White Collar crimes are crimes that usually occur in a business setting. They are non-violent crimes that involve money, fraud and dishonesty. The deliberate deception for unlawful gain. Usually, someone who has been charged with this type of crime does not have a criminal history. They are doctors, CEO's of corporations, bookkeepers, accounts, and payroll clerks, people working in the business world. They are our friends and family members who, for a variety of reasons, make a bad decision to commit a crime. Often, these people don't view what they are doing as a serious crime. They often are able to justify their actions based on feelings of unfair treatment in their working environment. Or, in some situations, feel that they have not been compensated fairly and without thinking it through, decide to compensate themselves because they believe it is due them.
The Federal Government, District Attorney’s Office and The City Prosecutor’s Office take these types of crimes very seriously. The punishments can be very severe, depending upon the amount of money involved, the number of felony charges and prior "like felonies". If convicted, you could be looking at up to five years in State Prison and $150,000.00 in fines and restitution. However, if you have prior felony convictions for the same type of crime, both the prison time exposure and the amount of the fine can be increased. This is called an enhancement and is explained in more detail below.
White Collar Crime Enhancements: Also referred to as "Aggravated White Collar Crime enhancements" may be imposed if you are convicted of two or more felonies in the same criminal proceeding. This can mean that there were two or more separate victims or two or more felonies against the same victim on two or more occasions. The enhancement may also be imposed if you have two or more prior convictions for the same or similar crime. This is referred to as "a pattern of like felonies". The enhancement can increase your prison time by two to five years.
An "enhancement" may be imposed whenever the value of the crime is $100,000.00 or more. If the value is determined to be $500,000.00 or more, an additional term of 2, 3 or 5 years may be added and, the amount of the fine may be doubled.
White-collar crimes such as embezzlement, are very complicated due to the amount of paperwork and the time required to trace multiple transactions, often over a period of years. This can result in numerous transactions being attributed to the accused because the detailed investigation required is not done properly. Because each transaction is considered a separate charge, an aggressive criminal defense attorney will pour over every detail, along with the help of his client, to trace each transaction. This will often times result in multiple charges being dismissed. The prosecution has the burden of proving that each transaction being alleged in the Complaint is a result of the defendant’s actions. There are paper trails that must be followed and explained. This is why it is imperative that anyone being charged with a white-collar crime employs the services of an experienced attorney who knows exactly what is involved in defending such charges.