When you think about “white collar crime,” you automatically think of fat cat traders caught with their hands in the cookie jar, serving a light sentence as punishment in a country-club-like atmosphere. But the reality is quite different. Despite the stereotype, white collar crimes can come with very significant consequences, particularly if the right white collar crime lawyer is not retained by the defendant.
Being charged with a white collar crime can turn your world upside down, destroy your career, rip apart your family, and cost you your liberty and freedom, not to mention your reputation. Prosecutors are often unrelenting in their quest to bring white collar criminals to justice, which makes white collar criminal cases unceasingly difficult and complex to defend.
If you are facing a white collar crime, you need to speak to our Westmoreland white collar crime attorney immediately to formulate a defensive strategy that seeks your acquittal on the charges or to minimize the penalties and punishment you face if convicted. Our seasoned attorney is adept at criminal regulatory investigation and prosecution, ensuring that your case is reviewed top to bottom to give you the best defense possible.
White collar crimes are financially motivated crimes committed by both business and government professionals looking to “obtain or avoid losing money, property or services or to secure a personal or business advantage,” according to the FBI. There are many different criminal activities that are prosecuted as white collar crime, including money laundering, public corruption, insider trading, and violations of election law, among others. In Pennsylvania, embezzlement, fraud, identify theft, internet crimes and forgery are common white collar crimes.
White collar crimes are not without victims, and for this reason, the courts tend to hand down hefty sentences to those who are convicted. Because these cases are often prosecuted aggressively, the potential for prison time and steep fines is all too real. A successful white collar criminal acquittal requires a straightforward and logical defense approach that takes into consideration all potential arguments and any applicable state and federal laws.
Penalties and Punishments for White Collar Crimes
There is a broad range of punishments and penalties for white collar offenses, each based on the particular crime in question. Some white collar crimes are misdemeanors, while the most serious come with felony classifications and heightened punishments. Where the crime falls on the spectrum largely determines how you are charged.
For example, forgery can be a misdemeanor in the first degree with up to five years in jail and fines of up to $15,000; in other cases it can be a second-degree felony punishable by 10 years incarceration and fines of up to $25,000. Credit card fraud ranges from second-degree misdemeanor classification punishable by up to two years in jail and fines of up to $5,000 to third-degree felony classification with up to seven years in jail and fines of up to $15,000.