What Do You Do If You Have Been Charged for a White-Collar Crime?

What Do You Do If You Have Been Charged for a White-Collar Crime?

April 7, 2021 Off By Glespynorson

White collar crimes are non-violent crimes generally committed by office workers. White collar crimes include fraud, corruption, and money laundering. While these crimes don’t kill or maim people, they can ruin lives as anyone who had their bank account drained, and their retirement savings stolen can attest. Yet the very nature of these crimes makes it easy for someone to be falsely accused of them. Here’s what to do if you have been charged with a white-collar crime.

Hire Expert Legal Counsel

You must hire white collar crime lawyers to defend you. The expertise involved in defending someone from allegations of mortgage fraud or money laundering is very different from what is involved in defending someone from allegations of theft or burglary. Furthermore, you need attorneys who have a track record of defending clients accused of what you’re accused of, whether it is healthcare fraud, identity theft or securities fraud.

You should hire an attorney as soon as you realize you are under investigation. Their advice may help you protect your lawful accounts or prevent you from taking steps that inadvertently incriminate you. Don’t respond to press inquiries. Don’t attend meetings to give your side of the story without legal counsel. Don’t try to defend yourself to friends at work, because you don’t know who is reporting these conversations to your accuser.

Gather Evidence on Your Behalf

Whether you’re accused of white-collar crime by your employer or the government, it is amazing how much evidence they can gather before they’ve even informed you of the allegations. The sheer imbalance of power is how innocent people can be accused of such crimes. A good attorney will help you gather evidence on your behalf, whether it is making copies of emails directing you to do something or documenting in-person conversations.  Get the contact information of peers who can defend your actions as standard practice at work or in your industry as a whole. Identify anyone who can say you violated standard procedure under duress such as when your boss threatened to fire you if you didn’t do so.

Fight the Charges

Prosecutors are more likely to aggressively pursue white collar crimes fraud under $5000 than they would have twenty years ago. Judges and juries are more likely to slap the accused with the harshest penalties, too, after cases like Bernie Madoff’s. However, that doesn’t mean you have to agree to the first plea offer extended by the prosecution. You can fight the charges, no matter what they are. And you should fight, regardless of whether or not you’ve already been found guilty in the court of public opinion.

What if you’re guilty? You can still fight a jail sentence, asking for home detention, fines and civil forfeiture instead. After all, if you can make your victims whole, there is less justification for putting you in prison for years. And there is no justification for spending more time in prison for embezzlement than a rapist because a prosecutor wants to get good press coverage.