White-collar crime refers to criminal acts of a nonviolent nature that are typically committed for financial gain. Some common examples of white-collar crime we see on a regular basis include fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, and forgery. Depending on the nature and circumstances in which the criminal acts allegedly occurred, white-collar crimes might be charged as state or federal crimes.
There is no question that being convicted of a white-collar crime can have far-reaching consequences. Such a conviction might ruin your prospects of finding a job or even mark an end to your career. It could cast a shadow over your credibility, have an adverse impact on personal relationships, and could impact your standing in society. If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, it is imperative that you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can spring into action and craft a solid defense strategy to help you achieve a positive outcome.
When Should You Contact a Lawyer?
When it comes to white-collar crimes, the best time to contact an attorney is as soon as you find out that you are being investigated. Early intervention is critical and absolutely necessary for a favorable outcome in these types of cases. When you retain the services of a knowledgeable defense lawyer even before the charges are filed, you significantly increase your chances of achieving a positive outcome.
This is because your attorney can locate witnesses and compile strong evidence that might succeed in dissuading the prosecutor from bringing charges. Our attorneys will also conduct independent investigations utilizing our own resources. This can help ensure that facts are gathered and presented in a coherent and convincing manner.
Types of Cases We Handle
Here are some of the most common types of white-collar crime cases we handle:
Bribery: This refers to a criminal act when an individual illegally gives another money, services of some item of value in exchange for something they would not have provided without the bribe. Under California law, both the person who gave the bribe and the individual who received it can be charged with bribery.
Embezzlement: This is a white-collar crime that occurs when a person unlawfully takes property that has been entrusted to them by someone else. While this might be referred to as employee theft in some circumstances, embezzlement under California Penal Code Section 503 PC could apply to any situation where someone is unlawfully taking entrusted property for one’s own benefit. Embezzlement may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount of property that was stolen and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
Extortion: Under California Penal Code Section 518 PC, the crime of extortion, which is also known as “blackmail,” occurs when a person uses force or threats to coerce another to give them property, money or other items. Extortion may occur against a public official as well. Extortion is often prosecuted as a felony and anyone who is convicted may face up to four years in county jail and a $10,000 fine.
Forgery: Under California Penal Code Section 470 PC, it is illegal to sign someone else’s name, copy someone else’s handwriting or falsify a legal document for financial or personal gain. In a forgery case, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed the forgery with the intent of defrauding someone.
Insurance fraud: This is when someone knowingly lies to obtain a benefit to which they would not otherwise be entitled. The prosecution must prove that the defendant had the intent to commit fraud.
Internet fraud: There are a number of different types of Internet fraud. One of the most common types of online fraud is phishing, which refers to acquiring or attempting to acquire information such as passwords, usernames and credit card details by impersonating a trustworthy entity. It is also illegal to steal someone else’s identity and to use the Internet to defraud other individuals for financial gain.
Mail fraud: Mail and wire fraud refers to any fraudulent scheme to intentionally deprive another of property or services via mail or wire communications. Mail fraud is often charged as a federal crime.
Money laundering: Money laundering involves engaging in financial transactions in an attempt to conceal the nature of the money being laundered or the original source from where the money was obtained. Often, money laundering is tied with other criminal activities such as racketeering or embezzlement.
Other types of white-collar crimes include mortgage fraud, tax fraud, insider trading, identity theft, health care fraud and workers’ compensation fraud.
Defending White-Collar Crime Charges
Being convicted of a white-collar crime can result in significant financial consequences for defendants and their families. You may lose your home, business or other assets in order to pay restitution or to alleged victims of a crime. An experienced California white-collar defense attorney will be able to engage the assistance of reputed experts to help conduct independent investigations and determine the facts of the case.
You are innocent until proven guilty. In any type of criminal case, it is the prosecution’s job to prove the charges. In a majority of white-collar crime cases, the prosecutor must show that you had the intent to defraud or commit the crime. If evidence to prove intent is not demonstrated, the charges must be dismissed.
If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, it is important that you do not offer any specific details to law enforcement officials. Don’t give statements to investigators without speaking with your criminal defense attorney. Don’t post any information about your case on social media or online. In fact, it would be in your best interest to deactivate your social media accounts until your case is resolved. Anything you tell investigators or post online can and will be used against you.
It is very important that you get an experienced California white-collar criminal defense lawyer early on in the process so your rights are protected every step of the way. In many of these cases, defendants’ reputations and livelihoods are at stake. Call the Law Office of Ashley Daniel to find out how we can help you.