White Collar Crime Information Center
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Frequently Asked Questions about White Collar Crime
Q: What is "white collar crime"?
A: White collar crime is a term used to describe criminal conduct involving illegal acts that use deceit and concealment to obtain money, property or services, or to secure a business or professional advantage. Another way to define white collar crime is as a "paper" crime or crime that is committed in the workplace in white collar industries as opposed to blue collar industries. White collar crimes are usually not violent, but their effects can be just as devastating.
Q: Who prosecutes white collar crimes?
A: White collar crimes may be either state or federal crimes. Because they often involve lengthy investigations that can cross state and international boundaries, the federal government is usually in a better position to investigate and prosecute white collar crimes. Usually a federal prosecutor, known as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), will head up the prosecution.
White collar crime can have significant financial implications and can cost this country billions of dollars per year. As a result, prosecutors and courts are cracking down on white-collar crimes. If you are being investigated for or have been accused of a white collar crime, contact an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
White Collar Crime - An Overview
Crimes that do not involve physical violence, and that relate largely to financial matters, are often called white collar crimes. White collar crimes involve most of the same legal principles as do other crimes, and people charged with white collar crimes have the same rights and protections as defendants accused of other crimes. On the other hand, white collar offenses are often complex, and involve numerous complicated legal and factual issues. The possible penalties include fines, prison sentences, restitution and criminal forfeiture. If you have been charged with a white collar crime, it is essential that you seek legal counsel from an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney at once so that you can preserve your rights and protect your future.
Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) defines fraud as "a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment." The injury in fraud is usually depriving a person of money or other property that rightfully belongs to that person. Fraud crimes are classified according to the type of transaction in which the deception occurred. Fraud is a serious and broadly defined criminal offense. Criminal fraud is a charge that can be brought against a business, as well as against an individual (a business cannot be put in prison, but can be hit with substantial fines). A charge of fraud — let alone a conviction — can ruin the reputation of a person or company charged. Zealous legal representation is critical in fraud cases, as in all criminal cases. It is critical for an accused to seek help from an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney.
Grand Jury Investigations
A grand jury is a powerful tool that federal prosecutors can use to investigate and gather information about white collar crimes. The grand jury has the power to subpoena witnesses to testify and produce documents for review in an effort to gain information about an individual's involvement in a white collar crime and to see if there is enough evidence to indict that person. If you have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced defense attorney
Other Types of White Collar Crime
The term white collar crime encompasses a wide variety of criminal acts that are committed in a business or professional setting to achieve financial gain. This article provides general information about a few of the more common types of white collar crime. If you would like more information about these or other white collar crimes, contact an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney.
Penalties for White Collar Crime
The most frightening part of being a defendant in a white collar criminal case — or any criminal case — is the potential penalties involved if convicted. Most white collar defendants have no prior experience with the criminal justice system, and the uncertainty of their future looms understandably large in their minds. In addition to criminal penalties, many white collar offenses may give rise to civil lawsuits, brought either by the federal or state government, or by the victims of the offense. Any civil liability imposed as a result of these suits is in addition to, and not a substitute for, the penalties imposed in the criminal case. An experienced white collar defense attorney can give you specific advice on the possible penalties in a particular case.