White Collar Crime
Whether you have been charged with a white collar crime, or you believe you are a target in an ongoing investigation, you need an experienced white collar lawyer to protect your rights and guide you through the process. In Arizona, at the county, state and federal level, prosecuting agencies have specialized bureaus dedicated to handling white collar crime. To effectively defend clients against specialized prosecuting agencies requires an attorney with expertise in financial and business matters. The state often overly zealous charges and prosecutes financial transactions that have legitimate explanations and aren’t criminal. when it comes to white collar prosecutions. Excess cash is automatically seen as money laundering. Found money is labeled “drug money” with little or no proof. In fact, government suspicions and investigations may target legitimate business decisions.
The attorneys at Feldman & Royle are experienced in defending clients charged with white collar crimes and have a proven track record understanding financial matters and complex financial transactions.
What is White Collar Crime?
The term “white collar crime” is used to describe offenses that do not involve violence, the threat of violence or drugs (at least directly), and which are motivated by financial gain. For example, trafficking in illegal drugs is not considered a white collar crime, but a money laundering charge concerning the proceeds of drug sales falls within the definition. Similarly, if the allegation is that you stole someone’s money through a fraudulent scam, forgery or any form of internet fraud, these charges will normally be categorized as a white collar crime.
Examples White Collar Crime
Whatever definition you choose, there are numerous offenses that are included within the category, some of which may overlap with others. Examples of white collar crime include:
- Forgery. Forgery occurs when a person makes, completes or alters a written instrument or possesses a forged instrument. Under Arizona law, forgery is a class 4 felony and punishable by up to 3.75 years in prison for a first offense.
- Extortion. Under Arizona law, extortion occurs when a person obtains property of services by means of threat of physical violence, damage to property or by accusing or threatening to expose a secret. Regardless of the way in which extortion perpetrated, extortion is a felony in Arizona. Read more
- Embezzlement. Embezzlement under Arizona law is typically charged under our theft statute. The only difference is that theft is normally perpetrated on any victim where embezzlement is a theft from an employer by an employee. Read more
- Fraud Scheme. A fraud scheme in Arizona is charged when a person knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions. The crime of fraud schemes is a broad and far reaching crime, giving the prosecution extreme discretion. A fraud scheme is a class 2 felony under A.R.S. § 13-2310.
- Illegal Control of an Enterprise. Illegal control of an enterprise is Arizona’s law against racketeering. Racketeering occurs when a person engages in any illegal scheme. A.R.S. § 13-2312 is rarely a standalone crime and is normally accompanied by other white collar or drug crimes.
- Mortgage Fraud. This offense occurs when someone makes an intentional misstatement to a mortgage lender, which is relied upon by the lender, in connection with the mortgage lending process. This crime also occurs when misrepresentations are made to lenders or buyers of real property in an effort to defraud.
- Computer Tampering. Under A.R.S. § 13-2316, computer tampering (hacking and similar activities), with intent to defraud or to misappropriate property, is a felony, the level of which depends, in part, upon the specific manner in which the tampering was accomplished
- Identity Theft. Under Arizona law, the act of knowingly obtaining personal identifying information with the intent to use it for any unlawful purpose is a class 4 felony. Knowingly possessing, transferring or producing a false identification document, or transferring or using, without legal authority, a means of identification (personal identifying information such as a social security number, birth date, etc.).
- Money Laundering. Arizona money laundering under A.R.S. § 13-2317, prohibits engaging in financial transactions with proceeds of various criminal activities. Money laundering is rarely charged alone and is often accompanied by other white collar crimes or drug crimes.
- Insurance Fraud. Cases of insurance fraud run the gamut from filing a fraudulent insurance claim to making deliberate misstatements on an application for the issuance or renewal of an insurance policy. A violation is generally a class 6 felony.
- Credit Card Fraud. As with many of these categories, credit card fraud includes a number of different activities, and may be prosecuted under more than one criminal statute. Theft of a credit card, obtaining the card through fraud, and selling a card with intent to defraud are class 5 felonies under A.R.S. § 13-2102; and receiving anything of value obtained through fraudulent use of a credit card (a felony if the value is $250 or more) is an offense under A.R.S. § 13-2103.
- Bribery. Bribery under Arizona law consists of providing any benefit to a public servant (or one who holds a position with a political party) with the intent to influence that person’s acts as a public servant (or party officer). It also includes the acceptance of such benefit. This is a class 4 felony. In a private setting, the offense is known as commercial bribery, which includes offering or accepting a benefit without your employer’s consent, intending that it influence the employee’s conduct in the business. Commercial bribery is a felony, unless the amount or value of the bribe is under $100.
Punishments for White Collar Crime
When you’re charged with the commission of a white collar crime, the potential penalties may surprise you. Following the near collapse of the American banking system, and well-publicized fraud, embezzlement, the government has taken a keen interest in prosecuting white collar crime. Financial and other business transactions are coming under increased scrutiny, and prosecutors are more than willing to pursue these cases aggressively. Most white collar crimes are felonies under Arizona law and many require mandatory prison if convicted, even on a first offense.
White Collar Crime Lawyer
If you have been charged in a white collar case, or if you are under investigation, you need to hire an experienced white collar lawyer. Specially trained prosecutors will be assigned to your case and will aggressively prosecute your case with enormous resources at their disposal. You need to level the playing field, and the way to do that is to hire an experienced white collar crime lawyer.
The attorneys at Feldman & Royle understand financial crimes, and they know how the government develops their cases. If you are facing a white collar charge, we can help. With a free and confidential consultation, contact us to speak to a white collar lawyer as soon as possible.