Embezzlement. Money laundering. Bribery. Blackmail. Counterfeiting. Fraud. Extortion. Tax evasion. What do they all have in common?
They are all considered white collar crimes.
What’s a white collar crime, you ask? Well, a white collar crime usually involves a person or people lying, cheating, or stealing money from someone else, most often a business or corporation. More technically, they’re financial, corporate, or economic crimes usually carried out by complex means. These offenses can result in the loss of huge sums of money, and it’s not uncommon for offenders to gain a certain notoriety.
And they’re called white collar crimes these types of offenses are typically carried out by people who work in offices, and office workers traditionally wore white collared shirts to work because they were less likely to get their shirts dirty. However, these days anyone can commit a white collar crime and it isn’t limited to just office workers.
So regardless of whether you’re an office worker or not, if you’ve been accused of a white collar crime, it’s imperative to contact a skilled white collar criminal attorney. Why? Because white collar cases usually have long investigations before they make an arrest, and any move you make could be detrimental to your case.
Here are some common strategies that would be beneficial to your case.
Don’t discuss your case with anyone but your attorney. Once someone learns they are under investigation or have been charged with a crime, it’s common to want to defend yourself and explain what you were or weren’t actually doing. Fight this urge. Your attorney should be the only one you speak to about details of the case. Don’t talk to your friends, neighbors, law enforcement officers, government agents, or even your spouse. Simply say, “I have an attorney and I’m not going to talk about this.” If you talk, anything you say can be used to convict you.
Be honest with your attorney. In some cases, an attorney might not need or want to know specific details of a case if it involves violence or drugs. With a white collar crime, your attorney needs to know everything. Since white collar crimes usually come down to intent, your attorney needs to know if lack of intent is a valid defense for your case. It might be difficult or embarrassing to tell your lawyer every single fact about your charges, but with your freedom at stake, you should be able to get over that quickly.
Obtain all of the information you can. Your attorney needs to have all of the information regarding your case as early as possible. This could mean talking to the prosecutor and any willing witnesses. While the prosecutor isn’t required to discuss their case, he or she might do it anyways, especially if you aren’t the primary target for their investigation. What the prosecutor says could greatly help your lawyer determine their plan of attack. The same thing goes for witnesses. Your attorney should be able to figure out where the investigation is going based on what witnesses are being questioned about.
White collar crime penalties can be especially harsh depending on what you are being accused of and how much money or property has been lost. But no matter what, you should contact an experienced attorney, keep these strategies in mind, and fight against your charges so you can get back to your life.
About The Author:
Howard J. Wise, the owner of the Illinois-based Law Offices of Howard J. Wise & Associates, is a criminal defense attorney who stands ready to assist clients in many different areas of the law, including criminal appeals, DUI, misdemeanors, traffic violations, and felonies. Mr. Wise began his legal career at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office as the assistant state attorney, where he was able to gain unique prosecutorial experience. He then transitioned to criminal defense and currently devotes his practice exclusively to protecting the rights of those accused of crime.