In the past years, white collar crimes referred to crimes committed by respectable persons and people topmost in the social strata. They are hardly your typical hardened criminals. They have good reputation in the business circles they move around and one that hardly responds to a description of committing a crime. In today’s world and generation, the essence and meaning of white collar crimes remain the same, except that it has expanded its spectrum of criminal activities as aided by technology in covering up or hiding the anomalous acts. White collar crimes, unlike blue collar crimes, are non-violent. They do not involve violence but they are mostly associated with financial or money matters. In most cases, white collar crimes enjoy a long period of being undetected primarily because of the lack of obvious evidence that leads to its discovery.
Common White Collar Crimes
Some of the common white collar crimes committed in today’s business and political environment include stock manipulation, all kinds of fraud (computer, securities, MedicAid, hedge fund, mortgage broker), bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion, extortion and money laundering. At one point in time, the nation is shocked with the various high-profile cases of prominent people who have defrauded their own firms or other firms with other people’s money in order to fulfill their own personal financial gain regardless if the money is not theirs. Such crimes are only discovered or uncovered after many years of being undetected. The fact that a reputable person is behind the act, will get no one in the company or organization to suspect anything much less question the person if any suspicions come to the fore.
The Importance of Having a White Collar Crime Lawyer
A person charged with a white collar crime should seek legal advice and assistance from a criminal defense lawyer with expertise in white collar crimes or from a white collar crime lawyer himself. Because of the wide expanse of white collar crimes, having an expert lawyer to defend you will result to determining the exact crime charged against the person and what are the necessary steps to take in order to prove innocence or dispute the charge. Whether a charge has already been brought to court or not, it is still important that a white collar crime lawyer assists you to cope with the situation and be advised of the appropriate legal solutions to the case.
If charged with a white collar crime and not guilty of committing the offense, your white collar crime lawyerwill have to do an extensive back tracking of activities to find where, if any, paper trail of the anomalous transactions will lead. Usually perpetrators of white collar crimes, genius as they are, fail to cover some tracks and in the end the acts will be traced back to them. An intensive and immediate investigation of the circumstances of the case will be the priority of a white collar crime lawyer in order to protect the rights of the accused and preserve the evidence. Police reports, statements of witnesses, bank and accounting records will be carefully scrutinized to make sure that all possible sources of valuable information that could disprove the charge are covered. It’s a tedious process but it could potentially lead to the best evidence to disprove the charge.
Consequences of White Collar Crime Conviction
A conviction for a white collar crime could result to severe penalties that could have a permanent stain and mark on the person’s reputation, financial security and rights. As in other states, Louisiana judges are serving unsympathetic penalties and punishments resulting in jail time and hefty fines. It could also bring about the end to one’s professional or political career. The nation has had enough high profile personalities that graced the headlines for leading an entire business organization to collapse and go bankrupt because of the undetected illegal manipulation of finances within and outside the organization. A lot of innocent public lured to investment schemes ended up losing all their lifetime savings because of the fraudulent crimes committed by the perpetrators. There had been too many sorry stories about investment scams that it has become difficult to identify the genuine from the scam.
A Case in Point in Louisiana on Harsh Penalties
Just to emphasize the harsh penalties served by Louisiana judges on white collar crimes, in March 2011, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 309 years’ imprisonment sentence for a white collar criminal Robert Thompson, also known as John Lawson, age 44, of Zachary, Louisiana. This sentence is known to be the fourth longest sentence for a white collar crime offender in the history of the United States. It is the longest sentence in the Middle District of Louisiana’s history.
Thompson’s crime involved engaging in long-running and several conspiracies with a lot of co-conspirators to have unauthorized access and use the personal and financial data of about 150 people, financial institutions, churches, and companies, to illegally obtain money from the victims’ accounts with the bank, and used their credit without authority and illegally, to obtain valuable things and made an attempt to illegally withdraw 20 million dollars from the account of one of the victims. The investigation of the case involved the FBI, US Attorney’s Office, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office among the many other government agencies.