How to Protect Yourself and Fight against White Collar Charges
Just because a crime doesn’t involve violence, that doesn’t mean the penalties will be any less severe.
If you commit a white collar crime – a nonviolent, financially motivated crime such as fraud, embezzlement, bribery, money laundering, forgery, and others – you could be punished with a number of consequences, including:
- Expensive fines as high as $1 million for certain offenses such as bank fraud
- Lengthy prison sentences
- Restitution – paying back the money you appropriated for yourself to the rightful owner
- Asset forfeiture – giving up the stolen money or property
- House arrest
- Supervised probation or release
With such serious penalties, it’s important to hire an experienced Illinois white collar crimes attorney to have the best chance at defending your charges.
White collar crime investigations tend to be detailed and complex, often involving different law enforcement agencies. For this reason, it’s necessary to have a qualified lawyer by your side who not only understands the particulars of these specialized crimes but also knows the best strategies to utilize to defend them.
If you discover that you are under investigation for a white collar crime, make it a point not to disclose any information to anyone, including your spouse and other family members. If you did something wrong and you told another person, that information could later be used against you. Instead, find yourself a skilled lawyer whom you can trust, and then tell them everything you know.
Armed with this information and knowledge of the law, your lawyer will be able to defend you by potentially using one of these common white collar crime defense strategies.
Strategies a Skilled Criminal Lawyer May Be Able Use to Defend against White Collar Charges
Lack of intent. One of the cornerstones of white collar crimes is that the alleged offender’s actions were intentional. In other words, the offender knew what he or she was doing and it was not accidental.
It is the prosecution’s job to prove that you intended to deceive someone for financial gain. If your lawyer can prevent the prosecution from proving intent, then you can’t be found guilty of your offense.
Lack of knowledge. This defense strategy is similar to showing lack of intent. If you didn’t have knowledge that what you were doing was a criminal act, then you couldn’t have intended to commit the crime you are being accused of. Also, because white collar crimes might involve numerous parties and levels of deception, you might have been completely unaware of your part in any unlawful activities.
Entrapment. Entrapment is when a law enforcement official induces someone to commit a crime they otherwise would not have committed. For an entrapment defense to stick, along with an officer inducing the crime, the defendant had to lack the predisposition to engage in criminal conduct to begin with.
Duress. If you committed an unlawful act because you were under duress, you might be able to use that to your advantage. To successfully use a duress defense, you have to show four elements:
- There was a threat of serious bodily harm or death;
- The threat was imminent or immediate;
- The threat created reasonable fear in the defendant; and
- There weren’t reasonable means for the defendant to escape the threat except by committing the crime.
Only a Knowledgeable White Collar Crimes Attorney Can Help You Craft the Strongest Possible Defense
As mentioned above, white collar crimes can be complicated, which means defending them can also be complicated. Reach out to a knowledgeable Illinois white collar crimes attorney today to make defending your charges a little easier.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.