White collar crimes are non-violent crimes that are typically rooted in motivation for financial gain. It was a term that was first coined in 1939 by a sociologist named Edwin H. Sutherland, who defined white collar crimes as acts that are “committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.”
White collar crimes can take many forms and accusations can be mounted against a variety of different individuals, including politicians, government employees, corporate professionals, bankers and individuals who hold other “white collar” positions, ranging from accountants and stock brokers to doctors and even fellow attorneys. Some cases are prosecuted on a state level, while other white collar crimes could be prosecuted at a federal level.
In Florida, white collar crimes may carry some serious penalties, including lengthy prison terms. These cases often involve some well-educated individuals, and the circumstances of the case are frequently very complex, involving elements of deception, fraud, corruption, and theft. White collar crimes are generally committed during the course of an individual’s work, which means that a conviction can have a devastating impact on the individual’s career (in addition to all other areas of that person’s life.)
If you have been accused of a white collar crime, you need to trust your case to an experienced legal professional who can leverage many years of experience, combined with refined strategies and extensive legal knowledge. Established by two attorneys with more than a half-century of combined legal experience, the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman are prepared to defend your case. We serve clients throughout Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach County and Martin County, Florida.
Our elite team of defense lawyers are ready to discuss your case in a fully confidential consultation session. Contact The Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman by calling (561) 838-9793.
Common Questions and Concerns Following an Arrest for White Collar Crimes
Many individuals who are accused of a white collar crime are law-abiding citizens who have never been in trouble with the law before. As such, the experience of being criminally charged can be extremely distressing. You may also be left with many questions and concerns, but this is where our legal team is happy to assist as we place a great deal of emphasis on keeping our clients informed and educated throughout the legal process. The following are a few of the most common questions and concerns that we address.
What Are the Most Common White Collar Crimes?
White collar crimes take many forms, and they often involve an element of fraud or theft. Some of the most common white collar criminal charges that we see include the following:
computer and internet fraud;
financial and accounting fraud;
commodities and futures fraud;
credit card fraud;
theft of trade secrets;
These are amongst the most common charges that we see filed in connection with a white collar crimes case. These charges are often filed as the result of a grand jury investigation.
How Are White Collar Crimes Different from Other Criminal Offenses?
White collar crimes often play out in a very different manner from other types of criminal cases. In the case of an assault, a theft or a drug charge, it is not uncommon for the suspect to be arrested following an encounter with police. In a majority of these cases, someone calls 911, the police respond, they investigate, and an arrest is made as a result of that investigation.
White collar crimes often play out in a very different manner from violent crimes, drug crimes or other criminal offenses. The case may be reported to the authorities, who then conduct an investigation into the case. Many white collar crimes are extremely complex, so it is not uncommon for an investigation to span several weeks, months or even longer.
The case may ultimately be referred to the prosecutor’s office, where a prosecutor reviews the case and makes a decision as to whether to file an indictment. Due to the complexity of many white collar crimes, grand jury investigations are not uncommon.
If the grand jury and/or prosecutor feels that the case is viable, it is fairly typical for a suspect to be provided with an opportunity to turn themselves in or they may be issued a court summons. A traditional arrest may also occur, where the police are dispatched to the party’s location to take him or her into custody.
What is a Grand Jury Investigation and How Do They Relate to White Collar Crimes?
White collar crimes are rarely “cut and dry.” In many instances, a prosecutor may be uncertain as to whether sufficient grounds exist to successfully prosecute a case. In these instances, they may opt to conduct grand jury proceedings.
Grand juries serve an important role in our criminal justice system, as they hold the power to subpoena and review documents and other evidence in a case. They also have the power to subpoena witnesses, who are subsequently called forth to offer testimony.
Once the investigation is complete, the grand jury may decide that there are insufficient grounds to proceed. Or, they may opt to issue an indictment. If this occurs, formal criminal charges will be filed against the individual in question, and the case will proceed to trial (unless, of course, the case is resolved before this point, as in the case of a plea agreement, for example.)
It is important to contact an attorney if you are involved in a grand jury investigation. When testifying before a grand jury, you are not typically permitted to have an attorney present, although it is usually permissible for the individual to leave the room to meet with their lawyer as needed during the proceedings. Your attorney can offer invaluable guidance when testifying before a grand jury, so it is essential that you retain an experienced white collar crimes defense lawyer to assist with your case.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Defense Lawyer for a White Collar Crimes Case?
Legal fees are impacted by variables such as the complexity of your case and the amount of time and effort required to arrive at a resolution. For this reason, it’s difficult to provide an average figure that would be accurate for a majority of clients. We recommend contacting our law firm to discuss your case in a no-cost consultation session. Call (561) 838-9793.
What counts as a white collar crime in West Palm Beach?
Tax fraud, securities fraud, embezzlement, improper prescribing of prescription medication, mortgage fraud, perjury, the filing of a false federal application, certain types of immigration fraud, bank fraud, and many other forms of fraud. One usually associates a white collar crime from drug and street level crimes and crimes of violence.
Are white collar crimes considered a misdemeanor or a felony?
They can be both, most, however, are felonies.
At what point does white collar crime become a federal crime?
When it involves interstate commerce, if one uses the mail or a telephone to assist in the crime, it can become federal, if the crime encompasses transactions that occur in more than one state it can become a federal offense.
How does embezzlement differ from just theft?
With embezzlement, one is usually in a position of trust or holds a fiduciary responsibility.
Can an actual company commit a white collar crime?
Yes, a corporation can commit a crime.
What should I do when charged with a white collar crime in West Palm Beach?
Contact a lawyer immediately and do not speak with law enforcement without an attorney. Do not speak with anybody about the facts of your case.
What should you look for in a West Palm Beach white collar crime attorney?
Experience in the field, sometimes knowledge of the industry in which the crime occurred can be very helpful.
Turn to a Top Palm Beach Law Firm for Help Defending You from Accusations of a White Collar Crime
White collar crimes can be very challenging to defend due to the factual complexity of many cases, combined with the prominent status of certain clients. While in some instances, an individual’s prominence can be favorable, it’s also possible for one’s prominence to work against them, resulting in challenges such as difficulties finding an impartial jury.
At the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman, we have lots of experience defending individuals who have been accused of white collar crimes. Lawyers with our firm have the experience and the refined strategies required to mount an aggressive defense and offer sound legal advice that will maximize your chances of seeing a favorable resolution to your case. We understand the impact that a white collar crime — particularly if it’s prosecuted as a felony — can have on your reputation and on your personal life and relationships. Facing a white collar crime can be extremely stressful, but seeking representation from an experienced legal counsel can go a long way toward helping to alleviate much of your concern, while even saving money on legal fees since we may be able to resolve your case faster (and more favorably) than if you had pursued another avenue.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime in South Florida, contact the Palm Beach defense lawyers with the Law Offices of Hutchinson & Huffman. We’re happy to provide confidential, no-cost case evaluation. For a free consultation, call (561) 838-9793.