White-Collar Crime Defense: How to Defend Against White Collar Criminal Charges
“White-collar crime” is a hot-button issue in the modern era. Over the last couple of decades, federal and state prosecutors have been aggressively pursuing white-collar criminal investigations, seeking to “throw the book” at anyone even vaguely associated with an alleged white-collar criminal conspiracy, often more to score political points than out of any actual desire to protect the populace. If you are facing white-collar criminal charges, it’s important to respond appropriately to avoid paying heavy fines and spending years, if not decades, in prison. Continue reading for tips on how to defend against white-collar criminal allegations, and reach out to an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as you can if you are facing an investigation for white-collar crimes or other crimes in Illinois.
What Are White-Collar Crimes?
“White-collar” is an umbrella term referring to a number of nonviolent crimes typically involving some type of financial manipulation. Common white-collar crimes include various types of fraud (securities fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud, insurance fraud), computer crimes, embezzlement, money laundering, counterfeiting, identity theft, or tax evasion. Although these are nonviolent crimes, the penalties can nevertheless be extremely severe. The penalty ranges often depend on the amount of money involved and/or the number of specific instances of fraudulent behavior, which can lead to absurd calculations of decades-long prison sentences for a single alleged conspiracy.
Common Defense Strategies to White-Collar Criminal Allegations
If you are facing white-collar criminal charges, the first thing to do is contact a seasoned white-collar criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you have solid representation on your side, the better your chances will be to undermine the prosecution’s case, reduce the possible penalties, and potentially see the case dropped entirely. Several defenses can come into play in defending against white-collar criminal allegations, including:
- Lack of criminal intent. Many criminal charges, including various types of fraud, require that the defendant deliberately intended to defraud the alleged victim. Accidental conduct, such as committing financial oversights, is not criminal fraud. Undermining the prosecution’s proof of intent can often poke significant holes in the prosecution’s case.
- Lack of knowledge. White-collar cases often involve many different defendants with different roles in the alleged “scheme.” A given defendant may be able to show that they were unaware of the broader alleged scheme, or that they were unaware of any criminal activity at all. In the case of forgery, embezzlement, or other charges, it’s easy for someone to unwittingly help a criminal conspiracy without realizing anything untoward is happening.
- Statute of limitations. Criminal charges have a time limit. White-collar criminal cases can take years to build. If the defendant’s conduct occurred years before the charges were brought, and there’s no provable conspiracy tying the defendant to any more recent conduct, then the charges could get dismissed by the court.
- Police misconduct and evidence issues. Police must follow strict procedures when collecting and storing evidence. If evidence was collected through an illegal search and seizure, or if the evidence was not kept secure once obtained, then it might not be admissible against the defendant.
White-collar cases tend to be complex, as difficult to prosecute as they are to defend. If you are facing a white-collar investigation, make sure you have a savvy Illinois criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Call a Seasoned Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago and Carol Stream
If you or someone you care about is facing white-collar or other criminal charges in Illinois, protect your future and your family by seeking representation from experienced, knowledgeable Chicagoland criminal defense lawyers. Contact the Carol Stream offices of Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt at 630-665-9600.