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White Collar Crime Defenses

Originally coined in 1939, the phrase “white collar crime” has come to encompass a variety of crimes that are non-violent in nature, but are committed in commercial environments for financial gain. Some of the offenses that are most commonly associated with white collar crime include: counterfeiting, credit card fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcy fraud, insider trading, money laundering, and tax evasion. Although in most cases, individuals are charged for committing white collar crimes, the government does have the power to prosecute corporations as well.

While the penalties faced by defendants differ based on whether they are being charged in state or federal court, those who are convicted of committing a white collar crime can expect fines, home detention, jail time, supervised release, restitution, and forfeiture of their assets. With such high stakes, it is critical for those who have been accused of a fraud-related crime to contact an experienced white collar crime lawyer who can help them raise a strong defense.

Available Defenses

Any defense that is available to defendants charged with a violent crime in criminal court can also be raised by those who have been accused of committing a white collar offense. However, the Supreme Court has also specifically addressed the raising of certain arguments by white collar crime defendants. For instance, in 1983, the Supreme Court acknowledged the defense of entrapment for defendants facing bribery charges, while in cases involving real property fraud, defendants often challenge the proximate cause element of the offense, claiming that there is no link between a third party’s financial loss and their own involvement.

The Supreme Court has also rejected certain arguments raised by white collar defendants, as in a 2014 case, where the Court stated that in situations involving financial institution fraud, prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant intended to obtain bank property through false or fraudulent pretenses. For this reason, defendants are not permitted to argue that prosecutors must demonstrate an intent to defraud a specific institution. Similarly, in cases involving mail fraud, defendants are not allowed to argue that a person is only injured by a misrepresentation if that individual actually physically received the false document in question. In 2008, the Supreme Court rejected this argument, stating that those who are harmed collaterally by a misrepresentation qualify as victims and so are also entitled to recovery.

Fortunately, defendants are always permitted to claim a lack of intent to defraud and can also raise defenses challenging the legitimacy of the evidence being used against them. Entrapment is another commonly raised defense in cases involving undercover agents, in which defendants argue that they only committed a crime (that they were not predisposed to commit) because they were persuaded to do so by a government agent.

Talk to an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney Today About Your Charges

For more information on defenses that are available to you, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. in South Florida at (305) 670-9919 today. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge, so don’t hesitate to call or contact us online.

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