When most people think of a “crime” they envision something that involves violence or drugs as a general rule. Not all criminal offenses, however, have a violent element to them nor do they all have something to do with drugs or other seedy subject matters. White collar crimes, in particular, involve neither violence or drugs. If you have been charged with a white collar crime, however, do not make the mistake of thinking you are in any less potential trouble than someone charged with other types of crimes. In fact, if you are currently a defendant in a white collar crime case it is n your best interest to consult with criminal lawyers who handle white collar crimes immediately.
What Is a White Collar Crime?
Although we use the term “white collar crime” on a regular basis is the U.S. legal system, it is not truly a legal term. The origin of the term “white collar crime” can be traced back to the late 1930s when a sociologist used the phrase to refer to a certain type of criminal who had “respectability and high social status.” For the most part, we still think of white collar criminals in the same way today. Bankers, financial experts, stock brokers, and others with a higher education and who are well respected professionally and socially are typically who we envision committing one of these crimes.
Common White Collar Crimes
As a general rule, white collar crimes are defined as non-violent offenses that have financial gain as the motive for the crime. Some common examples of criminal offenses that are consider white collar crimes include:
- Money laundering
- Insider trading
- SEC violations
- Fraud (insurance, mail, bank etc.)
- Copyright Infringement
- Cyber crimes
- Identity theft
- Credit card theft and fraud
Who Prosecutes White Collar Crimes?
White collar crimes are more commonly prosecuted by the federal government than they are at the state level; however, that does not mean you could not face criminal charges instigated by the State of Nebraska in lieu of, or in addition to, charges brought by the United States. One reason white collar crimes often land in federal court is that they frequently involve conduct and/or transactions that cross state lines. They also may involve very large amounts of funds and a complex fact pattern that requires trained investigators to uncover. Whether your offense is being prosecuted at the state level or the federal level do not make mistake about the fact that you are likely facing serious charges that have serious potential penalties that will attach if you are convicted.
Penalties for a Conviction of a White Collar Crime
Both the judicial and non-judicial penalties for a conviction of a white collar crime can be life-altering. For example, at the federal level the crime of embezzlement, a common white collar crime, can be charged as a serious felony. If convicted, you could face a period of incarceration in a federal prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
For many defendants though, the more worrisome penalties are the non-judicial ones. Because many defendants in white collar crime prosecutions are professionals, a conviction could completely destroy not only your reputation, but your career. Often, even the mere accusation, without a conviction, can cause professional discipline.
How Can Criminal Lawyers Help?
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, or you have been notified (or have reason to believe) that you are the target of a white collar crime investigation, you need to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal lawyer right away. All too often, people get swept up in a white collar crime investigation simply by virtue of the fact that they work in the area, or for the agency, that is the target of the investigation. Whether you have been accused simply by virtue of your association with other defendants or the “scene of the crime,” or because you actually participated in the crime, you need the advice and guidance of experienced criminal lawyers behind you to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the prosecution of the case.
If you are facing criminal charges for a white collar crime in Nebraska, you should consult with an experienced Nebraska white collar defense lawyer right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced white collar defense attorney.