White-collar crimes are those that involve lying or otherwise defrauding an individual or business for financial gain. These crimes are generally not violent, leading to monetary loss not physical harm. As such, some may assume that the penalties are not too severe. This is not true.
How serious are the penalties for white-collar crimes?
Let’s take a look at the most commonly reported white-collar crime of 2020 to get a better idea of the severity of the penalties. The latest available data from the United States Justice Department shows that the most frequent criminal charge for white-collar crimes in 2020 was fraud by wire, radio, or television. This is defined by federal law as the use of wire, radio, or television communications to fraudulently obtain money or property. Common examples can include what the government would consider telemarketing fraud or internet scams.
A conviction can led to 20 years imprisonment. If, however, the charges are associated with a crime that impacts a financial institution like a bank, the penalties can increase to 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
What should I do if I am charged with a white-collar crime?
Those who are under investigation for a white-collar crime are wise to take the matter seriously. It is important to note that a federal investigation of business operations can result in personal, criminal charges. Do not take notice of an investigation lightly. An allegation can result in criminal charges which, as outlined above, can lead to serious penalties.
Those under investigation by federal authorities have rights, most notably those protected under the Fourth Amendment that protect our privacy. If investigators violate these rights the court may throw out evidence gathered during the investigation. As such, it is important to review the investigation process to make sure there were no violations.