White-collar crime includes a variety of non-violent crimes with a primary goal of realizing financial gain. Persons who are accused of white-collar crime face the prospect of incarceration, sometimes in the same facilities as violent criminals.
To protect your reputation, freedom, and privacy, connect with an attorney as soon as possible. Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC has deep experience in Georgia white-collar criminal defense and is ready to go to work on your behalf.
Classifying White-Collar Crime
What differentiates general crime from white-collar crime is the motive and the position of the accused. White-collar criminals often occupy a professional position with power and/or prestige, earning significantly greater than average compensation.
In fact, the term “white-collar crime” was first coined in the 1930s by a sociologist and criminologist who used it to describe crimes committed by “persons of respectability.” These persons exploited their power or social status to engage in criminal activity for financial gain.
There are variations of white-collar crime that depend upon the motivation of the party engaging in the crime. Individual white-collar crimes are those committed by individuals for their own personal financial gain. We’ll explore various examples of this type of white-collar crime below, which include fraud and embezzlement.
However, the purpose is not the personal financial enrichment of the criminal actor, but instead the financial enrichment of the company. Fraud is an example of this.
Common Types of White-Collar Crime
In most instances, white-collar crimes involve misrepresentation or fraud with financial benefit as the motive. You might think of businessmen and corporate leaders defrauding their customers or the government to line their own pockets, but this represents only a small fraction of white-collar crime.
White-collar crime includes any non-violent criminal activity for financial gain and can be engaged in by just about anyone, including office administrators and low-level elected officials.
An unfortunate reality of white-collar crime is that innocent persons may be swept into the fraud simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’ve been accused of a white-collar crime, it is essential that you secure the services of an attorney with relevant experience.
The American Bar Association notes that the most important factor that influences the outcome of your case is the experience of the lawyer and whether it applies to your case.
Drawing on their experience as former federal prosecutors, the Savannah white-collar criminal defense lawyers from Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC have significant experience representing the best interests of clients accused of white-collar crimes, including the following:
According to the Federal Trade Commission, antitrust crimes involve intentional and clear violations of the Antitrust Act by engaging in behaviors such as price fixing or bid rigging.
Behaviors that limit competition in violation of the Sherman Act can lead to criminal penalties of up to $100 million for a corporation, or $1 million for an individual in addition to up to 10 years in prison.
Bank fraud is the use of fraud or deception to misappropriate or steal money and assets from a bank, financial institution, or the depositors of a bank.
Bankruptcy fraud is the fraudulent use of the bankruptcy process for financial gain. This can include the filing of bankruptcy to wrongfully escape debts or reorganizing a company to exploit the process.
Cyber or Computer Crime
This is when a computer, the internet, or electronic records are used to commit fraud or theft. Examples of cybercrime include hacking, the theft of personal identifying information, malware attacks, phishing, and denial of service (DOS) attacks.
Defense Procurement Fraud
Defense procurement fraud involves the procurement of contracts from the defense department through fraudulent means, including misrepresentations.
Companies may engage in this activity to secure a bid for a contract, only to breach due to an inability to perform that was concealed by fraud in the procurement process.
Embezzling is the misappropriation of money or property that was entrusted to the care of a person or organization.
This crime is generally facilitated through the position of a person in their job or company, where the company or clients entrust the employee with handling cash and assets.
This common form of cyber-crime can be committed independent of computers and the internet and involves the theft of personally identifying information for personal gain.
Examples of identity theft include credit card fraud, check fraud, and other forms of financial theft by illicitly using the name and resources of another person.
Securities Fraud and Insider Trading
A white-collar crime that concerns misrepresentation or fraud in the trading of stocks or commodities, or the manipulation of financial markets.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FBI are often involved in the investigation of securities fraud, which can include crimes such as insider trading, pyramid schemes, high-yield-investment fraud, and advance-fee schemes.
When a product is offered up for sale under a brand name that is incorrect, it’s often to increase the value of a lesser-quality product.
Examples of misbranding include the sale of knock-off purses and watches on a small scale. It can also happen on a larger industrial scale when the branding and contents of building materials are misrepresented.
Money laundering is the use of legitimate businesses to filter illegally generated money and have it enter circulation without discovering the criminal actor.
This might sound like something out of Breaking Bad because it is. Legitimate businesses like car washes and laundries that deal in cash can be used to claim illicitly earned income as legitimate earnings.
This occurs when elected officials or government employees use their positions to engage in non-violent criminal activity for personal financial gain. Public corruption often involves the embezzlement of public funds for personal use.
RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) Violations
RICO violations are aggressively pursued by law enforcement given the link of the criminal activity to organized crime.
Money laundering is an activity that can lead to a RICO investigation, which provides the government with surveillance powers that were once reserved for terrorist investigations. These types of investigations can trample over your Constitutional rights if they are not kept in check, highlighting the importance of working with an experienced Savannah white-collar criminal defense lawyer.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Fraud
SBA fraud is the procurement of loans and other funding sources from the SBA through fraudulent means. This can include fraudulent applications and financial reporting, and other forms of loan-related fraud that can expose an individual to federal charges.
Tax fraud refers to fraudulent reporting of income and other assets to the IRS. This can expose an organization or individual to audits, investigation, and federal criminal charges.
Mail Fraud/Wire Fraud
These crimes use the postal system and/or wire services to facilitate financial fraud and theft.
Examples of mail fraud include the sending of fake bills in the hopes of collecting financial information that can be stolen and used for financial gain, or when a caller falsely claims to be a relative in need of money for an emergency and requests a wire transfer.
How We’ll Help
Connecting with a Savannah white-collar criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible will support the best possible outcome in your case. The attorneys at Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC have the expertise to effectively oppose your charges to the fullest extent allowed by the law and evidence in your case.
Prevent charges from being filed.
If your case is in the investigatory stage, it might be possible for us to prevent charges from ever being filed. In select circumstances through various legal instruments, we can challenge the investigation.
Have all charges dismissed.
Once a case has been filed, the prospect of facing a guilty verdict, fines, and time in prison becomes very real. We will challenge your case and battle on your behalf to have all charges against you dismissed whenever and however possible within the confines of the legal system.
Negotiate a plea agreement.
When the wisest course of action to mitigate damage and risk is to negotiate a plea agreement, we will do so with your consent and pursue the best deal available.
Go to trial.
When you and the prosecution cannot come to a fair agreement without a trial, we will stand in court on your behalf and defend you every step of the way. We have tried major, high-profile white collar cases and are not afraid to do so if that is in our client’s best interest.
Short- and Long-Term Consequences for White-Collar Crime
Being convicted of a white-collar crime can have long-lasting implications for your financial, professional, and personal life.
- Imprisonment for up to 30 years
- Heavy fines
- Court costs and legal fees
- Restitution and/or forfeiture
- Present and future employment
- Professional licensing
- Immigration status
- Child custody and visitation
Defense Strategies We May Use in Your Case
The defense strategy that we employ will depend upon the unique facts and circumstances of the charges leveled against you. Following are examples of some of the successful defenses we have put forth on behalf of our white-collar crime clients in the past:
Lack of Intent
To be convicted of a crime each and every element of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. When intent is an element of the crime, lack of intent can be a viable defense.
The prosecution must have enough evidence to support their case. Without it, the prosecution may be frivolous and subject to a successful challenge for a lack of sufficient evidence.
Illegal Search or Seizure
This can be an effective defense when evidence was collected against you without valid warrants. Due to the legal concept known as the “fruit of the poisonous tree,” evidence collected through illegal searches or seizures cannot be used against you in court.
Entrapment occurs when agents of the government or law enforcement compel a party charged with a crime into having committed the very crime they are being charged with. This can be a tricky defense and requires an experienced Savannah white-collar criminal defense lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
When the government has failed to prosecute a crime within the time they are legally allowed to do so, it can lead to a dismissal of the charges.
This can be especially risky for an individual charged with white-collar crime, as it can result in a direct ticket to prison. Cooperating is a willing decision, and if a party that cooperated is not entirely truthful and honest with the government they may not only face charges but also charges for lying to the government while cooperating.
Working with a white-collar criminal lawyer is essential to navigating the many risks associated with government cooperation.
Charged with white-collar crime in Savannah? Call our firm immediately.
As soon as you have been charged with a white-collar crime or become aware of an investigation, get a Savannah white-collar criminal defense attorney by your side to protect your rights.
The sooner you have an attorney on your case, the sooner you will be protected from violations of your rights, and the sooner you will have an attorney handling all communications and negotiations with the investigators on your behalf.
Reach out to Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC by calling (912) 867-9140 or schedule a consultation to discuss options on how we can help.