“White collar” crimes include a wide array of federal fraud offenses - ranging from lying to a federal agent all the way to embezzlement and public corruption - that are often but not always charged against business, government, and other professionals. They are crimes committed by deceit or lying for financial gain and usually do not involve the threat of violence or actual violence. Each federal fraud offense has unique elements, but all allege that you either lied or participated in a scheme to take something of value from someone else through deceit.
Why Hire the Stracci Law Group?
Although “white collar” offenses are usually committed on paper and typically do not involve physical harm, the outcome for you may still be very serious. In the past, defendants convicted of financial crimes were oftentimes sentenced to probation, but that is no longer true. Nowadays, government attorneys routinely seek prison time for those found guilty of financial crimes.
Defending fraud cases is not only complex, but also paper-intensive. Thus, your defense team should include not only aggressive federal trial lawyers but also other lawyers with the ability to review and understand a large amount of documents in a timely and cost-effective manner. The Stracci Law Group is comprised of both. The Stracci Law Group will work quickly, efficiently, and strategically to defend your case and preserve your future.
What types of “white collar” cases does the Stracci Law Group defend?
- Bank Fraud: Using illegal means to gather money, assets, or property owned or held by financial businesses such as banks.
- Bribery/Extortion: Bribery is offering, giving, or receiving money to influence the actions of a public official. Extortion, on the other hand, is one of the few “white collar” offenses that alleges the use of coercion or violence to take money, property, or services.
- Credit Card Fraud: Often associated with identity theft and computer/internet fraud, credit card fraud involves the unauthorized use of another’s credit card number or identifying information.
- Computer and Internet Fraud: Often associated with credit card fraud and identity theft, computer and internet fraud involves the use of the internet to commit fraud.
- Embezzlement: The unlawful taking or conversion of property or assets by a person in a position of trust.
- Lying to a Federal Agent and Perjury: It is a felony to lie to a federal law enforcement officer during an interview. It is also a felony to lie after being placed under oath at an official proceeding, like at a court hearing or trial.
- Misprison of Felony: Few people are aware that under federal law, it is a felony to fail to report or conceal the commission of a federal felony offense crime to a government official.
- Identity Theft: This includes theft and use of another’s personal identifying information (social security number or a credit card number) to gain access to financial resources. Due to the highly-publicized thefts of large batches of consumer personal identifying information, there has been a dramatic increase in the filing of identity theft charges.
- Mail/Wire Fraud: Mail and wire fraud allege the use of either the mail or wire services to commit fraud.
- Money Laundering: When proceeds of a crime are changed into legitimate money or assets, the government typically alleges the money was “cleaned” or “laundered” by disguising ill-gotten gains as legally obtained money or assets.
- Mortgage Fraud: Among other possibilities, lying on a mortgage application may result in being charged with a federal offense.
- Public Corruption and Honest Services Fraud: Crimes committed by public officials, including accepting bribes, stealing public funds, and campaign finance violations. Almost all public corruption allegations include charges of mail or wire fraud, money laundering, or tax evasion.
- Tax Crimes: Failing to file your tax returns or lying on your tax return to evade payment of federal taxes is a federal offense.
Why am I being investigated for or charged with a federal “white collar” crime?
The federal government prosecutes “white collar’ crimes committed both against the federal government and against another person or entity when the crime crosses state lines. A fraud committed against the federal government is pretty self-explanatory; it is fraud against a federal government agency or a federally funded program. Fraud against another by crossing state lines is a little bit more complex.
You might think you have to physically travel from one state to another to commit a crime across state lines, but under federal law, the fraud only has to affect or touch interstate commerce or, in other words, commerce between two different states. Nowadays, virtually all communication and electronic activity affect interstate commerce - using a cellular telephone or land-line telephone, computer, mailing a letter, shipping an item or package, faxing a document, sending a text, tweet, or an email, even posting an item on Craigslist and eBay - all have been found to affect interstate commerce. The courts have allowed federal law enforcement a great deal of latitude to involve themselves in matters that may not seem to be anything more than state court matters by defining these everyday activities as “affecting interstate commerce.”
Is your “white collar” case civil or criminal?
In some cases, the investigating agency may have the option to either file a civil lawsuit against you or your business or to seek an indictment for a criminal offense. While a civil lawsuit may result in a monetary judgment, a criminal conviction for a “white collar” offense typically means prison time. Whenever possible, the Stracci Law Group tries to get involved in our client’s cases as early as possible to allow time to try to dissuade the government from filing the most serious criminal charges, or perhaps from filing criminal charges altogether.
Am I facing prison time?
In many “white collar” cases, yes. Most federal fraud cases are serious felonies that can result in a lengthy federal prison sentence, payment of large fines and restitution, and forfeiture of your property. Judges use sentencing guidelines to calculate what your recommended sentence should be. Under the guidelines, the higher the financial loss, the higher your recommend sentence.
Moreover, the sentencing guideline recommendations will be based upon either the amount of actual or intended loss, whichever is greater - meaning if you actually stole $5,000 but intended to steal $50,000, your sentence will be based upon the amount of money you intended to steal. The guidelines may also recommend that you receive other increases to your sentence for the number of victims or whether you held a position of trust.
It used to be that judges had to impose whatever sentence was dictated by the guidelines. That is no longer true. Nowadays, judges may consider a myriad of other factors and impose a sentence that is more tailored to your individual characteristics. The ability of judges to impose a sentence lower than that set forth by the guidelines makes it more important than ever that you hire an attorney who is known for federal sentencing advocacy. The Stracci Law Group also prides itself in its federal sentencing advocacy and will work hard to develop and present the court with reasons why the court should mitigate or be lenient in imposing its sentence.
Schedule a Free Consultation about your “White Collar” Criminal Investigation or Case!
We want you to be confident that we are the best choice for you, so the Stracci Law Group offers free, comprehensive, and confidential consultations. Call (219) 525-1000 today to schedule a time to meet with us, personally discuss your situation, and learn more about our services, knowledge, and federal courtroom experience.