You’ve probably heard the phrase “white collar crime,” but if you don’t know the definition, the expression can seem a little confusing. White collar crime refers to financial or computer crimes that people were traditionally more likely to perform while working in an office job where they had access to financial data and computers, hence the name “white collar.” This generalized label includes crimes such as embezzlement, fraud, identity theft, hacking and misappropriation of funds. Of course, Vista white collar defense attorneys will all testify to the fact that people of any background commit these crimes in modern times.
White Collar Crimes Are Serious
While these crimes were not heavily enforced or punished in the past, police, prosecutors and law makers have been much more active in taking steps to stop these criminal activities in modern times. In fact, police and prosecutors now have special units dedicated exclusively to white collar criminal activities and computer crimes. This means when prosecutors bring up charges against someone for a white collar crime, they usually have ample evidence to support their case.
In addition, the penalties for these crimes have become increasingly severe in the last few decades and those convicted of white collar crimes will often face significant jail or prison sentences. Lastly, law makers continue to pass new legislation outlawing questionable activities conducted online or through other modern technologies. If you have been accused of any crime of this nature, it is critical you contact a Vista defense attorney with experience handling white collar crimes.
Computer Crime Charges
Thanks to the computerization of our modern society and easy access to sensitive data via the internet, white collar crimes no longer have to be performed in the office and these activities are now performed by people of all backgrounds and classes and from any location.
Computer crimes can range from simply using someone else’s device without their permission all the way to child molestation. Whether you have been accused of an internet sex crime or stalking someone online though, it is important to work with a Vista computer crimes lawyer in order to ensure your rights are protected. If the police perform an illegal search of your cell phone, computer or other device, it is possible this evidence could be inadmissible against you, but you’ll need an attorney to ensure that happens.
Financial and Theft Crimes
Some of the most common forms of white collar crimes are those involving the theft of money or property through non-violent methods such as fraud, blackmail or embezzlement as well as other related crimes such as money laundering, identity theft or forgery. In cases where one person has been deprived of property through fraud or other means, petty or grand theft charges will likely be charged as well based on the value of the property.
A large area of white collar prosecution is for insurance fraud. Any material lie or misrepresentation on an insurance claim is a felony. The insurance companies have investigators who compile the evidence and then turn it over to the District Attorney. Unfortunately, even withdrawing a false insurance claim won’t prevent criminal prosecution. In fact, the D.A. gets funding from insurance companies to prosecute these cases.
Consequences of White Collar Crime Convictions
The penalties you can face for a white collar crime will depend on the specific crime you have been accused of. In some circumstances, a lawyer can get smaller financial crimes reduced to misdemeanors, which are more likely to result in probation, while other offenses are likely to end in lengthy prison terms lasting decades. Even if you avoid incarceration altogether though, it is important to recognize that having a criminal conviction on your record can still hurt your future by making it much more difficult to get a job.
Additionally, the monetary consequences of white collar crimes can be devastating. Aside from the penalties associated with the crime itself, sentences often require repayment to any victims of the crime. Even corporations can be charged with crimes and the financial penalties are sometimes enough to bankrupt the whole business.
If you have been accused of a crime of this nature, it is imperative that you contact a skilled Vista white collar crimes attorney as soon as possible. Peter M. Liss can help protect your rights during the investigation and prosecution of the crime. If you have been accused of a crime of this nature, please, call our offices at (760) 643-4050.
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