White-collar crime refers to illegal acts committed by people in the course of business activities. These crimes are non-violent but financially motivated. Given the complex nature of many white-collar offenses, those accused of such crimes often hire attorneys who specialize in white-collar criminal defense to help them navigate the legal system. These federal white-collar defense lawyers have experience representing clients accused of a range of financial crimes and understand the nuances of these types of cases.
Types Of White Collar Crimes
There are many types of white-collar crimes that white-collar defense attorneys may handle. Some of the major categories include:
- Fraud Charges: Fraud refers to intentional deception for financial gain and comes in many forms. Some examples of fraud charges corporate fraud lawyers defend include mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, healthcare fraud, insurance fraud, and securities fraud.
- Bribery and Kickbacks: Bribery refers to offering money or gifts to influence a person’s conduct, often a public official or someone in a position of power. Kickbacks are when money or goods are returned as a reward for making or fostering a business arrangement. White-collar attorneys represent those accused of bribing or accepting kickbacks.
- Embezzlement: Embezzlement refers to the theft or misappropriation of funds or assets by a person who has been entrusted to manage those funds. White-collar lawyers defend executives, accountants, and others accused of embezzlement in the course of their professional duties.
- Money Laundering: Money laundering refers to concealing the origin of funds obtained from illegal activity such as fraud or drug trafficking. White-collar attorneys represent clients accused of laundering money to hide profits from criminal enterprises.
- Tax Evasion: Tax evasion refers to intentionally underpaying federal or state taxes by hiding taxable income, inflating deductions, or other unlawful means. Tax lawyers who specialize in white-collar crime handle defense against tax evasion charges.
Defending Complex White Collar Cases
Representing those accused of white-collar crimes requires highly specialized knowledge and experience. Federal white collar defense lawyers are able to navigate intricate financial records, understand complex federal fraud and corruption laws, challenge improper government conduct, and mount compelling defenses for their clients. Some of the strategies these attorneys use include:
- Analyzing records to identify errors or lack of evidence: White-collar cases often involve scrutiny of thousands of pages of financial statements, tax returns, accounting ledgers, and other records. Defense attorneys comb through these records to identify inaccuracies in the government’s allegations and lack of concrete evidence to support the charges.
- Challenging improper government procedures: The government must follow proper legal procedures when investigating white-collar crimes and obtaining evidence against the defendant. Defense attorneys look for any missteps in how the government conducted searches, seized records, questioned witnesses, or obtained confessions to try and have evidence thrown out.
- Presenting alternative explanations: White-collar defense lawyers work to develop plausible alternative explanations for the government’s allegations against their clients. They may attribute financial irregularities to human error, poor accounting practices, or business misjudgment rather than criminal intent.
- Negotiating plea deals: When the evidence against a white-collar defendant is substantial, their attorney may negotiate a plea agreement with lesser charges and a lighter punishment. They work to negotiate fines, avoid jail time, and limit negative consequences as much as possible for their client.
- Taking cases to trial: For some white-collar defendants, going to trial is the best option to fight the government’s allegations and attempt an acquittal. Their lawyers use cross-examination, present alternative theories, and raise reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt to jurors. While risky, a trial allows defendants to maintain their innocence and potentially be found not guilty of all charges.
To Wrap Up
White-collar crime covers a range of illegal acts involving deception and financial wrongdoing. Those accused of such crimes rely on experienced white-collar defense attorneys to defend their freedom and future. Federal white-collar defense lawyers use their knowledge of financial systems and federal law to raise doubt, challenge evidence, and pursue the best possible outcome for their clients whether through a plea agreement or trial.