Early last year, the government also used this traditional "blue collar" technique for the first time in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prosecution of 22 individuals: consensual tape recordings made through the assistance of undercover confidential informants. DOJ issued a press release when it filed the indictments.
Criminal defense lawyers are familiar with law enforcement's use of confidential informants and cooperating witnesses in the prosecution of organized crime, drug trafficking, and other "blue collar" offenses. In the past few years, however the use of these tools has been broadly expanded to investigations of securities fraud, tax fraud, and other traditional white collar crimes. It is clear that the prosecutorial successes achieved through the expanded use of these tools mean they are going to become the norm, not the exception. Lawyers can expect white collar cases to be less about the paper and more about the snitches and their tape recording.
A White Collar crime is usually committed by professionals, business and public officials. Most white collar crimes involve some form of theft or fraud for the purpose of obtaining money under misleading circumstances. The penalties for white collar crimes vary. Some individuals may be faced with a monetary fine, a prison sentence or a combination of the two.
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New York, NY
Melissa King, former administrator of the Sandhogs' Union employee benefit funds, was sentenced to six years in prison for embezzling approximately $40 million from the employee benefits funds she administered.
When facing any form of fraud such as identity theft, bank fraud, embezzlement, bribery, bad check distribution, conspiracy, money laundering, deceptive business practices, illegal gambling, internet crime or any other type of white collar criminal charges, it is mandatory to contact a highly experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
People often use the phrase “white collar” and when they do, it is usually associated with easy punishments or less harsh sentences. Don’t be fooled. State prosecutors will prepare the case against them with as much aggressiveness as they would any violent criminal offense.
Protect Your Professional Future
Anytime someone is charged with a white collar offense, their personal future hangs in the balance. They will potentially face very serious penalties and punishments. This goes for both misdemeanor and felony white collar offenses. The end result is often a criminal record, jail, a prison sentence and/or steep fines.
It doesn't matter if they have been charged with a state or federal white collar crime. Prosecutors have the highest burden of proof to demonstrate the defendant committed that crime beyond any reasonable doubts. So how does someone accused of a white collar crime obtain the best possible sentence?
Only a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer can make successful efforts to create the most effective defense in a manner that can guarantee the prosecution does not easily satisfy the burden of proof.
The Criminal Defense Attorney Can Negotiate Plea Agreements
With aggressive, experienced defense attorneys, often after a person is charged with a crime, charges can be dropped as a result of the defense attorney's negotiations with the prosecutor.
In more difficult cases, the prosecutor may agree to drop more serious charges if the defendant agrees to plead guilty to lesser charges. Other situations call for cooperation with an ongoing investigation to obtain greater degrees of leniency. It is the defendant, not the attorney, who will always have the final word on whether to accept or reject any plea agreement.
Much depends on the severity of the crime. Any defendant who is convicted may:
- receive probation
- have a fine imposed
- be ordered to perform community service
- be ordered to make restitution (pay back the losses caused by the criminal acts)
- be sentenced to prison
- or be sentenced to some combination of the above.
Very experienced white collar criminal defense attorneys know how to work with prosecutors to negotiate deals that will provide the best possible sentence, or the least severe punishment. If no deal is available, he or she will aggressively represent the defendant in court. The goal is always to prove to the jury that the prosecutor cannot prove beyond any reasonable doubts that the accused has actually committed the crime.
Find The Criminal Defense Attorney For the Best Possible Sentence
Anytime a person is accused of a crime, it is frightening and stressful. A charge of a "white collar crime" imposes extra stress. This is because the person's professional or business integrity is usually the issue.
The best thing to do to receive the best possible sentence is to immediately contact the most experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney, who specializes in white collar crimes.
What Exactly Constitutes The White Collar Crime?
The commonly used term "white collar crime" was first introduced by Edwin Sutherland in 1939. He delivered a speech to the American Sociological Society. In this speech, he defined white collar crime as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation."
Today, white collar crime refers to illegal actions generally committed in the business or professional setting that are designed to achieve greater financial gain. In general, most people understand that it sets the crime off from "blue collar" or "working class" crimes committed by less educated people who do not have as much access to bank accounts that can be manipulated.
Another term used to describe this is the term "paper crimes." This would include situations where the perpetrator uses deceit to obtain money, property or some other form of professional advantages.
Common white collar crimes usually include numbers of offenses such as mail fraud, securities fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy, tax evasion, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) offenses, or any other form of financial crime including public corruption and bribery.
If you are someone who has been accused of a white collar crime, call for the most experienced help you can find, immediately.
The fact is, there are still a lot of gray areas to many of the legal intricacies that businesses have to navigate, and this can engender an uncomfortable working environment. Do you really have something to worry about? Is someone, or some agency looking at some aspect of your actions with the possible intent of charging you with a crime?
A criminal lawyer is often best utilized when he begins his efforts on your behalf early in the process of any potential legal charges you may, or may not be facing. These are experts at getting answers, and then designing a plan of response that best protects your rights and interests. But, if you haven't actually been charged with a crime, how do you know it's time to talk to a lawyer?
Being Under Investigation
Oftentimes, someone first gets a sense that they are the target of an official investigation when they hear from a colleague, or friend, that someone from a government agency has contacted them with questions about your business, or you personally. These are frequently questions that are part of a routine investigation, and never go any further once certain information is clarified.
However, sometimes these contacts are the first warning signs of a looming legal threat. If a routine investigation is escalated to involve you directly, there are a number of typical ways that you could discover this. They include:
- You receive a target letter, or subject letter officially informing you that you are under investigation.
- You are contacted by a state, or federal investigator who wants to question you.
- You receive a subpoena to testify in-front at a grand jury investigation.
- You're presented with a search warrant to seize your business records.
- You receive a grand jury subpoena to produce certain business documents.
Once you are officially notified that you are under investigation, it is crucial that you talk to a criminal lawyer before you answer any questions, or cooperate with an investigation in any way. Many people feel that if they can just explain things to an investigator first, the issue will never get as far as your needing an attorney. Wrong. The fact that you are under investigation means things have already progressed that far.
The reason this is so important is that you can never retract any statement, or information you give to investigators once you've been informed of your rights. Without speaking to a criminal lawyer beforehand, you have no way to know what information to release, or even if you need to talk with the investigators at all. In some instances, a criminal lawyer can even have an investigation stopped before it requires your direct involvement.
Yes, dealing with an investigation of a possible white collar crime is unsettling. But arming yourself with the advice of a criminal defense professional is the surest way to knowing exactly where you stand, and what your next step needs to be. And that's the beginning of a return to peace of mind.