White Collar Crime is a Serious Charge
Have you been charged with committing or being involved with a white collar crime? Are you unsure just what that term even means? It is a serious charge that can result in lengthly jail time and heavy fines. Your first step should be to contact a Williamson County white collar crime attorney as early as possible before you give anyone information concerning the charges against you. Your rights under law cannot be protected if you give up your right to an attorney. Many people think cooperating fully with the justice system will get them preferential treatment and help prove their innocence. This is not the case. You should always request an attorney to insure you will be awarded your rights under the law.
Choosing a criminal defense lawyer can be the most important decision you make. You should not answer any questions without your criminal attorney present. White collar crimes are some of the most difficult cases to defend. Choosing a criminal lawyer familiar with the state and federal statues for white collar crime can be instrumental in determining the outcome of a case.
What is a White Collar Crime?
The noted criminologist Edwin Sutherland first coined the phrase in the 30's. Sutherland is well known for the theory of 'differential association'. This theory states that criminal behavior is learned in association with others rather than an inherent personality trait. Sutherland's definition of white collar criminal behavior is: "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" (1939).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has their own definition that is more narrowly defined 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" (1989)
White collar crimes are sometimes referred to as corporate crimes. These can consist of:
- Identity theft
- Securities fraud
- Computer crime
- Insurance Fraud
- Mail Fraud
- Government Fraud
- Public Corruption
- Money Laundering
- Credit card fraud
- Tax evasion
- Public corruption
- Antitrust Violations
- Insider trading
As you can see, it's a long list. Steve Hesse is a Georgetown criminal lawyer experienced in all facets of defending white collar offenses. Based on his knowledge of white collar crime and years of working with the Williamson county Criminal Justice system, he focuses on two outcomes: getting a dismissal of all criminal charges and winning your case if it goes to trial.
Federal and State Sentencing Guidelines
White collar crimes can be prosecuted on either the state or federal level, depending on what kind of law was broken. Penalties for white collar crimes vary. Sentencing is dependent on the amount of money involved in the fraudulent activity and there are no firm rules in determining this amount. Convictions usually result in jail time, large fines and restitution to the victims of the crime. In state jurisdictions sentences are normally lighter than the maximum sentences allowed for the crime. The latest numbers show the mean sentence for fraud is 12 months; embezzlement, 9.9 months; bribery, 16.2 months; tax offenses, 16.6 months; antitrust fraud, 12.7 months; and money laundering, 46.3 months.
If the white collar crime is considered a federal offense mandatory federal sentencing guidelines come into play. Federal sentencing guidelines which give judges very limited discretion have been around since 1987. Largely in response to the high profile corporate fraud cases around the turn of the century, sentencing was stiffened in 2002. The maximum punishment for wire and mail fraud, the most common white-collar infractions, was increased from 5 to 20 years. Sentencing Commission statistics show that the rates of incarceration for certain white collar crimes are greater than those for criminals who possess drugs or firearms. In comparison the maximum federal punishment for voluntary manslaughter is ten years.
To speak with a white collar criminal attorneyabout your defense alternatives, call Steve Hesse at 512-930-2120 or fill out the contact form on this page for a free consultation.