White collar crime is a term that is used to define a crime that is non-violent and involves an act intended for the financial gain of the person accused of committing the crime. I have handled numerous such cases in my role as a criminal defense attorney and have taken such cases to trial in both federal and state courts both in Los Angeles and around the country.
What Types of Crime are Considered White Collar Crimes
Although the list below is far from being a complete list of all white-collar crimes, they are a list of the more common crimes that I have seen as a criminal defense attorney. They are as follows:
- Fraud: This involves making a misrepresentation to induce a person to pay money.
- Credit Card Fraud: Using a fake or stolen credit card to make a purchase. This can also be charged as identity theft.
- Identity Theft: When a person uses another person's name and documentation to obtain money or goods.
- Bank Fraud: Crimes where a person improperly obtains money from a bank by using deception or misrepresentation.
- Forgery: Creating fake documents to pass off for economic gains. This crime can be tied to bank fraud.
- Insurance Fraud: Making a false claim for payment to an insurance company.
- Computer Fraud: Obtaining money or other benefit with the use of a computer.
- Embezzlement: This is a very common crime that is charged when a person, such as an employee, is charged with stealing money from his employer but it can also be found in different scenarios as well. Many times this crime is charged as theft.
- Counterfeiting: Selling or producing goods that have a fake label on them. This is something that is commonly seen when people try to sell fake designer merchandise such as clothes, purses or jewelry.
- Money Laundering: Taking money obtained through illegal activity and making it appear to have been lawfully obtained.
- Tax Evasion: Making false statements on a tax return or failing to report income to the IRS.
- Welfare Fraud: Obtaining money from a welfare agency by misrepresentation.
- Health Fraud: Obtaining money for health services by misrepresentation.
Defending White Collar Crimes
The first thing anyone who is accused of a white collar should do is consult with a criminal defense attorney. These cases are often complex and involve extensive evidence in the form of documentation. Because of the nature of white collar crimes, the law enforcement agency investigating them will often conduct a lengthy investigation. This investigation will create a slew of paperwork in the form of police reports and documentary evidence that must be properly vetted and examined. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to sift through the evidence to formulate a plan to better defend his client accused of a white-collar crime.
Early Intervention is the Key
Because of the non-violent nature of white collar crimes, law enforcement will many times alert the person under suspicion of their investigation. Many times, they use this as a ploy to monitor the person and obtain evidence that will later be used against them. That is why when a person is put on notice of a pending investigation, that is the time to call a criminal defense attorney.
Once an attorney lets law enforcement know that they have been retained, law enforcement officers can no longer make any contact with the person under suspicion. The criminal defense attorney acts as a protective barrier and ensures that no further potentially harmful information is given to the police.
Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to positively affect the investigation into his clients' case. Many timers, in the past, we have been able to avoid the filing of charges against our client by early and appropriate intervention strategies into their case.
Even After a Person is Arrested, the Police Continue Their Investigation
Whether it be a federal or state case, the police investigating a white collar crime will continue the investigation. That is why it is important to control the flow of information to avoid giving the police any further evidence that may be used against the person. This includes jail conversations that are always recorded and any other form of communication that the police may have access to. Only a conversation between a client and his criminal defense attorney is completely safe from possible surveillance and often people will make a bad situation worse by speaking about their case to their family or friends.
For a free no obligation consultation and case evaluation, please contact our office at (818) 325-0570 or you can email your inquiries directly to attorney Vitaly Sigal.