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White collar crimes are nonviolent offenses that typically involve stealing, cheating or some form of fraud or dishonesty in matters related to business or commerce. Some of the more commonly prosecuted white collar crimes are embezzlement, fraud, bribery, employee theft, money laundering, forgery and other crimes.
In Illinois, the most common charge resulting from white collar criminal activity is felony theft. Any theft over $500 can be charged as a felony. It goes without saying that the greater the alleged theft, the greater the possible punishment.
White collar crimes carry severe penalties, including significant jail or prison time, large fines, restitution, permanent criminal record and other life-altering consequences. Unlike violent crimes, most white collar crimes are prosecuted by specially trained lawyers with experience in such complex matters.
If you are being investigated or have been arrested for a white collar crime, you need to consult with an experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Although when talking about so-called white collar crimes, people generally think about embezzlement, prosecutors normally charges such cases in Chicago and Illinois as theft. Theft (720 ILCS 5/16-1), is a criminal charge or offense in which someone knowingly takes property from another party without the owner’s consent. The typical embezzlement / theft case involves an employee who develops a method to steal large sums of money from the employer.
This is also known as an employee theft case. When theft occurs in a school, government building or a place of worship, maximum sentences for theft charges will be filed, and convictions can be punishable by up to 30 years in prison. As you might imagine, the more you steal, the higher the level of offense.
For example, a basic theft not exceeding $500 will generally be charged as a misdemeanor. A theft over $500 may be charged as a felony at the sole discretion of the prosecutor. As the theft amount rises, so to does the severity of the possible punishment. For example, theft of over $100,000 from a school or governmental agency is a Class X felony, punishable by up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Theft of over $500,000 from a private company or person is a crime for which probation is not available.
Most white collar crimes, embezzlement cases and large scale theft offenses also involve the offense or charge of forgery (720 ILCS 5/17-3). Forgery involves making or altering a document with intent to defraud another person. The most common forgery charge involves signing another person’s name on a check without the person’s permission.
Forgery is a Class 3 felony that is punishable by from 2-5 years prison time. In most large scale employee theft / embezzlement cases, the employee has access to the checks or credit cards of the company and forges the name of their employee in order effectuate the fraud. It is a defense to forgery if the alleged victim authorized the suspect to sign his or her name on the check or other legal document.
For example, if a person authorizes his friend to sign his name to a check or credit card application, no forgery exists. That being said, it is quite difficult for a defendant to prove that he was actually authorized to sign another person’s name when that other person is now bringing criminal charges.
Mr. Weisberg has successfully defended countless white collar crimes in Chicago and the suburbs. He has aggressively defended clients charged with large scale thefts in the millions of dollars as well as those charged with lower level cases.
Those accused of white collar crimes in the Chicago area can ensure the best possible representation in their case by securing the services of the experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney Andrew M. Weisberg. Mr. Weisberg’s goal is to help all clients get the charges against them reduced, if not dropped altogether, so they can move on with their lives.
If you or a loved one has been charged with or are being investigated for a white collar criminal offense, contact Chicago criminal defense attorney Andrew M. Weisberg to plan a strong defense. Mr. Weisberg is committed to offering the best possible defense and believes that a strong case starts with building a personalized relationship with the client.
When arrested for and facing serious criminal charges, it is critical to find a great criminal defense lawyer who is at the top of his profession. Finding an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best thing you can do to protect your reputation and avoid jail time or prison time. Mr. Weisberg handles all felony and misdemeanor charges in all Cook County courthouses including Chicago (and all branch courts), Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood (Maybrook), Bridgeview and Markham.