White collar crimes are considered to be a variety of different types of fraud perpetrated by business – and sometimes government – professionals. They are distinguished from other types of crime by the fact that there is not threat of violence or physical force involved, but that does not mean that they are any less serious, or even that they are a victimless crime. When a person or entity is a victim of white collar crime, they can lose everything that they have. Businesses can be destroyed, life savings can disappear.
The list of white collar crimes that can be prosecuted is long. It can include:
- Health care fraud, including the theft of patients’ medical information to obtain reimbursement for services and goods not provided
- Mass marketing fraud
- Election law violations
- Fraud against the government
- Bank fraud
- Financial institution fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Securities and commodities fraud, including investment frauds promissory note fraud, broker embezzlement and market manipulation
- Corporate fraud, including falsification of financial information and self-dealing by corporate insiders
- Money laundering
- Mail fraud
- Public corruption
- Tax fraud
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Identity theft
- Intellectual property theft
In most cases, white collar crimes are prosecuted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In December of 2016 the FBI accounted for almost one third (31%) of all white collar crime prosecutions, followed by the IRS (13%), then the postal service (11%), and the Department of Homeland Security (10%).
White collar crimes are prosecuted in a variety of different courts, with magistrate courts hearing less serious misdemeanor cases and U.S. district courts seeing more serious cases. In the U.S. Magistrate Courts, the most commonly prosecuted white collar crime is aggravated identity theft, which represented 18.2 percent of all filings as a cited lead charge. This was closely followed by bank fraud and fraud by wire, radio or television. In the U.S. District Courts the top ranked lead charge was fraud by wire, radio or television, which was closely followed by mail fraud and then by bank fraud. Cases are also heard by judicial courts.
If you have been accused of committing a white collar crime, it is important that you select an experienced attorney who has a successful record of defending against these serious allegations. White collar crimes are generally pursued by either state or federal authorities depending upon the amount of loss that has been involved, the complexity of the case and the resources that are available to fully investigate and prosecute in a given situation. Whether you’ve been charged by either, to properly address your situation you must choose a lawyer who understands the complexities that accompany the charges you are facing. The attorneys at Bochetto & Lentz are those attorneys. If agents have come to your home or business unannounced you do not have to submit to an interview, though you do have to agree to a search if they have a search warrant. Call us immediately for knowledgeable legal counsel and representation.