White Collar Crimes-What to Do If You Are Charged

A white collar crime differs dramatically from most other types of criminal offenses. Typically, the charges arise because of your access to property or funds, as a result of your position in a corporation or business. You may find yourself under investigation for fraud, or for other white collar crimes, such as embezzlement or misappropriation of funds or misuse of property, based on the allegations of others who disagree with your policies or positions, or who have something to gain from your downfall. The allegations may stem from highly subjective interpretations of complex financial transactions or from assumptions based on access to limited information. In these situations, it becomes critical to have an experienced lawyer to defend you.

Types of White Collar Crimes

White collar crimes include:

• Most types of fraud, such as bank or insurance fraud, wire or mail fraud, health care or bankruptcy fraud.
• Embezzlement, or the taking of company funds or property for personal use without permission
• Money laundering, or taking money obtained from illegal acts and making it appear to be legally obtained
• Forgery, involving the falsification of documents or the falsification of a signature to obtain goods, services or cash
• Identity theft, including taking the name, credit or other personal information of another person for private gain

Protecting Your Rights

Your first inclination when you find yourself under investigation for a white collar crime may be to try to “clear things up” with law enforcement officers or prosecutors. You may erroneously believe that all everyone needs is a clear explanation of how things work, and the problem will be resolved. The best thing you can do, however, is to immediately contact an attorney, who will then become your liaison with the outside world. Unfortunately, police and prosecutors view their role as the protectors of society. Though you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, police and prosecutors tend to look only for evidence of guilt, not for evidence of innocence.

The most important rule to remember when you have been charged with a white collar crime is that you have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to speak with police or prosecutors without having your attorney present, and even when you do, you can refuse to answer their questions.

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania white collar crime attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-233-5292. Se habla Espãnol.

White Collar Crime in Pennsylvania

The term “white collar crime” was first coined by Edwin Hardin Sutherland in 1939 to describe illegal acts committed by individuals within the scope of their employment. Professor Sutherland also considered white collar crimes to be committed only by persons “of high social status and respectability.” Today, the term is used to refer to a wide range of wrongful acts, most of which are related to the alleged perpetrator’s access to money or property due to their occupation. Certain types of corporate offenses, including violation of environmental laws, are often categorized as white collar crimes.

White collar crimes can be state or federal offenses. For example, violations of federal statutes, such as price fixing or creating monopolies as prohibited by the Sherman Act or the Clayton Act, can result in prosecution for a white collar crime. The bulk of white collar crimes fall under the category of fraud, including:

• Bank fraud
• Credit card fraud
• Computer or Internet fraud
• Wire fraud
• Insurance fraud
• Healthcare fraud
• Bankruptcy fraud
• Securities fraud

To convict you of fraud, a prosecutor must show that you intentionally made a misrepresentation of material fact. In other words, it must be shown that you knew or had reason to know that the statements you made were false. It must also be shown that the misrepresentation was with respect to an essential element of a transaction. Furthermore, fraud requires that the person injured reasonably relied on what you told them. If a reasonable person would not have believed it, there cannot be fraud. Finally, the injured party must show that they actually lost something.

Other types of conduct that fall under white collar crime include embezzlement, forgery, bribery, extortion and money laundering.
If you are under investigation for or have been charged with a white collar crime, the two most important things you should do are:

Hire an attorney
• Exercise your right to remain silent

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call us at 717-233-5292. We speak Spanish and understand the impact a criminal charge can have on your efforts to become or remain a permanent citizen.

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