White Collar Crimes

Federal White Collar Crime Defense Lawyer

When we talk about white-collar crimes at the federal level, first, you have to figure out what is a white-collar crime.  What does it mean, and what types of crimes are considered fraud?  Should you cooperate with federal agents who are investigating?  

White-collar crimes are non-violent crimes usually committed in a business or financial setting and can be charged on a state or federal level. If charged on the federal level, the FBI gets highly involved in the investigatory process. Some examples of white-collar crimes are the following:

What triggers the feds to get involved versus the state government? Who would have jurisdiction over that case?  The factors include the following:

  • It has to do with sophistication,
  • It has to do with the complexity of the crime,
  • It has to do with the dollar amount that's taken.

It's usually a lot of money being taken by an employee who sits at a high level in a business. There's some mode by way of a computer or other sophisticated means the employee uses to effectuate the crime.

What Are Federal Fraud Cases?

Federal fraud cases involve using illegal schemes to acquire goods or money, such as providing false identification or stealing someone's bank information. The Feds won't prosecute every fraud case across the country but will typically prosecute those that involve sophistication and significant amounts of money.

For example, large corporations that steal millions of dollars are more likely to be prosecuted at the federal level than at the state level.

High complexity, sophistication, and loss will make fraud issues federal matters. However, the Feds have the resources, manpower, and expertise to investigate fraud cases at the high-end level. 

The federal sentencing guidelines are used across the country. They will apply to a specific case of fraud and will depend on several factors, including:

  • The type of fraud perpetrated,
  • The amount of loss, and
  • The perpetrator's criminal record.

The higher the loss, the higher the offense level, translating to more points and longer sentences. Therefore, you need a lawyer who can obtain the relevant facts and circumstances and determine their base offense level, the aggravating factors involved, and what could potentially be used to mitigate the charge.

Why Do the Feds Prosecute White-Collar Crimes?

A white-collar crime usually involves some money – someone who sits in a position of power at a business or company, and really, they're just engaged in stealing large amounts of money, goods, whatever the case may be.

The reason the feds will become involved is because is that they're the ones that investigate the case. So if somebody who thinks they're being stolen from makes a move and calls the FBI, and the FBI investigates the case, then usually they're going to be the one who investigates that particular white-collar crime.

Other times I see the feds involved is when it involves multiple states being involved with the crime, if it involves sophistication to a level that the local authorities really can't handle, or if it involves large sums of money or goods, then the feds might get involved. 

No matter why the feds got involved in a white-collar crime, you'll need a federal criminal defense attorney with experience in dealing with these types of cases, how to defend them, how to mitigate them, and how to get you the best result. So, the first thing we do is:

  • Look at the charges and what your exposure is;
  • Look at all of the information related to the case;
  • Break it down and then talk about the best move here.

The defense lawyer will have to review all the evidence and then sit down with your loved one to discuss it and what they have. What do you have to say about this?  And then, a decision can be made about whether the case can be defended or it's the type of case where we have to work out a resolution. 

We will figure out how to mitigate the situation.  We will talk about how the probation department interviews you, gathers information for the judge, and how, in the end, it's ultimately the judge's decision of what your sentence is. Still, some things can be done to help you be in the best position to get the lowest possible sentence.

Developing a Defense Strategy

When it comes to white-collar crimes at the federal level, the first thing you have to do when you sit down with your attorney is decide exactly how you will handle the case because that will dictate everything moving forward. 

Suppose we have decided that the federal prosecutor has got a solid case against you. We're certainly not going to take an offensive posture against them if we're going to try to negotiate with them. But, on the other hand, if you take an improper posture, they will take an offensive posture back, supersede the indictment, add charges, and take a much harsher line when resolving the case.

If, on the other hand, there are some excellent issues for the defense, even though you ultimately might end up resolving it with the government, taking an offensive posture might be a good strategic move in a white-collar case to show the feds the problem with their case to that you can get charges dropped, dismissed and negotiate something better.  Or, if they don't have a good case, you can set things up to take the case to trial and beat the government in a white-collar case.

Often, pre-filing in these white-collar criminal matters and deciding exactly how we will tackle everything is the best strategy. 

So, when you see these white-collar cases, you typically talk about employees.  But you're talking about businesses, and you're talking about more elite employees who sit in higher positions, make more money, and have more decision-making power in the company.

What Are the Penalties?

So, when you're talking about the federal sentencing guidelines as it relates to white-collar crimes, there are going to be enhancements that increase the sentence for those people who are taking more significant amounts of money, who sit in a position of authority, and who are using a computer to effectuate their crime. The penalties you may face for white-collar offenses include the following:

  • fines,
  • home detention,
  • community confinement,
  • paying the cost of prosecution,
  • forfeitures,
  • restitution,
  • supervised release, and
  • imprisonment. 

Defending Federal White Collar Cases

In my opinion, to be the best, you've got to have experience with white-collar defense.  Professionals getting in trouble with the federal government are typically involved with fraudulent activity where money is stolen.  

To properly defend these cases, you'll need somebody like me, who's been doing this now for 30 years; I began practicing federal criminal defense in helping people like you deal with serious crimes where you're facing prison time served at 85%.

The first thing that we'll do is have you come into my office.  We'll sit down and go over the facts and details related to your case.  I'll suggest that you be honest and give me all of the information so I can best help you move forward. The next thing we will do in the meeting is the following:

  • Decide the game plan to defend your federal criminal case,
  • Are we going to fight the case tooth and nail through a jury trial, or
  • Is it the type of matter that makes sense that we work out some resolution with the prosecution?

Realize that in federal criminal defense and specifically in white-collar defense, in the end, whomever your judge is will decide your sentence. But, still, several different factors are at play in that decision.  First and foremost, the government will offer you a plea agreement. 

Then the Federal Sentencing Guidelines will determine where you fall as far as a range of punishment.  Ultimately, your attorney, the probation department, and the government will weigh in and send memorandums, sentencing, and objections to the judge. Finally, the judge will decide what your sentence is going to be. 

But how things are presented to the judge and how they're structured are all important in determining the result you will get in the case.

So, if you need the best if you're charged with a federal crime involving collar activity, whether it be fraud, stealing, or any type of crime where the feds have come in, you're facing multiple years in federal prison. You've come to the right place.  Pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about Federal Criminal Defense issues in Los Angeles and Encino California. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.