White-collar crimes are criminal offenses that are committed by workers who are employed in the business or financial industries. Typical white-collar crimes include bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, money laundering, forgery and fraud. The majority of white-collar offenses are committed for monetary profit. However, businesses and professionals may be guilty of committing other offenses that are not explicitly for financial gain. Illicit activities such as the improper disposal of toxic waste or exaggerated claims about a prescription medication’s effectiveness are also categorized as white-collar offenses.
White-collar crimes are generally tried as felonies because the suspects are accused of violating federal laws. When a suspect is being investigated for a white-collar crime, he might receive a subpoena that requests documentation or his appearance in court for testimony. Federal authorities might also issue a search warrant for business records. While it is important and necessary to cooperate with investigators, a suspect should hire a criminal defense lawyer before he discusses the details of an investigation.
The Penalties for White-Collar Crimes
The occurrence of white-collar crimes have tripled since the dawn of the Internet. To deter the rise of white-collar offenses, the federal government enacted some very severe punishments. Individuals who are convicted of these crimes may face consequences such as:
- Time in confinement
- House arrest
- Heavy criminal fines
- Restitution to the victims
It is widely believed that those who are punished for white-collar crimes enjoy their sentences at “Club Fed” prisons, which are comfortable, minimum security correctional facilities. This is simply untrue. People who are convicted of white-collar crimes are punished just as severely as other criminals.
Civil Liability for White-Collar Crimes
In addition to criminal felony charges, a defendant may be sued civilly by the government or victims. In these instances, the government may authorize asset forfeiture. Asset forfeiture is the process of seizing the defendant’s property until it is determined which items were obtained illegally. The belongings may be handed over to the government or the victims from whom they were taken.
Defenses for White-Collar Crimes
A criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in defending white-collar offenses can offer legal advice and support to those who are facing charges. A white-collar crimes attorney can employ the following defenses:
- Incapacity: This defense argues that the suspect was not capable of committing the offense.
- Temporary insanity: The accused was not in his right mind when he committed the offense.
- Entrapment or duress: A defendant was coerced or enticed into committing a crime that he normally would never commit.
- Intoxication: A defense lawyer claims that his client was inebriated during the crime’s commission.
- Absence of intent: The defendant did not intend to commit the crime. In other words, he may have accidentally committed the offense.
Call Mario Madrid and his associates at 713-877-9400 if you would like to hear more about white-collar crimes and their defenses.