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.
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Frequently Asked Questions
White Collar Crimes
- What is a white collar crime?
- What is the difference between white collar crimes and other crimes?
- How common are white collar crimes?
- Do defense lawyers help with white collar crime?
- What types of crimes does my attorney defend?
- Do defense lawyers help with fraud charges?
- Who prosecutes white collar crimes?
- Will I receive leniency if convicted of a white collar crime?
- What are some of the penalties for white collar crimes?
- Are there legal defenses for white collar crimes?
- How do you avoid jail time for a white collar crime?
- What are the different types of white collar crime?
- Which white collar crime is the most serious?
- What is restitution?
- What is a famous white collar crime case?
- Why is it called white collar crime?
- Why does the FBI handle white collar crime?
- Why is it difficult to prosecute white collar crime?
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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:
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).
What is restitution?
Restitution — often ordered as part of sentencing with a conviction of a white collar crime — is an effort to compensate crime victims for their monetary losses.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation explains that “when the court orders an offender to pay restitution, it is ordering them to pay back the damage caused, both to the state and to the victim(s).”
Cases where the court orders restitution as part of the sentencing include:
- When the victim’s financial losses are directly related to the defendant’s crime (such as theft and fraud)
- When restitution is needed to make the victim “whole”
- When the court considers it necessary for the rehabilitation process
What is a famous white collar crime case?
The FBI considers the Enron case (which started when the energy company declared bankruptcy in December 2001, taking the retirement savings of thousands of employees and stockholders after falsifying profits and hiding the company’s true debt) to be the most complex white-collar crime investigation in FBI history.
After a 5-year investigation, 22 people were convicted for their actions related to the Enron accounting fraud.
Other famous white collar crime cases include Al Capone’s tax evasion, Martha Stewart’s insider trading, and Bernie Madoff’s “Ponzi scheme.”
Why is it called white collar crime?
White collar crime got its name because these generally non-violent crimes are usually committed by white collar workers who take advantage of their position within a company or organization for their own unlawful financial gain.
Why does the FBI handle white collar crime?
The FBI investigates white collar crime because most of the cases involve some kind of federal agency (most notably the IRS and Securities Exchange Commission) and/or because they often cross state lines.
The FBI also has both the internal resources and the ability to work together with other law enforcement and regulatory agencies to handle what are often complex cases.
Why is it difficult to prosecute white collar crimes?
It’s difficult to prosecute white collar crimes because they are hard to prove. Evidence is often hard to obtain because of the sophistication of transactional record keeping and the ability to conceal unlawful activities. Identifying and proving specific individual liability also can be difficult.
What are some common defense tactics when defending white collar criminals?
There are legal defenses that can be used to fight charges of white collar crimes. Some of the common defense tactics include:
- No fraudulent intent
- Mistaken identity
- False accusations
- Lack of sufficient evidence
Is it hard to prove white collar crime?
Because of the nature of the crimes, it can be very difficult to prove white collar crime. These cases can be complex and confusing, and the evidence often is circumstantial.
And even though admittedly difficult to prove, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution in white collar cases just as it is in other criminal cases. They still have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Why is white collar crime rarely prosecuted?
White collar crime is rarely prosecuted, in part, because of the difficulty in gathering sufficient solid evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, it can hold a lower priority because there usually isn’t any violence involved.
Additionally, people accused of white collar crimes generally have access to better legal representation to protect themselves proactively.
Do people who commit white collar crimes go to different prisons?
There aren’t prisons specifically designated for people convicted of white collar crimes. If the case was tried in federal court, any incarceration will be carried out in federal prison, with a few exceptions.
Sometimes people convicted of white collar crimes are sentenced to minimum security facilities, but this isn’t always the case.
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.
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.
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.