White Collar Crime
Anyone can be pulled into a government investigation.
Business owners and professionals balance so many tasks to pay their bills, keep their employees paid, and provide for their families. They market products, manage output, and collect payments.
That all happens in a regulatory environment seems overwhelming at times. Even during the best economy, one mistake or wrong step could create an investigation.
As one former client put it, “nothing gets your attention like a call from an FBI agent!” It’s scary! We understand and can help.
How and why people become part of white collar criminal investigations is as wide-ranging as the potential outcomes.
- Some people are considered witnesses, like the CPA who prepared tax returns for the target of a government investigation.
- Others are subjects in an investigation but not a target. That does not mean she’s off the hook. Just that the government has higher priorities for the time being.
- Then there are the primary focus of the investigations or targets. These people will be indicted unless something changes the government’s focus.
Whatever the government’s priorities—anyone in any of these three categories needs an experienced criminal white collar defense attorney to help them navigate a government investigation.
We currently represent people facing all levels of scrutiny in government investigations of white-collar crimes.
The term “white-collar crime” is generally associated with non-violent violations of criminal statutes.
The statutes cover things like public corruption, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering.
These offenses include allegations of everything from complex financial schemes designed to defraud to common scams including the following examples:
Corporate fraud investigations often focus on accounting scheme designed to shield income or losses or redirect funds in a fraudulent way.
- False accounting or misrepresenting financial conditions
- Fraudulent trades to inflate profits or hide losses
- Transaction designed to avoid regulatory oversight
- Self-dealing by corporate executives raises suspicions and can be illegal. Activities designed to cover up self-dealing is another example of criminal conduct falling into the category of white-collar crime.
- Insider trading or using non-public information to gain an advantage in the stock market
- Taking money for personal benefit
- Using corporate property for personal gain
- Tax violations from self-dealing
Tax Evasion is any willful effort to avoid the assessment or payment of taxes.
While tax evasion is what many people associate with all kinds of tax fraud, the legal definition is a little more complicated. The statute defines attempted evasion of taxes as the willful attempt to evade or defeat the assessment of a tax and the willful attempt to evade or defeat the payment of a tax. 18 U.S.C. 7201.
Tax Fraud includes allegation that a person falsely concealed, executed, or falsified records.
One common allegation is that a person signed a document, such as a tax return, under penalty of perjury without believing the document was correct in every material matter.
Wire fraud is a common white collar criminal allegation founded on the use of interstate wire communications for fraudulent purposes.
To violate the federal wire fraud statute, a person must participate in a scheme to defraud with the intent to defraud through the use of interstate wire communications. 18 U.S.C. 1343. Violations may include telemarketing fraud, identity theft and other financial crimes.
Bank fraud is a white collar criminal offense that includes schemes to obtain money, assets, or property by a financial institution or obtain money by posing as a financial institution.
Health care fraud is a broad label that includes allegations of fraud committed by a range of characters, including individuals, medical providers, or anyone else accused of deceiving the health care system to receive unlawful payments or benefits.
Money laundering is an allegation that a person or entity uses schemes to turn illegally obtained money into money that appears to been generated by legitimate sources.
The illegally obtained money can come from a host of crimes including complex financial schemes, health care fraud, human trafficking, public corruption, or narcotics.
Environmental crimes are accusations that a person or entity, such as a corporation, violated an environmental law.
These provisions include willful and negligent environmental violations. Most crimes involve intentional acts classified as illegal under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Additionally, other federal laws regulate endangered species, hunting, and toxic pollutants.
State and federal government agencies investigate allegations of white collar crimes. Accusations can arise in criminal proceedings and civil, including administrative proceedings. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Office of Research Integrity are agencies with investigative and regulatory authority.
A number of factors bring a crime to the attention of the government including publicity, the extent of the loss, the position of the target, and discoveries based on other offenses. can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three). Today’s fraud schemes are more sophisticated than ever, and the FBI is dedicated to using its skills to track down the culprits and stop scams before they start. See our White-Collar Crime webpage for more information.
White collar criminal offense investigations create enormous stores of documents and data. That requires time, skill and resources to review and defend against allegations. Even where a person is not a target of an investigation, it may take days of document review to assist them in preparing for an interview or testimony.
The complexities and breadth of white-collar criminal offense investigations or prosecutions require the attention of someone trained in the details and nuances of white collar criminal offenses.
Almost anyone can be drawn into a white-collar crime investigation. That’s because investigators call on innocent bystanders as well participants into for documents, data and interviews. Anyone contacted by an agent should first speak to a white-collar criminal defense attorney before responding to the investigator. Even a well-intentioned person may come off as dishonest when discussing details of interactions or financial transactions that occurred months or years earlier.
The definitions of white-collar crimes are designed to be broad. The accusations include everything from everyday scams to complex financial transactions. For that reason, the investigations are common and pull in lots of people.
Allegations of white-collar crimes are usually non-violent. In addition, they often include multiple layers of documents and data. For those reasons, they are often considered with a different type of aggression and a slower pace.
Allegations of white-collar crimes may include conduct that spans many years. While a statute of limitations may apply in federal court, these statutes can be complex. Some don’t begin until certain triggering events designed to expand the limitations periods.
Financial documents, letters, emails, electronic data, testimony, video surveillance, and recorded statements are among the types of evidence utilized in a white collar crime prosecution. As you can imagine, the amount of information can be overwhelming at times. It is important to have the resources and expertise to digest massive amount of information in order to understand the story.
Call now. Let us put our experience to work for you