penalties, in addition to potentially costing you your job, your professional licensing and even your personal relationships. And because of the element of deceit that is characteristic of these types of offenses, white-collar crimes carry a stigma that can follow you for the rest of your life, even if the allegations never lead to a conviction. If you are facing criminal charges for a white-collar offense like healthcare fraud, insurance fraud, mail fraud or credit card fraud, the most important thing you can do to protect your rights is retain the services of a knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorney who specializes in white-collar criminal defense. Contact Federal Criminal Defense Pro today to have one of our trial-tested white-collar crime defense lawyers review your case.
Seasoned White-Collar Crime Defense Lawyers
Although white-collar crimes are most often committed by finance executives and other people in the business world who have access to large amounts of money that belongs to other people, virtually anyone who illegally obtains money or assets through fraud can face federal charges for a white-collar crime. If you are suspected of committing a white-collar crime like mail fraud or securities fraud, you may not find out until you receive a target letter from the federal government or federal agents show up at your home or office with a search warrant for any evidence pertaining to the alleged crime. In complex white-collar crime cases, the government may investigate the criminal activity for months or even years before bringing charges, which is what makes these crimes so difficult to defend against. If you are under investigation for a white-collar crime like fraud, or you are facing charges for a white-collar crime in federal court, you need immediate legal assistance from an aggressive, criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience handling white-collar crime cases at the federal level. Federal Criminal Defense Pro is a premier white-collar crime law firm with a proven record of success defending clients against white-collar crime charges like fraud, extortion and insider trading, and our defense lawyers can represent you at any stage of your criminal case. White-collar crime charges can be extremely difficult to defend against, and the sooner you hire our criminal defense law firm, the sooner we can get to work on your case.
The term “white-collar crime” refers to non-violent crimes committed through the use of deceit, concealment or a violation of trust, for the purpose of unlawful financial gain. It was first defined in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation,” which is what sets white-collar crimes, also known as financial crimes, apart from “street crimes” like murder and manslaughter and other violent crimes. The white-collar crimes we hear about most on the news are embezzlement, money laundering and misappropriation of funds, but there are other white-collar offenses that can result in federal criminal charges, including the following:
- Wage theft
- Insider trading
- Wire fraud
- Mail fraud
- Income tax fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Identity theft
- Ponzi schemes
- Securities fraud
When are White-Collar Crimes Federal Offenses?
Although many states, California included, have laws in place that penalize fraud and other white-collar crimes at the state level, most white-collar criminal offenses are prosecuted at the federal level, typically because they affect interstate or foreign commerce or are committed against the federal government or programs run by the federal government. Wire fraud, for instance, is a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1343, which states that, “Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.” When wire fraud affects interstate or foreign commerce, meaning commerce between states or between the United States and any place outside of the United States, any person accused of committing the crime is almost guaranteed to face criminal charges in federal court.
Healthcare fraud is another white-collar crime that is generally charged as a federal offense. The federal statute that penalizes healthcare fraud, 18 U.S. Code § 1347, states that “(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice—
(1) to defraud any health care benefit program; or
(2) to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any health care benefit program,
in connection with the delivery of or payment for health care benefits, items, or services, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.” Under this law, if you are accused of defrauding any federal health care benefit program, you can face federal criminal charges.
Potential Penalties for White-Collar Crimes
Because of the significant financial losses white-collar criminal offenses typically cause, and the sophisticated nature of many white-collar crimes, these crimes are punished extremely harshly under the law. If you are convicted of a white-collar crime like mail fraud or wire fraud in federal court, you could face hefty fines and a lengthy prison sentence, and you may also be required to pay restitution to the victim or victims who suffered losses as a result of the crime. Unfortunately, because there is no parole in the federal criminal justice system, individuals convicted of white-collar crimes generally serve long prison sentences. In 2009, in one of the most high-profile criminal cases involving white-collar crime, stockbroker and investment adviser Bernie Madoff was convicted on 11 counts of money laundering, mail fraud, Ponzi scheme fraud, securities fraud, and wire fraud, and sentenced to 150 years in prison. The more complex and sophisticated the scheme, and the greater the financial loss that occurs as a result of the scheme, the more likely it is that the government will seek a lengthy prison term upon conviction.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines for White Collar Crimes
Criminal offenses prosecuted by the federal government are subject to the federal sentencing guidelines, which are a set of rules designed to give judges fair and consistent sentencing ranges to take into consideration when determining the appropriate sentence for individuals convicted of federal offenses. The prison terms recommended by the federal sentencing guidelines for white-collar crimes depend a great deal on the dollar amount of loss, the number of victims affected by the crime and the defendant’s criminal history, and any time a judge decides to deviate from the guidelines when imposing a sentence in a federal criminal case, whether the sentence is more severe or more lenient, he or she must explain the decision. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, if you are convicted of a serious white-collar crime, you could end up in the same position as a convicted murderer – serving a life sentence in prison.
Defending Against White-Collar Crime Charges
Allegations of white-collar crimes can have a devastating impact on your career, finances, reputation, and future, and unless you have a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer on your side who knows the law and the defenses available to you based on the unique circumstances of your case, you are doing yourself a great disservice. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, we know that no two white-collar crime cases are the same, and when you hire our firm, we will analyze the evidence the prosecution has against you, conduct our own investigation into the criminal charges, and use this information to craft a compelling and credible defense strategy that either explains your actions or presents an alternative version of events for the court to consider. If your case goes to trial, the only way the prosecution can get a conviction is by proving each element of the white-collar crime beyond a reasonable doubt. For the crime of mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), as an example, that means proving the following:
- You devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud, and
- You used the United States Postal Service for the purpose of executing or attempting to execute, the scheme in question.
When it comes to representing you at trial, the main objective of any good criminal defense lawyer is to raise reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors and prevent the prosecution from meeting its burden of proof. If your attorney can do that, you may be able to secure an acquittal and avoid a conviction.
How Our White-Collar Crime Defense Lawyers Can Help
Federal white-collar crimes are investigated by federal agencies like the FBI, the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office, which represents the United States government. Over the years, in an effort to stem the tide of corporate fraud, investment fraud, money laundering and other financial criminal offenses that it sees as a threat to the economy, the government has instituted increasingly harsh punishments for white-collar criminal offenses. In order to ensure the strongest possible defense in a white-collar criminal case, it is imperative that you retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling white-collar crime cases in federal court. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, we represent defendants in a wide variety of criminal cases, both at the state level in California and at the federal level in all 50 states, and we know what it takes to put together a winning defense in a federal white-collar crime case.
We know that a good defense lawyer is one who provides his clients with a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of their criminal case, their risk of conviction and the potential punishment they could face if they don’t succeed at trial, in order to help guide them towards the best possible resolution based on their specific situation. Attorney Daniel R. Perlman was previously a prosecutor for the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office and as a criminal defense lawyer, he has handled many complex cases for his clients. Daniel Perlman became a criminal defense lawyer because he believes that all defendants in criminal cases have a right to quality, reliable legal representation, and he works hard to provide his clients with the skilled legal counsel and aggressive defense they deserve. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, we are committed to protecting your rights and representing your best interests throughout the course of your case and that includes going up against the government in court if your case goes to trial. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified white-collar criminal defense lawyers at Federal Criminal Defense Pro, contact our firm today.
Consult Our Lawyers at Federal Criminal Defense Pro Today
Although the nature of white-collar crimes means the laws, evidence and testimony involved in these types of cases tends to be particularly complicated, these crimes are charged just like any other criminal offense, and defendants in white-collar crime cases have the same rights and protections under the law as defendants in other federal criminal cases. Because of the severe penalties associated with white-collar crimes, we encourage defendants in these types of cases to hire legal representation as early in the process as possible, to ensure that their defense is as strong as possible. With early intervention by a skilled white-collar crime defense lawyer, you can put forth a credible and compelling defense strategy in your criminal case that significantly improves your chances of a positive outcome. If you are under investigation for a white-collar crime or you have been indicted by a grand jury, your first course of action should be to consult our reputable financial crime defense lawyers at Federal Criminal Defense Pro.