Being convicted or even accused of a white-collar crime can have substantial repercussions for both your personal and professional life. Convictions can lead to significant fines in addition to the potential of time in prison.
Do not take the charges lightly. Connect with a Georgia white-collar criminal defense lawyer from Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC. They will ensure that you have the support you need to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
What is white-collar crime?
White-collar crime covers a broad variety of nonviolent crimes for personal gain that are generally committed in a commercial environment.
According to data compiled by the FBI and DOJ, white-collar crime costs the United States some $400 billion each year. While white-collar crimes are generally leveled against individuals, it’s also within the government’s power to sanction corporations for white-collar criminal offenses.
If convicted of a white-collar crime, you could be subject to penalties including:
- Community confinement
- Home detention
- Supervised release
There are a broad variety of white-collar crimes that individuals may be accused of, with a brief explanation of the more common crimes following.
The Sherman Act supports freedom of competition in our markets and was first created to oppose monopoly. A monopoly is when one company owns an entire market and can charge whatever it prefers.
When a party is charged with antitrust crimes, they have generally engaged in price fixing, bid rigging, and other illicit activities that inhibit competition.
Bankruptcy fraud occurs when a party takes advantage of the bankruptcy process for illicit means. Bankruptcy is generally filed to assist a company in reorganizing so it may continue operating or to help a company to close down.
In either situation, debts are often forgiven or renegotiated, and if bankruptcy is filed in bad faith, it can lead to criminal charges.
Cybercrimes are increasingly common in the modern world given the substantial rise in online shopping and credit/debit cards.
Common forms of cybercrime include phishing scams that invade your computer for personal and financial information, as well as computer trespass or hacking, as well as cyberstalking.
The law is catching up to new forms of cybercrime and the use of technology to steal is just as punishable as through more traditional methods.
Defense Procurement Fraud
Defense procurement fraud happens when a company engages in misrepresentations or outright deception in an attempt at securing a government contract.
A common example of this is fraudulent bidding, where a contract is won through the submission of a bid the company knows to be below what they can complete the job for.
Embezzlement is when a professional uses their position in a company to steal money from the funds of the organization. Embezzlement is one of the more common white-collar crimes you might hear of and often involves professionals with access to company money taking it for themselves.
When the identity of an individual is used for illicit purposes, oftentimes related to opening credit cards and other accounts in a person’s name, it’s identity theft. The potential financial losses associated with taking an individual’s social security number or even a portion thereof can be significant.
Insider trading is when individuals working in companies that have publicly traded stocks and securities use information that is not yet publicly available to take advantage of stock exchanges and other commodity trades.
You might have heard of Martha Stewart engaging in this. Receiving an inside tip from a company employee about a forthcoming announcement that will impact stock prices and acting on that information is illegal. It allows the parties who have received the tip to get ahead of the news at the expense of the general trading public and current holders of the stock.
Misbranding is when a product is misrepresented as being another brand or is produced by another manufacturer without permission.
Common examples of this are the ripoff watches and bags that one might find on blankets on the sidewalk or beach in major cities. It also happens on a much larger scale in the construction industry.
When a legitimate business is used as a front for illegal operations, through which illicit income is processed so that it can enter the economy undetected, it’s money laundering.
Many television shows centering around criminal organizations show criminals purchasing clubs, actual laundromats, car washes, casinos, and other companies as they are able to claim illegal income as legitimate income in their businesses.
Public corruption involves a publicly elected official or an employee of a government organization using their position for financial gain, often at the expense of the voting public.
Accepting bribes in exchange for voting a certain way is a form of public corruption.
RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) Violations
RICO violations come about when criminal activities are deemed to be as a result of a criminal conspiracy toward the completion of a particular goal.
RICO investigations give the government surveillance powers that were once reserved only for investigations of terrorist organizations. If you’ve been accused of racketeering, working with an Atlanta white-collar criminal lawyer is essential to protecting your rights.
Securities fraud includes late-day trading to manipulate market rates as well as pyramid schemes that put investors at risk.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Fraud
SBA fraud is when a company intentionally uses incorrect information to acquire loans and other benefits from the Small Business Administration. These funds are reserved for organizations that qualify for them and the government pursues SBA fraud aggressively to minimize this behavior.
The misrepresentation of income and other assets to reduce the amount of money owed is tax fraud. This can happen on an individual level and also on a massive scale within the context of business entities.
Mail Fraud/Wire Fraud
Mail and wire fraud involve using the physical or electronic mail system to defraud someone.
Should the fraud involve a transaction across state lines the federal government will have jurisdiction and federal charges are not to be taken lightly.
How Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC Can Help You
We will immediately begin collecting evidence to determine exactly where the government’s case stands. This information will then be put to work effectively challenging the charges every step of the way to achieve the best possible outcome.
Prevent charges from being filed.
If we are brought onto your case during the preliminary stages of an investigation, it could be possible to counter and challenge the government’s evidence before the case is ever filed, saving you the time and expense of a trial.
Have all charges dismissed.
The strength of the government’s case depends upon the evidence. We will scrutinize the evidence and case for any opportunities to challenge it.
If charges have been filed, an experienced Atlanta white-collar criminal defense attorney may pursue a dismissal before trial to expedite the process.
Negotiate a plea agreement.
A plea agreement is advantageous in some situations to minimize the potential penalties that could be associated with going to trial. Whether or not this is a wise strategy will entirely depend upon the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
Go to trial.
If it is not possible to effectively challenge the government’s case, or a plea agreement is not appropriate, we will stand beside you and battle on your behalf in court.
White Collar Investigations
White-collar investigations can be invasive and expose you to different procedures throughout the process that interrupt your life, such as:
- Search warrants
- Target letters
- Grand jury subpoenas
- Administrative subpoenas
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Subpoenas
- Requests for interview
Serious Consequences for White-Collar Crime
Being convicted of a white-collar crime can forever change the way you are able to live your life. The financial repercussions alone can permanently impact someone’s life. When their reputation is damaged, it can also affect their professional prospects well into the future.
- Imprisonment for up to 30 years
- Heavy fines
- Court costs and legal fees
- Restitution and/or forfeiture
Social and Professional Consequences
- Issues with present and future employment
- Losing professional licensing
- Forfeiting immigration status
- Losing child custody and visitation
- Having a poor reputation.
Strong Defense for Those Accused of White-Collar Crimes in Atlanta
If you have been convicted of a white-collar crime in Atlanta, connect with a lawyer as soon as possible so we can begin helping you assemble your defense.
Lack of Intent
The prosecution must prove that you intentionally committed the crime that you are being charged with. Your lawyer may achieve an acquittal by successfully arguing that you did not mean to or know you were committing a crime.
To be convicted of a crime, the government must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is doubt as to even one facet of a crime, the government cannot rightfully obtain a conviction.
Illegal Search or Seizure
The Fourth Amendment guarantees Americans the right to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The government must have a warrant in most instances to conduct a legal search, and your lawyer can challenge any evidence that comes from an illegal search.
For the government to achieve a lawful seizure, the law enforcement agent must demonstrate their authority as a law enforcement officer by carrying handcuffs or a weapon and may use physical force when doing so.
Second, you must submit to the demonstration of authority, and not simply walk away.
When police engage in undercover and sting operations, their activities are often in the gray area between legal and illegal. Should the investigation step into the illegal areas, then the evidence collected cannot legally be used as the basis for a case against you.
Statute of Limitations
When charges are not brought within the time limit they can no longer be brought against you.
Through 18 U.S. Code Se. 3282, the general federal statute of limitations for felonies is five years. This means that if a charge is not brought within five years from when the supposed offense was committed, the government can no longer bring the charges against you.
The decision to cooperate with the government is one that should not be undertaken without the assistance of an attorney.
It often includes a plea agreement and requires that a defendant/cooperating party agree to plead guilty to a felony charge and to provide some form of “substantial assistance” to the government for a reduced sentence.
Cooperating with the government involves making statements that could in turn incriminate you. Additionally, if complete and accurate statements are not made, the government could pursue charges against you for being dishonest during a government investigation.
Contact Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers Now
If you’ve been accused of a white-collar crime, or are aware that an investigation is pending, reach out to an Atlanta white-collar criminal defense lawyer from Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC as soon as possible.
Our experienced attorneys are standing by to step into your shoes and take over every aspect of your case against the government. We will become the exclusive source of communication with investigators and the prosecution and ensure that your rights are protected.