What is a white-collar crime?

White-collar crime, a term coined nearly 75 years ago, refers to a range of felony crimes committed by business and government officials.

White-collar crimes are usually non-violent crimes committed by a company or individual for financial gain.

In most cases these crimes are financial, but they are not victimless crimes. White-collar fraud schemes include bankruptcy fraud, computer and Internet fraud, forgery, embezzlement, bribery, credit card fraud, healthcare fraud, money laundering, piracy and intellectual property theft, hedge fun fraud, and mortgage fraud (among others).

High profile white-collar crimes cases include the Enron and Bernie Madoff scandals. In Madoff’s case, he was convicted of 11 federal felonies and admittedly turned his wealth management company into a scheme that defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars. In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison — the maximum sentence allowed.

In the Enron case, accounting executives used financial reporting loopholes to hide billions of dollars in debt, eventually leading to the bankruptcy of the company and shareholders’ losses of billions in pensions and stock.

According to the FBI, white-collar crimes cost the United States more than $300 billion annually. Penalties for these crimes do not always involve prison time, but may include fines, home detention, restitution or forfeitures.

Families of the accused often become victims themselves, suffering not only shame but also financial loss. If you have been accused of a white-collar crime, it’s important to protect your family and your assets. In this area of criminal defense, experience is key in the success of your case. A lawyer who builds a team including other professionals, such as forensic accountants, to mount your defense may mean the difference between jail time and probation.

If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, you need a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. A conviction could leave you with a permanent criminal record that could affect not only your own future, but the future of your family as well.

If you know you are the target of an investigation, do not wait until you have been charged with a crime to call an attorney. If you have been charged with embezzlement, fraud or another white-collar crime, contact Roger Haynes, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas, TX. Roger 18 years of experience in exclusively criminal law and can help you avoid the potential pain and embarrassment of a criminal conviction on your record.