blog home White-Collar Crime Why White-Collar Defense Isn’t the Same as Criminal Defense

Why White-Collar Defense Isn’t the Same as Criminal Defense

By Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on January 23, 2019

Are you under investigation for committing a white-collar crime? If so, you are probably frightened of what it might mean for your reputation. Even the suspicion of guilt can have ramifications on your career and permanently damage your life moving forward.

That’s why you shouldn’t wait to fight back. When it comes to white-collar crime, law enforcement is willing to spend months, if not years, compiling evidence and putting together a case that is seemingly beyond dispute. The sooner you hire your own legal team, the better your chances of reducing the charges against you or avoiding them altogether.

The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have decades of experience taking on charges brought by overzealous prosecutors looking to make a name for themselves. We are dedicated to defending people and have a proven track record of success getting charges dismissed, litigating cases in court, and winning them on appeal.

Contact us today at (213) 688-0460 to learn how we can help you.

What Do We Mean by White-Collar Crime?

The term “white-collar crime” has been around for a long time. It was originally coined in 1939 by sociologist Edwin Sutherland. He used it to refer to any type of crime that was committed by “a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Over the years, it has become associated with financial and business crimes. Another term that can be used to describe these types of offenses is corporate crime.

Although the specifics differ from case to case, in general, white-collar crime is associated with federal investigations and handled by federal agencies. This includes the FBI, the Secret Service, and federal prosecutors. Such cases tend to be complex, involve numerous investigators from various arms of government, and can be extremely difficult and expensive to defend.

A partial list of crimes that are considered white-collar include:

  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Insider trading
  • Embezzlement
  • Identity theft
  • Copyright infringement
  • Money laundering
  • Forgery
  • Credit card fraud
  • Extortion

The FBI has dedicated agents charged with preventing and punishing “corporate fraud,” and these crimes are among their highest priorities. The FBI states on its website: “The majority of corporate fraud cases pursued by the FBI involve accounting schemes designed to deceive investors, auditors, and analysts about the true financial condition of a corporation or business entity. Through the manipulation of financial data, the share price, or other valuation measurements of a corporation, financial performance may remain artificially inflated based on fictitious performance indicators provided to the investing public.”

How Can You Protect Yourself Against White-Collar Prosecution?

Defending yourself against corporate criminal charges is not the same as defending yourself against other charges. First of all, defending a case in federal court is more complex than at the state or local level. Moreover, in many instances, there is an overlap between federal charges and state charges, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll need to defend yourself at both levels. Even if you are cleared of all charges by the State of California, for instance, you might still be prosecuted in federal court.

You may find yourself overwhelmed, facing lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. It’s imperative that you hire a lawyer who’s familiar with these types of criminal charges. One of the first things that a federal prosecutor will try to do is freeze your assets, meaning you won’t have access to your wealth during a trial. Even if charges are dropped in the future, the government may not have to give back your money! That’s because of asset forfeiture laws, which allow the government to seize money from individuals suspected of criminal activity. The original purpose of these laws was to make it difficult for drug traffickers to hide their wealth, but there has been widespread abuse of the procedure around the country. The burden of proof is on the individual to win back their assets, another lengthy and expensive process.

A good Los Angeles white collar defense attorney will know the federal government’s tricks and will be able to protect you from being left at an unfair disadvantage. At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, we believe everyone has the right to be treated fairly. We do our utmost to protect our clients from aggressive prosecution to preserve their reputation. Contact us today at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation.

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Posted in: White-Collar Crime