Why You Need to Hire an Oakland White Collar Crime Lawyer
Given the severity of these crimes, you should retain a white-collar crime lawyer for the following reasons:
They Thoroughly Understand Both State & Federal Law
Due to the nature of white-collar crimes, you could face charges at the state and federal levels. You need a lawyer with experience in both types of courts and one who understands the legal nuances between the two.
You could be accused of being affiliated with a much larger criminal enterprise, and your lawyer could inform you of the laws that apply to your case.
They Have Knowledge of Local Courts
A white-collar crime attorney like Seth Morris has spent years defending clients in state and federal courts.
Simply having someone who’s guided numerous people just like you through the legal system could offer you relief, knowing you have an experienced attorney who’s been down this road before.
They Can Fight to Dismiss Evidence & Reduce Your Charges
You have a greater chance of fighting your charges with an experienced white-collar crime lawyer than handling your case alone. Private attorneys have access to expert witnesses, can skillfully negotiate with the prosecution, and know the evidence they need to help you avoid a conviction.
When Do White-Collar Crimes Become a Federal Offense?
If a federal agency like The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opens an investigation into your case, you’ll face federal charges.
Additionally, if the offense you’re charged with involves crossing state borders, this will also be tried as a federal offense.
Types of White-Collar Crimes We Handle
White-collar crimes encompass many offenses and range from identity theft to money laundering. You might be charged with one of the following:
Money Laundering & RICO
According to California Penal Code § 186.10, this involves covering up the true origin of illegally obtained money. This often violates RICO since the act of money laundering is intended to further a criminal enterprise.
California Penal Code § 503 states that embezzlement involves the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person entrusted with it.
This involves stealing someone’s property through deceitful tactics. Fraud comes in many forms, including bank fraud, credit card fraud, and more.
California Penal Code § 470 deems it illegal for someone with the intent to commit fraud to knowingly sign the name of another person or fictitious person.
California Penal Code § 530.5 makes it illegal for someone to willfully obtain the personal identifying information of another person for unlawful purposes.
Penalties You Face for White Collar Offenses
The severity of your charges, your criminal history, and the amount of money involved in your case all factor into the penalties you might face. To give you an idea of what you could face, here are a few white-collar offenses and their corresponding penalties:
- Money Laundering – Up to one year in jail; fines up to $250,000 or twice the value of the property transacted. Second or subsequent convictions increase fines to $500,000 or five times the value of the property transacted.
- Embezzlement – Embezzling money or property valued at $950 or less is a misdemeanor resulting in up to six months in jail. Over $950 is a felony resulting in 16 months, two years, or up to three years in prison.
- Forgery – A misdemeanor offense results in up to a year in jail; fines up to $1,000. Felony offenses result in 16 months, two years, or up to three years in jail; fines up to $10,000.
- Identity Theft – Misdemeanor offense results in up to one year in jail; fines as high as $1,000. A felony offense results in 16 months, two years, or up to three years in jail; fines as high as $10,000.
In addition to jail time and fines, you could be required to pay restitution to any victims you allegedly stole from.
What Is Aggravated White-Collar Crime Enhancement?
According to California Penal Code 186.11, someone who commits two or more felonies that involve fraud or embezzlement, and result in the alleged victim losing more than $100,000, could face additional penalties.
For example, you could face an additional one or two years if the alleged victim loses between $100,000 and $500,000. If the alleged victim’s losses exceed $500,000, you face an additional sentence of three or five years.
Your Defense Options for White Collar Crime Charges
Since white-collar crimes embody many offenses, the defense options available to you depend on the details of your case. Your white-collar crime lawyer might use the following defenses to reduce or dismiss your charges:
- Lack of Intent – Prosecutors must prove one of the fundamental elements of most white-collar crimes—that you willfully and knowingly committed the offense. If they can’t prove this, your charges might get dismissed because they failed to establish all elements of the crime.
- Non–Fraudulent Statements – Someone might have mistaken your non-fraudulent statement for fraud.
- Entrapment – Law enforcement often conducts sting operations to catch people in the act of committing a crime. However, entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces a crime that otherwise wouldn’t have been committed by an ordinary law-abiding citizen.
- Incapacity – Due to mental incapacity, someone may not understand the full extent of their charges and, therefore, can’t be held accountable.
These are only a few of the many defense options you have. Your white-collar crime attorney could help you with your defense strategy to fight for the best possible outcome.