Orange County White Collar Crimes Lawyers
Protecting the Freedom and Future of Those Accused in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino & Los Angeles
White collar crimes usually involve theft by deception. Lying and cheating, rather than physical force, are the tools of white collar criminals. Yet the difference between a lie and a mistake is often unclear. Law enforcement agencies frequently misinterpret honest intentions when a business deal turns sour. Innocent people are too often arrested and prosecuted for financial crimes on the basis of ambiguous evidence.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you shouldn’t speak with a Orange County white collar crimes defense lawyer about your case. These types of charges include a variety of different offenses that California prosecutors are eager to win convictions for. No matter your situation, if you have been charged with a crime, speaking with an attorney before divulging information to the police can save you from providing statements the prosecutor might use against you.
At the Law Offices of Randy Collins, we highly encourage people facing a white collar crime charge to obtain a consultation from an attorney they trust as soon as possible.
If you’ve been accused in Orange County or Riverside, our attorneys are ready to help. For a free consultation, call us at (844) 285-9559 today.
What Constitutes a White Collar Crime?
White collar crimes are nonviolent, financially motivated crimes. They are given the name “white collar” because they are often committed by business professionals or government officials rather than “blue collar” workers.
The two common elements that define white collar crimes are the absence of violence and the fraudulent gain of money. All of these offenses fall under a large umbrella known as fraud, which is defined as deceiving others for financial gain.
Types of offenses that fit the criteria for white collar crimes include:
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Computer crimes
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Internet fraud
- Money laundering
- Money-making scams, such as Ponzi schemes
- Mortgage fraud
In many cases, fighting white collar crime allegations is only part of the battle for a defense attorney. The offenses often involve professionals whose businesses license, careers, and integrity are on the line. When you hire our Orange County lawyers, we’ll be working toward a favorable outcome, such as having your charge reduced or dropped. We’ll also be behind the scenes doing everything we can to help you preserve your professional reputation.
The following are commonly committed offenses that we have extensive experience representing:
- Embezzlement: Embezzlement is typically a business-based type of fraud where an employee steals company funds for their own use. It can also be applied to professionals entrusted with client funds who use those monies for personal use.
- Tax Evasion: One of the most common examples of a white collar crime is tax evasion—concealing assets and earnings in an attempt to avoid paying applicable taxes. This could be as simple as forgetting to include income on your tax form or complex, involving the illegal transfer of property.
- Securities Fraud: This is the type of crime that put Martha Stewart behind bars. Securities are referring to the stock exchange market. Fraudulent behavior by brokers and investors includes using information unavailable to the general public to help them make trading decisions. Known as insider trading, proving this type of fraud is dependent on the perpetrator’s duty or obligation not to use that information for their financial gain.
- Forgery: California defines forgery as being the signing of an important document using the name of another of even a fictitious name. The signature would have had to been used as a method of defrauding an individual or individuals, usually with bank checks.
Sentencing For White Collar Crimes
In California, white collar crimes are subject to wobbler prosecution, and it is up to the prosecutor to determine whether the charge will be a misdemeanor or felony. Because the accusations involve the alleged theft of money from other individuals, they are subject to the same penalties as petty and grand theft charges. The major difference being that because the crime is usually committed multiple times, sometimes with multiple victims, each instance can be considered a separate count.
Misdemeanor charges of fraud start at 3 years of probation to 6 months in jail. A felony charge can be anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in prison. If you are facing 6 separate charges of felony fraud, you are potentially facing 18 years in prison.
In addition to time spent in prison, if you are convicted of a white collar crime, you will be subject to financial penalties based on each separate charge. You could also be ordered to pay restitution to their victims.
Prosecuting attorneys of white collar crimes also have the option of conviction enhancements. This puts the defendant in danger of longer jail sentences and higher fines.
The criteria for an aggravated white-collar crime include:
- A minimum of $100,000 in financial loss to the victims, and
- Convictions of at least 2 felonies in the one criminal proceeding that involve 2 separate victims, or
- One victim that was taken advantage of on at least 2 separate occasions
Harsher penalties are imposed with an aggravated white collar crime conviction, including additional prison time and high restitution fines. The court also reserves the right to seize any property the defendant owned to ensure that the fines and restitutions are paid.
Criminal Investigations for White Collar Crimes
The police usually make a prompt arrest when a victim or witness reports a violent crime. By contrast, law enforcement agencies often spend weeks, months, or years investigating the commission of a white collar crime.
A variety of federal and state law enforcement agencies may be involved in the investigation, including the FBI, the CBI, the SEC, tax authorities, postal authorities, and local police departments. Investigative techniques include conducting witness interviews, issuing subpoenas for banking and financial records, and compelling testimony before a grand jury.
If you are under investigation for a financial crime, anything you say or do might be used as evidence against you. Innocent people, believing they have nothing to hide, too frequently make the costly mistake of speaking to investigators. Law enforcement agents ask confusing questions that are designed to provoke incriminating statements. Your words may be twisted or misunderstood. You should never agree to be interviewed without having a criminal defense lawyer by your side.
If you receive a subpoena to produce records or to testify before a grand jury, you should seek legal advice immediately. Grounds may exist to resist the subpoena. You may be entitled to exercise your right not to testify or to receive a form of immunity if your testimony is compelled. Our Orange County lawyers will ensure that you understand your rights and will advise you how to respond in a way that minimizes your risk if you are the target of a white collar criminal investigation.
Defenses to White Collar Crimes
We can help you fashion a defense that is tailored to the circumstances of your case.
Many criminal accusations of fraudulent or deceptive behavior hinge on:
- Whether the accused made the statement that the police believe to be false. Sometimes an alleged victim misunderstands what they were told by the accused.
- Whether the statement was actually false. Some statements are predictions, not assertions of actual facts. Other statements are true at the time they are made, even if circumstances change.
- Whether the accused believed the statement to be true at the time it was made. An intent to deceive is often a critical element that the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Whether the accused is being falsely accused. Often the allegations arise because someone wants to cause trouble or obtain revenge.
- Whether the accused was involved in the offense. In some cases, the person who is accused of a white collar crime is an unsuspecting “dupe” who is used as a shield by the real criminals. In other cases, the accused is a victim of mistaken identity. That can happen, for example, when another person uses the accused’s computer to commit a computer crime.
Every defense to a financial crime is fact-specific. A diligent investigation of the evidence is required before deciding upon the best defense. As an experienced white collar crime lawyer, Randy Collins is able to mount a defense that is best suited to the facts of the case.
How We Can Help
Unlike other criminal charges, avoiding jail time and penalties is not enough when facing a white collar crime charge. Being convicted could lead to the loss of your business license and credentials and your ability to work in your preferred field. Without a defense attorney working toward helping you avoid a conviction, your professional reputationand career can be destroyed.
White collar crimes not only require a criminal defense attorney, but they also call for one with extensive knowledge of this unique set of charges. You need a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in the laws surrounding white-collar litigation and fraud and who will be able to investigate your charges and find the right expert witnesses. This situation calls for an attorney who will use aggressive tactics to fight your charges not just to have them reduced but also to have them dismissed. This allows you not only to avoid harsh penalties and jail time but also to maintain your professional integrity.
At the Law Offices of Randy Collins, we’ve successfully represented several fraud defendants in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Diego and can provide the reputation you need to help stay on the right track.
Over 45 years of Collective Experience
Thousands of Cases Successfully Handled
Former Deputy District Attorney
Impressive Track Record of Results
Highly Respected by Peers and Clients
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Our hard work and dedication have created a reputation that precedes us, and you will need every advantage available when your freedom is on the line.
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