White collar crimes comprise an array of non-violent, financially motivated criminal offenses. Typically, these types of crimes involve business professionals, as well as government officials, hence the term “white collar.” Such offenses are considered very serious by the courts and, accordingly, a conviction for a white collar crime carries harsh penalties.
If you have been charged with or are even under investigation for a white collar crime, contact Monroe & King, P.A. right away. Our Jacksonville white collar crime attorneys can help you develop a personalized defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. We are committed to tirelessly fighting to protect your rights.
Examples of White Collar Crimes
As previously mentioned, a variety of offenses fall under the umbrella of “white collar” crimes. The penalties vary, depending on the nature of the offense, as well as various other factors, including the existence of prior convictions, aggravating factors, and more.
Some examples of common white collar crimes include:
- Embezzlement: Embezzlement occurs when someone entrusted with a company's assets or property unlawfully takes it for their own or another's personal gain. The crime is distinguished from theft in that a person who embezzles at one time was lawfully given the item they took but misappropriated it. Theft, on the other hand, is when someone purloins something that was never in their possession.
- Racketeering: Racketeering involves the use of unlawfully derived proceeds to use, invest, or participate in any criminal enterprise. At the federal level, racketeering activity includes a range of offenses, such as murder, kidnapping, robbery, arson, and bribery.
- Mail or wire fraud: Mail and wire fraud refer to using some means to transmit information pertaining to a scheme to defraud. Federal law has a separate statute for each offense, which distinguishes them by how they are committed. Mail fraud occurs when a person uses the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier to further the scheme, whereas wire fraud is when a person uses electronic communication, such as texts or social media messages, to engage in the conduct. The two offenses are often prosecuted in conjunction with other crimes, such as identity theft.
- Money laundering: A person may be accused of money laundering if they knowingly engage in activity to hide the source of ill-gotten gains or to avoid reporting requirements. Essentially, they clean or launder the money by placing it into the financial system, layering it through a series of transactions, and integrating the now seemingly legitimate funds back into the system.
- Ponzi schemes: In Ponzi schemes, investors are promised high rates of return with little risk. Essentially, earlier investors are paid with the fees given by newer investors. To continue and fund the illegitimate enterprise, new members are constantly being recruited.
- Securities fraud: Securities fraud occurs when a person attempts to manipulate the financial markets by influencing investors' buying and selling decisions. The alleged offender may provide misinformation, omit material facts, or offer bad advice.
- Investment fraud: Investment fraud involves the use of deception to affect investment decisions. This is an umbrella term for various types of conduct and practices, including advance fee fraud, Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and pump and dump schemes.
- Accounting fraud: Typically, accounting fraud is committed by an organization's employees or accountants. The offender manipulates financial records, such as not reporting expenses, to make it appear as if the company is making more revenue than it actually is. Such schemes affect decisions made by investors and shareholders.
- Theft: Theft occurs when a person unlawfully takes another's property with the intent to deprive the owner of it or keep it for their own or someone else's benefit. Generally, the offender purloins the item without permission, but in some cases, they might use deception to trick the owner into giving it to them.
- Insider trading: Illegal insider trading occurs when a person uses non-public, material information about a company to affect their own or another person's investment decisions. There are circumstances in which insider trading is legal, but for conduct to be considered such, it must adhere to rules and regulations established by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
In most cases, the penalties for white collar crimes correspond with each individual count. For example, if an individual is charged with five counts of mail fraud (which could result from five separate uses of the U.S. postal system to commit or attempt to commit fraud), he or she faces five times the penalties, or five times the prison time, fines, etc. Often, this results in those convicted of white collar crimes facing life sentences in prison in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars—if not millions—in fines.
Put a Trusted Legal Team on Your Side
If you have been contacted by state or federal agents, you are likely under investigation for a federal criminal charge. It is absolutely crucial that you contact an experienced Jacksonville white collar crimes attorney who can help you protect your rights and fight for your future.
At Monroe & King, P.A., we have extensive experience navigating an array of white collar criminal cases. Mr. Monroe and Mr. King have the trial experience and legal skill to aggressively advocate for you. Throughout the process, our team will provide you with the attentive, one-on-one legal service you need and deserve.
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