Whether your white-collar crime is handled in federal or state court depends upon the nature of the crime and whether the offense involved a federal agency.
Understanding White-Collar Crime
White-collar crime, as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), comprises a broad range of nonviolent crimes. They are typically committed with some type of financial motive in some form of commercial setting.
Types of Federal White-Collar Crimes
The following list compiles various white-collar offenses that are considered federal crimes because they crossed state lines, involved a federal agency, or involved some element of the banking system:
- Identity theft
- Mail fraud
- Tax fraud
- Antitrust violations
- Immigration law violations
- Wire fraud
- Bank fraud
- Internet crimes
- Money laundering
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Environmental crime
Types of State-Level White-Collar Crimes
These crimes constitute state-level white-collar offenses because the fraud takes place within state boundaries or involves a state agency:
- Mortgage fraud
- Workers’ compensation fraud
- Auto insurance fraud
- Probation violations
- Healthcare fraud
- Unemployment insurance fraud
Note that it is also possible for a single crime to be charged at both federal and state levels.
Regulation of White-Collar Crimes
The government is serious about prosecuting white-collar offenders, which explains why so many branches of the government are involved in curtailing this type of offense. Legislators at both the federal and state level decide which activities count as white-collar crimes. Several federal agencies, like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) enforce federal white-collar crimes, while states enforce state white-collar crimes within their own appointed agencies.
Penalties for White-Collar Crimes
Usually, an individual is charged with a white-collar offense. It is possible, however, for the government to sanction companies for their participation in this type of crime.
Individuals can be penalized in a variety of ways, including:
- Paying prosecution fees and costs
- Home detention
- Supervised release
- Community confinement
If you are convicted of a federal white-collar crime, you will likely face harsher penalties for your offense than you would with a state-level white-collar crime.
Notable “Recent” Regulatory Changes
In relatively recent years, the government has broadened the scope of white-collar crime.
In 2006, the Stolen Valor Act was established by President George W. Bush. This legislation makes it an act of public fraud and a federal crime to falsely claim having received and of the following medals and decorations:
- Medal of Honor
- Purple Heart
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Air Force Cross
- Navy Cross
In 1975, the Supreme Court established the “Responsible Corporate Officer” (RCO) doctrine. It states that a high-ranking corporate officer can pay the price of a guilty conviction for a white-collar crime, even if they had no part in or even knowledge of the crime itself. The doctrine is justified with the presumption that the person serving in such a prominent role should be aware of what is going on in their corporation.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Defend a White-Collar Crime Case
While it is important to consider whether a white-collar crime is handled in federal or state court, your best bet either way for staying out of jail and avoiding crippling fines is to avoid getting convicted. The government sees white-collar crime as being extremely costly, and they approach the prosecution of these offenses very seriously. A person who has been charged with such a crime should consider the benefits that a criminal defense lawyer brings to the table:
- They will launch a private investigation of your case.
- They will obtain all documentation related to your arrest, including search warrants and arrest records.
- They will strategize ways to block or otherwise challenge the evidence that the prosecution is using to build a case against you.
Much of the investigative work for your case will involve the ability to read, interpret, and analyze complex legal and financial transactions. Your lawyer should be able to follow a long paper trail with all its twists and turns to arrive at the right document or transaction that will vindicate you of these charges.
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Can Help You Fight Your White-Collar Crime Charge
Attorney David McKenzie is a former prosecutor who knows how both federal and state prosecutors work to build a case against you. He will leave no stone unturned to find the evidence to improve the outcome of your case, from reducing your charge to having your charges dismissed completely.
Within the firm, our attorneys have defended many white-collar crimes. We have the knowledge and the resolve to stand up to obstinate and single-minded prosecutors who are very eager to make a strong example of you with hefty fines and/or a stiff prison sentence regardless of whether your white-collar crime is handled in federal or state court.
We will aggressively defend your legal rights and work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome for you. Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today for a free legal case review and consultation: (610) 680-7842.