White-collar crimes comprise a wide assortment of economic, non-violent crimes that often involve cheating or lying. Examples include:
• Antitrust violations
• Bankruptcy fraud
• Computer crimes
• Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations
• Health care fraud
• Identity theft
• Insider trading
• Insurance fraud
• Mail fraud
• Money laundering
• Mortgage fraud
• Political corruption
• Securities fraud
• Tax evasion
The most common white-collar crime—fraud—occurs when the defendant intentionally misrepresents or omits a material fact, and the victim relies upon that misrepresentation and suffers financial loss as a result. Computer fraud occurs when someone steals financial information, such as bank or credit card information, from a computer. Insurance fraud occurs when a person fabricates or inflates an insurance claim.
Both state and federal legislation list the actions that comprise white-collar crimes. Federal agencies, such as the FBI, the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Customs, enforce the federal legislation. At the state level, each state typically has its own agencies to enforce white-collar crime laws.
Whereas embezzlement is prosecuted by both state and federal authorities, securities fraud is usually punished solely under federal law. Securities fraud encompasses a range of different frauds in which individuals, companies or corporations lie about information that is relevant to investors’ decision making. Investment fraud can include various schemes, such as Ponzi or pyramid schemes as well as foreign exchange market (Forex) fraud.
Both individuals and corporations may be charged with and punished for white-collar crimes. Penalties can vary significantly, depending on the crime. When sentencing, the court may consider factors such as the amount lost, the number of victims and whether the defendant abused his or her position of trust. Sentences may include fines, imprisonment, forfeiture, home detention, restitution and/or supervised release. Defendants are sometimes able to obtain a more lenient punishment if they admit responsibility and assist the authorities with their investigation.
As reported by the Huffington Post, the U.S. Sentencing Commission proposed amendments to federal judges’ sentencing guidelines in 2015.
“The changes aim to make punishments more fair by giving greater weight to a criminal’s role and his or her intent,” Huffington Post said. “So, for example, a receptionist who was aware of a massive kickback scheme in her office, but didn’t share the profits, might get a lighter sentence than those behind the scheme.”
The proposed changes also address outlandish sentences. For example, a 72-year-old man was sentenced to 330 years in prison in 2008.
“Judges now focus more on the offense—and less on the offender—when sentencing white-collar convicts,” a law professor told U.S. News.
If you’ve been charged with a white-collar crime in Connecticut, you’re likely concerned about jail time, community service requirements, fines, the inclusion of this offense on your permanent criminal record and how this charge will affect your future. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Alexander H. Schwartz understand your concerns and can offer you the legal expertise and skills to help you fight your charge.
Our firm has more than 30 years of trial experience in both state and federal courts across the country. We offer our clients accommodating appointment availability, affordable representation and flexible payment plans. Unlike other firms, we provide you with personal attention and work on your defense directly instead of handing it over to a case manager or paralegal. If you need a Connecticut white-collar criminal defense attorney who will offer you one-on-one attention, thorough experience, and reasonable costs, contact our Southport, Connecticut, office today.
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