Tough Defenders against Financial & Economic Crime Charges
If you are being investigated for a white-collar crime or if you have already been formally charged, LaHood Norton Law Group stands ready to help. Our distinguished legal team of former prosecutors has exceptional experience as trial lawyers who can provide effective representation in both state and federal courts. Having a team that will take your case seriously and fight hard for a positive resolution is your best weapon against the prosecution.
What are White Collar Crimes?
White-collar crimes are typically non-violent offenses committed for economic gain against individuals, groups, or the government. Depending on the circumstances, they may fall under state or federal jurisdiction and lead to life-changing consequences involving prison time, fines, restitution, probation, and a permanent criminal record.
Examples of Economic Crimes
The following are common white collar crimes:
Bankruptcy fraud: An individual can commit this crime in several ways. For instance, they might conceal their assets or provide false information on bankruptcy forms.
Cybercrimes: Offenses falling under this term involve the use of computers, computer systems, or devices connected to the internet. Several types of cybercrimes exist, including phishing, identity theft, ransomware attacks, charity or disaster fraud, and credit card fraud.
Embezzlement: A person commits embezzlement when they take company assets or property for their own gain. This offense is similar to theft but differs in that the person engaging in the conduct was, at one point, entrusted with the property they took.
Healthcare fraud: This crime happens when a person carries out a scheme to obtain benefits or funds from a healthcare program they otherwise wouldn’t be entitled to. For instance, a practitioner might bill for services they never rendered. Or a beneficiary might misrepresent information on official documents to qualify for benefits.
Identity theft: A person may be accused of this offense if they use or transfer another’s identifying information to further a federal crime or state felony.
Insider trading: This offense occurs when a person uses non-public and important information about a company to manipulate investors’ buying and selling decisions.
Mail/Wire fraud: Although these are included together, they actually fall under separate federal statutes. Still, they involve similar types of conduct. Mail and/or wire fraud occur when a person uses the Postal Service or electronic communications to further a scheme to defraud.
Securities fraud: This term covers a wide array of offenses that involve manipulating the financial market in some way.
Tax evasion: This offense occurs when a person misrepresents information to avoid paying their taxes. There are several ways this fraud can occur, such as by under-reporting income or over-reporting deductions.
What Are Individual and Corporate White Collar Crimes?
Various people can perpetrate white collar crimes. In some cases, they act individually and for their own benefit. This type of conduct is referred to as an individual white collar crime.
However, many offenses are undertaken to benefit companies as a whole. These are called corporate white collar crimes. Often, acts carried out in a corporate setting are done to make profits appear greater and losses seem smaller. For example, a company accountant might willfully and falsely enter information into the books to defraud investors.
Who Investigates White Collar Crimes?
The agency in charge of heading a white collar crime investigation depends on the nature of the offense. In some cases, the local law enforcement agency will be involved.
However, many white collar crimes cross state lines or country borders, which means they fall under federal jurisdiction. In these situations, depending on the conduct, one or more federal agencies will look into the matter.
White collar crimes can be investigated by:
The IRS Criminal Investigation Division
The U.S. Secret Service
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service
The Securities and Exchange Commission
Consequences of White Collar Crimes in TX
When those accused of illegal activity in an economic crime are professionals in business, particularly finance, or the government, it earns the label “white-collar” crime. Financial crimes and the government’s prosecution of them are not limited to Wall Street and corporate boardrooms. White-collar crimes can also be the work of individuals or small groups. Federal and state governments have enacted an enormous body of law regarding financial crimes, and it is relatively easy for people to run afoul of these laws without even realizing it.
Economic crimes account for nearly 10% of federal caseload and investigations. An economic crime is defined as illegal acts perpetrated by an individual or a group of individuals to secure a professional advantage or economic gain.
Because they’re typically financial in nature, white collar crimes can have severe economic impacts on individual investors and society as a whole. As such, investigations into them are lengthy and thorough, and prosecution is aggressive.
Substantial criminal consequences follow a white collar crime conviction.
Below are just a few of the penalties that can be levied in these types of matters:
Up to 5 years in prison and/or
Up to $250,000 in fines
Embezzlement of healthcare program funds:
Up to 10 years in prison (if the value of property is more than $100)
Up to 1 year in prison (if the value of the property is not more than $100)
Health care fraud:
Up to 10 years in prison
Up to 15 years in prison
Up to 20 years in prison
Up to 5 years in prison and/or
Up to $100,000 in fines if the defendant is an individual, or up to $500,000 in fines if the defendant is a corporation