White Collar Crimes
Typically, a crime will be considered a “white collar” crime if it is a non-violent offense, typically involving the theft or embezzlement of money, although the term is also used to include other types of non-violent crimes as well. They are usually more complex cases and involve records such as bank records or credit card records. They generally are the result of larger investigations (including grand jury investigations) and, that being the case, are treated very seriously by prosecutors and courts.Types of White Collar Crimes:
- Public Corruption
- Credit Card Fraud
- Identity Fraud
- Environmental Crimes
- Gaming Offenses (Illegal Gambling)
- Insurance Fraud
- Unemployment Fraud
- Computer Crimes
- Larceny by Check
- Offenses involving “public employees” (such as accepting a bribe or a gratuity)
If you have been arrested or charged with a white collar crime, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately. Typically, if you have been charged, that means an investigation has already been going on for some time, sometimes months or even years. Once you have been arrested, the prosecution’s case is well under way. You need to ensure that your lawyers are working on your case right away. It is important to locate witnesses, documents, or other evidence helpful to your case immediately.What is the Court Process?
Unlike a typical criminal case, white collar cases can be prosecuted by many different state agencies or the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and take many different paths to court. A typical criminal case will be charged in a district court. Then, depending on the charge, the case may be indicted and transferred to a superior court. Some white collar cases will take this route and you may receive a summons for an arraignment in a district court. Unlike some other types of cases, however, white collar crime cases will oftentimes be “directly indicted.” That means, the case will not go to district court at all but, instead, will be indicted right into the superior court level. This occurs for a number of reasons. White collar cases will oftentimes be the result of longer investigations including the subpoena of documents and an involved grand jury investigation. Once a grand jury investigation is completed, there is no reason to apply for the charges at the district court level, and the charges can proceed directly to the superior court. Also, in some other types of cases, charges will be applied for in the district court even if the defendant will ultimately be indicted. This can be because it is a faster means of getting a defendant into court and off the streets where they may pose a danger. This is sometimes less of a concern in white collar crime cases and, therefore, the prosecutor’s office might be more likely to take their time and indict the case directly to the superior court level.
Once you are arraigned in the district court or superior court, the discovery process will begin. This is, typically, lengthier and more involved in a white collar case than in other criminal cases. This is because there will often be a significant amount of business records, witness statements, grand jury minutes, and other evidence that must be obtained and analyzed by your defense team.
There can be many different types of motions then filed in a white collar case including motions to suppress evidence, and motions to dismiss the case altogether. As in any criminal case, you have a right to a jury trial. There are many effective defenses that can be put forward in a white collar crime case that can result in a not guilty verdict.
Schedule your free phone consultation with a criminal defense attorney at Eisenstadt, Krippendorf & Galvin, LLP by filling out our confidential contact form or by calling 24/7 to get live help at (617) 523-3500 right now.What are the Penalties:
White collar crimes can carry the potential for lengthy jail and prison sentences. Also, oftentimes, a defendant will be charged with numerous counts or indictments. In these cases, each and every count can carry a jail or prison sentence and the sentences can be “stacked” on top of each other (this is called an “on and after sentence”).State vs. Federal White Collar Crimes:
Many times, in white collar cases, you can be charged in both state and federal courts for the alleged crimes. Which court you are charged or indicted in is a decision to be made by the prosecuting authorities.What Government Agencies Investigate White Collar Crimes?
At the state level, white collar crimes are going to be investigated and prosecuted by either the Attorney General’s Office or a District Attorney’s Office. Typically, each District Attorney’s Office will have a specialized unit dedicated to prosecuting only white collar offenses. The Attorney General’s Office will usually handle larger-scale allegations of white collar crime. The Attorney General’s Office has specialized unit each dealing with matters such as public corruption, insurance fraud, unemployment fraud, environmental crimes, computer crimes, etc. Each of these individual units will have numerous prosecutors and investigators assigned to it in order to investigate and prosecute specifically these types of crimes.How will I Know if I am Under Investigation for a White Collar Crime?
You may never know that you are under investigation until you get notice of an arraignment in the mail or the police show up at your door with an arrest warrant. However, sometimes, people will learn of an investigation in a number of different ways. The authorities may attempt to contact you to speak to you about the case, they may execute a search warrant at your home or work, they may interview your family, friends, or coworkers, and they may subpoena records or witnesses to a grand jury investigation. If you suspect that you are under investigation for a white collar crime, you should contact experienced lawyers right away.What is a Target Letter?
If you are under investigation, you may be given a “target warning” by the authorities. Even if you are the one being investigated (the target of the investigation), the authorities may still try to speak to you and you can still be subpoenaed to the grand jury. In some situations, you will be given a target warning so, once you are charged or indicted, it makes it difficult for you to claim that you did not understand your rights and, therefore, your statements should not be used against you. If you are the target of an investigation, you should know that you do not have to speak to anyone.What Should I do if I am Contacted by Investigators?
If you are contacted by an investigator about allegations that you have committed a white collar crime, you should contact experienced attorneys immediately. Any information that you provide to investigators, even information that may seem minor unimportant to you, can be used as evidence to build the case against you.Why Should I Hire an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney?
White collar offenses should be handled differently from typical criminal cases. Often there are effective motions that should be filed and argued in these types of cases including motions to dismiss. There are going to be large amounts of documents and witness statements that need to be analyzed. These types of crimes are complex, but can be defended against effectively with experienced lawyers.
All of our attorneys have successfully handled white collar cases with both District Attorneys Offices and the Attorney General’s Office.