Skip links

White Collar Crime FAQ

Have you been accused or charged with a while collar crime and have questions about hiring a criminal defense attorney? You’ll find answers here to all your questions about the legal defense you have a right to. Simply click on the question you want the answer to below, and you’ll be taken directly to that answer.

If you need a criminal defense attorney now, please fill out our contact form at the bottom of this page. Now, here’s everything you need to know about hiring a criminal defense attorney …

Frequently Asked Questions

White-collar crimes are very common and usually both financially motivated and non-violent. Here’s everything you need to know about white collar crime.

man on trial
What is a white collar crime - man consulting with lawyer

What is a white collar crime?

White collar crimes are usually financially motivated and non-violent. It is called white collar crime because it’s usually committed by business and government professionals. They are usually committed by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust instead of violence.

The most common white collar crimes include:

What is the difference between white collar crimes and other crimes?

Perhaps the biggest difference between white collar crimes and other crimes is that white collar crimes typically do not involve overt criminal conduct. People who commit white collar crimes are usually professionals involved in legal businesses, and they may be respected in the community.

White collar crimes don’t usually involve violence, and they are almost always financially motivated.

What is the difference between white collar crimes and other crimes - man in suit with feet up on desk
who prosecutes white collar crimes

Who prosecutes white collar crimes?

Most white collar crimes are handled by the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security, therefore, they are charged at the federal level and tried in federal court.

Federal penalties and sentences are usually more severe than those given by Fresno County Superior Court. And since the stakes are higher, you want a defense lawyer who can give you that high level of support in handling your case. Fresno criminal defense attorney Mark Broughton has experience defending clients facing federal crimes, with 40% of his practice consisting of the defense of federal crime. Don’t just sit back and hope for the best if the federal government is charging you with a crime. Hire an experienced defense lawyer who will fight for you.

Will I receive leniency if convicted of a white collar crime?

Even though white collar crimes don’t usually involve violence, they are not victimless, and you shouldn’t expect to be treated with leniency if convicted of a white collar crime. Fines can be extremely high and are generally based on how much money was involved. Prison sentences may be extended based on the number of victims suffering financial harm from the crime.

However, in some situations, your criminal defense attorney may be able to get the court to grant some degree of leniency. Cornell Law School points out that “sanctions can be lessened if the defendant takes responsibility for the crime and assists the authorities in their investigation.” Whether this is advisable or even possible in your specific case is something to talk to your attorney about.

Will I receive leniency if convicted of a white collar crime - man sitting with cell phone in hand and coffee on table in front of him
What are some of the penalties for white collar crimes - business man in handcuffs

What are some of the penalties for white collar crimes?

The penalties for white collar crimes vary depending on the crime committed. Some are more serious than others and generally the more money that was defrauded the higher the penalty. In some situations, white collar crimes are prosecuted in Federal Court.

Some of the most common penalties include:

  • Imprisonment
  • High fines going into the thousands
  • Restitution to the victim and criminal forfeiture

Are there legal defenses for white collar crimes?

Yes! There are legal defenses for white collar crimes. Some of these defenses that an experienced criminal defense lawyer may consider include mistaken identity, false accusations, entrapment, and no evidence of fraudulent intent.

Each of these defenses may or may not be applicable to your specific case, so it’s always best to work with a defense attorney experienced in representing citizens charged with white collar crimes … someone who understands your situation and who will fight for you.

Are there legal defenses for white collar crimes - Mark Broughton criminal defense lawyer experienced in representing citizens charged with white collar crimes
How do you avoid jail time for a white collar crime - young business man walking outside looking at phone

How do you avoid jail time for a white collar crime?

Penalties for white collar crime convictions can include hefty fines and jail time. The factors that go into determining the penalties often include the amount of money involved, the number of victims involved, and the sophistication of how the crime was committed.

The best way to avoid jail time for a white collar crime is to avoid a guilty verdict in the first place. This is why it’s so important to hire a defense attorney with experience in handling white collar crimes.

What are the different types of white collar crime?

Most white collar crimes involve a federal agency — like the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), IRS (Internal Revenue Service), or SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) — and are tried in federal court. However, some may be handled at the state level.

The most common types of white collar crimes include:

If the crime crossed state lines, involved a federal agency, or if it involved the banking system, it is almost always considered a federal case and prosecuted in federal court.

Federal white collar crimes can include:

What are the different types of white collar crime - business man tucking cash inside his suit jacket
Which white collar crime is the most serious - scales of justice with man in suit looking at document in background

Which white collar crime is the most serious?

White collar crimes charged at the federal level are more serious than those charged at the state level.

According to Zippia, Rackateering/Extortion is the white collar crime that carries the highest average sentence (79 months), while Bank Fraud carries the highest fines (up to $1,000,000).

How common are white collar crimes - man in suit reading newspaper

How common are white collar crimes?

White collar crime statistics reported by Zippia show that identity theft and fraud have affected over 17 million Americans, with at least 24% of U.S. households having been victims of white collar crime. Over 35% of U.S. businesses have been affected by white collar crime.

Of all federally prosecuted criminal cases, only an estimated 3% involve white collar crimes. However, it’s also estimated that up to 90% of white collar crimes go unreported.

Do defense lawyers help with white collar crime?

Not all defense lawyers help with white collar crime, most of which is handled by either the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security and charged at the federal level. Mark Broughton is one who will fight for you if you’ve been arrested or charged with a white collar crime.

There are certain legal defenses for these crimes that can be considered, depending on the charges you’re facing. Common penalties for white collar crimes include imprisonment and high fines, so it’s important to work with a criminal defense lawyer who has experience defending people accused of these specific crimes and understands all the consequences you’re facing.

Do defense lawyers help with white collar crime
What types of crimes does my attorney defend

What types of crimes does my attorney defend?

This is an important question to ask when researching and determining which defense lawyer to hire. Not all attorneys defend against all criminal charges, and you definitely want one experienced fighting the charges you’re facing. For example, Mark Broughton is a criminal defense lawyer experienced with criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor DUIs to complex cases involving white-collar crimes, gangs, and murder charges. He has fought for clients in both state and federal courts, and he is currently on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys who are appointed to the most serious murder cases tried in Fresno County Superior Court.

Do defense lawyers help with fraud charges?

Fraud is considered a white collar crime, and not all defense lawyers help with fraud charges. Mark Broughton knows the legal defenses for fraud, and he does defend against fraud charges, including insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, check fraud, identity theft, forgery, mail fraud, and others. If you’ve been legally accused of fraud, it’s important to work with a defense lawyer with experience and the proper knowledge of fraud, because the penalties can include high fines and imprisonment.

Do defense lawyers help with fraud charges

How do I choose the best criminal defense lawyer?

There are literally millions of lawyers. Choosing the wrong lawyer might mean you end up in jail for a crime you did not commit. These steps will help you make the right choice.

Tell me about your case