Don’t be fooled into thinking that you shouldn’t speak with an Orange County white collar 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 what your situation is, if you have been charged with a crime, speaking with an attorney prior to divulging information to the police can save you from a conviction. We highly encourage people facing this type of offense to obtain a consultation from an attorney they trust as soon as possible. The following information can be used to help better understand these types of offenses and a little more about what those facing charges can expect.
What Constitutes a White Collar Crime
There are two common elements that define this crime: the absence of violence and the fraudulent gain of money. All of these offenses fall under a large umbrella known as fraud, which are defined as deceiving a person or persons for a financial gain. Money laundering, embezzlement, and money-making scams such as Ponzi schemes all fit that criteria. Other examples include insurance fraud, tax evasion, and internet fraud.
In many cases, fighting these types of allegations is only part of the battle for a white collar defense attorney as these offenses often involve business professionals whose business license, career, and integrity are now on the line. While attorneys are working at having your charges reduced or dropped, they are also behind the scenes doing everything they can to help you preserve your professional reputation.
The following are commonly committed California offenses for which we have extensive experience representing:
- Embezzlement: Embezzlement is typically a business-based type of fraud where an employee is stealing 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—attempting to conceal 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 perpetrators duty or obligation not to use that information to his 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 southern California, these crimes are subject to wobbler prosecution where it is up to the prosecutor in charge of the case to determine if the charges will be misdemeanor or felony. Since the charges 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 since 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, whereas 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, individuals who are convicted of a white collar crime will be subject to financial penalties based on each separate charge and could be ordered to pay restitution to their victims.
Prosecuting attorneys of these offenses 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 amount 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 owned by the defendant in order to ensure that the fines and restitutions are paid.
How Can an Orange County White Collar Attorney Help?
Unlike other criminal charges, avoiding jail time and penalties is not enough when facing any type of white collar crime charge. Being convicted of this type of offense could lead to the loss of your business license and credentials and along with that your ability to work in your preferred field. Professional reputations and careers can be destroyed without the help of a defense attorney to avoid a conviction.
These offenses not only necessitate a criminal defense attorney, they call for one with extensive knowledge of this unique set of charges. You want 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 that can help avoid a conviction. 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 to also to maintain your professional integrity.
If you are facing this type of offense on your criminal record, call 888-250-2865 today to obtain a free case evaluation from one of our Orange County white collar defense attorneys. We’ve successfully represented several fraud defendants in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Diego and can provide you with the reputation you need to help stay on the right track.