It’s certainly fair to say that the white collar criminal realm is not well understood by the general public. There are a number of common perceptions that, while commanding some validity, are often overblown or simplified. It is actually the case that the white collar criminal law universe is far more complex and nuanced than often portrayed.
What the white collar crime realm is – and isn’t
It is widely perceived that law enforcers focused on alleged white collar criminal activity zero in almost exclusively on the financial wrongdoing of top-rung executives in huge and powerful corporate entities. Many people conjure up images narrowly targeting things like Ponzi schemes and insider trading.
Those actors are of course prime targets for investigators and task forces, but so too are persons engaged at more modest employment levels. In truth, it is often mid-level managers and rank-and-file employees who face white collar criminal charges.
There is this too: Many people think that defendants facing white collar crime charges almost uniformly acted in bad faith and with clear knowledge that their alleged conduct was unlawful.
That is obviously true in select cases, but it merits noting that the category is a slippery slope marked by manifest complexity. An in-depth legal overview of white collar crimes duly notes that “federal and state governments have enacted an enormous body of law regarding financial crimes.” That sheer overlay makes it “relatively easy for people to run afoul of these laws without even realizing it.”
That assessment is echoed by an authoritative Colorado legal source addressing the white collar crime realm. It stresses that probed matters “often involve multiple state and federal laws, several players, and a wealth of information to sift through.”
For targeted individuals, enforcement can quickly become a monumental concern. It is often perceived that persons convicted in white collar crime cases receive relatively light punishment compared with defendants facing other types of charges.
Evidence flatly undermines that view. In fact, prosecutors zealously pursue maximum penalties in such cases, which can include lengthy prison terms and large financial exactions. Those outcomes can occur in charged matters like the following:
- Various types of fraud (e.g., bank, identity and credit card fraud)
- Money laundering
- Securities law violations
- Tax evasion
The stakes can be materially high for any person facing close scrutiny in a white collar criminal investigation. Questions or concerns can be directed to a proven white collar criminal defense team.