Planning Your White-Collar Defense in West Palm Beach
Commonly referred to as white-collar crimes, these are widely categorized offenses and not always easy to pinpoint on any individual or business entity. Suppose you have been accused of a crime of this nature. In that case, it is imperative that you understand the allegations made against you and take immediate action to obtain adequate legal defense for the criminal proceedings to come.
White-Collar Crime Accusations
Business and government officials alike are susceptible to being slammed with an accusation of committing a white-collar offense. In 1939, Edwin Sutherland defined white-collar offenses as “fraudulent behaviors with financial backing.” Since then, the term has been used nationwide to describe various behaviors, from embezzlement to identity theft and everything in between. These types of crimes very often overlap with corporate crimes as the opportunity to commit copyright actions, forgery, bribery, and the like are much more prevalent within the business sectors of society. However, it is essential to recognize that just because the opportunity to commit these types of actions exists does not mean that those accused are necessarily guilty.
Broad Range of Offenses
Generally, officials don’t enforce strict limits on the application of these types of offenses. Rather than strictly defining the behaviors categorized as a white-collar crime, they instead allow for a broad range of illegal offenses to fall within the category, classifying them by the type of crime and the topic of the crime. For example, property crimes, economic crimes, and even health and safety crimes can all be violations that may be classified as white-collar offenses. This is true when these types of actions include behaviors such as fraud, identity theft, and embezzlement, which have been justifiably classified as a white-collar offense. However, a different approach is taken when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is involved in this branch of the law. Under the jurisdiction of the FBI, crimes of this nature are deemed as “those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence.” Again, this could involve a wide range of illegal activities, some of which offenders may have been unaware that they were committing. Whether under the jurisdiction of the FBI or not, it is not outside of the realm of possibility for individuals to be falsely accused of this type of behavior.
Nature of the White-Collar Crime
One of the most challenging aspects of white-collar offenses is the very nature of the crime. There are several situations in which illegal activity could be committed under circumstances that were unintended to be unlawful. Because white-collar crimes naturally involve money and high-end business transactions, there is cause for involvement that may be innocent in nature. In these instances, one or more persons could be a part of a larger scheme they were previously unaware of. Therefore, arrests and accusations for this offense must be expertly defended in the court of law.
Classifications of this type of crime are also often dependent on the type of offender. Unlike other illegal behaviors capable of being committed by any person of any class, white-collar crimes are almost always associated with individuals of high socioeconomic status or social class. Business professionals, computer gurus, and government officials are persons in positions of power, thereby making them the ones most likely to have the means to commit these types of crimes. Unfortunately, these positions often land them in deep trouble with the law if they are accused of a white-collar crime. Although it may be unfair, it is often quickly assumed that behaviors of this nature were committed by those in positions of the most power. A strong legal defense will need to be obtained to prove that this is not necessarily the case.
Occupational, organizational, and corporate transactions are often under a great deal of scrutiny, for these are the positions in which individuals are more likely to commit a white-collar offense. However, classification in this category is dependent on more than the nature of your job (what you do daily) and the social class under which you fall. Therefore, accusations, arrests, and criminal proceedings must be based upon more than simply the aspects of your career and the socioeconomic status of your being. Unlawful behaviors of embezzlement, money laundering, and the like could be committed under your name without you being aware of the totality of what is happening. Therefore, they must be strictly monitored and vehemently defended when you have been accused of any action such as those described above. The best way to do this is by obtaining a West Palm Beach white-collar criminal lawyer who can defend your rights and freedoms in the face of the incriminating accusations that have been made in your name.
What Does “Crime” Mean To You?
While the word “crime” immediately springs to mind images of theft, rape, and murder, it also has another association that is not gruesome. White-collar crime takes place in the almost sanitized environments of an office and is committed by people one would never normally associate with any wrongdoing. These are not the typical crimes of passion-driven by emotional surges, nor are they carried out to settle scores. Instead, most white-collar crimes are carefully thought out, complex plans prompted by greed for money or power.
Mostly non-violent in nature, white-collar crimes cover a broad spectrum of transactions that may involve antitrust violations, computer frauds, credit card misuse, bankruptcy appeals, healthcare benefits, breaches of environmental laws, insurance payments, tax evasion, financial misappropriations, insider trading in stocks and shares, bribery, currency counterfeiting, embezzlement of funds or thefts of trade secrets. Tracking down white-collar crimes and those who commit them is always considered a challenging proposition because the pattern of such crimes is genuinely complicated that brings into play a series of transactions, many of which have been carefully hidden or erased.
If there is a general feeling that white-collar criminals often get away with light sentences, the surface may be the case because it is often true. And it could be thanks to the fact that they can very often afford the best legal help. The difference in the quality of the defense is possible that the disparity exists in punishment of white-collar and conventional crime offenders even though cases of fraud and embezzlement involving vast sums of money can be equally stressful and psychologically injurious. A study conducted in the United States concluded that most white-collar criminals get away with more crimes and less punishment than others. For example, white-collar offenders received an average sentence of 22 months compared to burglary and motor vehicle theft offenders who were punished for 31 and 27 months, respectively.
A more specific study conducted during the nineties laid bare the disparity in clear terms. In terms of duration of imprisonment, those incarcerated for losses above $100,000 or more due to the savings and loan scandals received an average of 36.4 months in prison. During the same period, those non-violent federal offenders who committed burglary got 55.6 months, car theft received 38 months, and first-time drug dealing averaged 65 months.
You’re In This Situation. What Can You Do?
The Law Office of Patrick R. McKamey, P.A. aggressively represents the interests of those individuals accused of white-collar offenses. Don’t wait. Start planning your defense today. Call 561-220-6708 or contact us here for a free evaluation.