The FBI website tells us that white-collar crimes are synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. The crimes are often carried out with deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. The driving force behind the commission of white collar crimes is financial gain.
Four of the more common white-collar crimes include: mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement. The penalties for these crimes are quite serious, and if you are facing any of these charges, you must contact an experienced fraud attorney today. Legal defenses are available and your freedom and rights demand protection.
Mail Fraud Under Federal Law
Mail fraud describes a scheme or fraudulent activity that’s carried out with the use of the United States mail, or any other interstate mail carrier. In order to prove that a person is guilty of mail fraud, a prosecutor must show that: (1) a person used a scheme to defraud others; (2) the person made statements or omissions that had a tendency to influence another person to part with money or property; (3) the person acted with the intent to deceive or cheat; and, (4) used the mail to carry out that scheme. Victims of mail fraud include individuals, banks, the government, and businesses. The crime of mail fraud is a federal offense.
Wire Fraud Under Federal Law
Wire fraud can get a little complicated and involves some tricky legal concepts. It’s a crime that is similar to mail fraud but involves communication over wires instead of through the mail. In general, it involves a scheme to defraud that’s carried out with the use of electronic communications, such as: the telephone, computers, internet, cell phones and interstate wires. The crime is often broken down into four elements and a prosecutor must prove all four to convict a person of the crime. These elements are: (1) a person created or joined a scheme to defraud an entity for financial gain; (2) the scheme was carried out to defraud others; (3) the person had reasonable knowledge that wire communications were necessary to complete the fraud; and, (4) interstate or foreign wire communications were used for the fraud. Like mail fraud, wire fraud is a federal offense.
Bank Fraud Under Federal Law
Bank fraud is also a federal offense and it generally means any scheme or plan to defraud a bank or other financial institution. Committing fraud against a bank basically means a person uses deceit, dishonesty, or some form of trickery to obtain money, credit, security, or any other asset. Bank fraud can be as simple as a person depositing a forged check. The crime can also involve very complicated schemes and complex transactions.
Money Laundering Under Washington Law
The laundering of money is perhaps best understood by thinking of the crime as including two acts. The first involves a person obtaining money from an unlawful activity – for example, theft or the sale of drugs. The second involves the person transferring the money to conceal its location, source, or nature.
Let’s consider an example. If a person obtains $10,000 from the sale of drugs, he has committed a crime and received money from an unlawful activity. This is the first act within money laundering. If nothing further is done with the money, then we don’t have a case involving laundering. However, if the person now makes small deposits of the money into different bank accounts over an extended amount of time, to conceal where it came from, then that person has now committed the crime of money laundering.
Embezzlement Under Washington Law
Embezzlement is committed when an individual, in a position of trust or responsibility over another person’s property or money, fraudulently takes that property or money for himself. For example, consider an accountant that works for a company. Due to the employer/employee relationship between the accountant and the company, the accountant is responsible for the company’s money. If the accountant starts skimming money from the company’s accounts and deposits this money into his own personal account, then he’s technically embezzling money.
Penalties for White-Collar/Fraud Crimes
The penalties for these types of crimes are indeed harsh. They could include:
- Potentially decades in jail
- Substantial fines
- Home detention
- Restitution payments
In general, fines will increase as the complexity of the crimes increase. The same holds true regarding the value of money involved.
Defenses for Mail and Wire Fraud
A person charged with a white-collar crime is not without hope. Legal defenses to these crimes do exist. For example, fraud charges can get dismissed or reduced upon a showing that the government failed in its investigation. “Failure” here means that the government did not gather enough facts to prove its case, or it violated procedural rules in its collection of evidence.
No matter the defense used, however, please know that it will require a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to challenge fraud charges. The white-collar crime attorneys at Black & Askerov have the skill and experience you’re looking for. They have over three decades of combined experience defending clients on fraud charges. They are smart in their work and passionate in their representation. Contact them today and get the assistance you deserve.