When most people think of crime, they think of robberies or shootings. However, there is a whole other area of crime covering illegal acts that occur during the course of running a business or investing in the stock market. These crimes are referred to as “white collar” crimes.In some cases, people commit white collar offenses without even knowing they are doing so. Although white collar crime can take many different forms, they all share a common scheme: the use of fradulent activity for pecuniary gain.
The Typical Charges in White Collar Cases
One of the main types of white collar offense is securities fraud. This usually happens in insider trading scenarios. If someone is charged with insider trading, the government is basically accusing them of trading on the stock market using an insider tip that was obtained through some sort of breach of a fiduciary duty. You may have been accused of insider trading but have perfectly reasonable and legal explanations for your conduct. In such a case, it is best to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the nuances in these types of cases.
You don’t have to just “give in” to the government when you are charged with such an offense. There are several defenses which may apply to your situation. The government has the burden of proving you have violated the law, and the facts must be in their favor to obtain a conviction. As such, insider trading cases are highly fact dependent. Thus, proving or disproving the presence of certain facts is often the first line of defense. Our law office will thoroughly investigate the factual background in a case to find out if government prosecutors really have what they need to get a conviction.
One example of how much one little fact can change a case is seen in the case SEC v. Zachariah. In that case, the defense prevailed because the government could not prove that the company’s CEO provided information to the defendant prior to the execution of the trades. Prosecutors were unable to obtain evidence showing that the defendant had communications with the CEO during the period in question, and that alone absolved the defendant of culpability.
Another possible defense strategy is to attack the prosecution’s assertion that the information in question was not available to the public at large. In today’s internet age, information is disseminated at a rapid pace. Even things thought to be of the utmost private nature can be found on online bulletin boards, forums, and social media sites. Due to availability of various streams of information, a defendant could have the opportunity to challenge this element by showing the same info was available to the investing public.
An additional defense may apply if the defense can show that the defendant had no reason to know that the info was obtained from a breach of duty. In some cases, the prosecution must show that the person who acted on the tip should or should’ve known that the information emanated from a breach of duty. Usually, circumstantial evidence is presented to show that the defendant possesed the requisite knowledge. You can fight back against this by showing that your prior trading history supports such a decision or that some other reason prompted you to make the trade.
There are additional ways to create an effective defense strategy against insider trading. As every possible scneario cannot be presented here, consider speaking with our law office if you are charged with this type of white collar crime.
The Crime of Embezzlement
Another very common type of white collar offense is embezzlement. Often this involves abusing a duty owed to an employer. Crimes which fall into this category include stealing money from the company, misusing company or client funds, or even falsifying overtime hours. The prosecution will have to prove that the defendant was in a position of authority within the organization, that he or she converted the property without the company’s consent, and that the act was meant to be permanent in nature.
Fraud in the White Collar Context
General fraudulent activity can be a white collar offense in many scenarios. For example, many types of Ponzi schemes are prosecuted as fraud. Another act which falls into this category is that of defrauding a bank. Fraud can be applied to a variety of situations, and if you are accused of such an act contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
The above offenses are not the only types of financial crimes. Other offenses include:
- Investment Schemes
- Tax Evasion
- Insurance Fraud
- Blackmail and Extortion
- Credit Card Fraud
- Fraudulent Insurance Schemes
If you are under arrest, or being investigated for any of the above offenses, is crucial that you work on your defense from the very beginning. You may contact our office for a thorough evaluation of your case. The government is very serious about these crimes. Get the help you need as soon as possible.