In the Commonwealth of Virginia, so-called “white collar” crimes, although not considered violent, are still considered to be serious offenses that can carry harsh penalties if you are convicted. These crimes can be charged as state or federal offenses and are almost always a felony.
It’s vital to your freedom and resolution of your case after being charged with a white-collar crime to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer immediately. The lawyer you choose needs to have trial experience defending clients who have faced severe felony charges.
White-collar crimes commonly include complex financial dealings and other criminal actions that involve dishonesty and fraudulent business practices. These issues are always complicated and involve hundreds or thousands of financial documents, contracts, shipping information, and more. Due to their complexity, you require a law firm with the experience and expertise to analyze and fully comprehend the financial evidence being used against you.
White-collar criminal cases commonly start when authorities receive information from a “whistleblower” or official communication from an economic crime unit. In many cases, “whistleblowers” may alert journalists who investigate further with the whistleblower’s help.
The term “white-collar crime” is not a new one but is now synonymous with a full range of frauds committed by personal businesses and professionals in government. Although they vary significantly in nature and practice, these crimes are commonly characterized by deceit, concealment, and a violation of trust. In most cases, the use or threat of physical force or violence is not present.
It’s vital to note that although violence or harm may not be used, the consequences you may face are substantial, and you could face years or decades of prison time, as well as high-dollar fines.
Examples of “White Collar” Crimes covered by Virginia Law.
Many crimes fall under what people consider to be “white collar” crimes. Some are charged as misdemeanors, but the majority are charged as felonies, resulting in a lengthy prison sentence.
Some examples of these crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia include:
- Embezzlement – Embezzlement is fraudulently taking money or property from the rightful owner for financial gain when the accused was entrusted with the money or property as part of his job. Some are charged as misdemeanors punishable by up to twelve months in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine, but if you are charged with embezzling more than $1,000,00 it is a felony punishable with a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
- Money laundering – Money laundering involves conducting a financial transaction with property knowing the money or property was illegally obtained. Examples of money laundering include doing any financial transaction with money obtained from drug dealing, health care fraud, or mortgage fraud.
- Forgery – Under Virginia law, it is a felony to create a false document or alter an existing one without authority and to the prejudice of another’s right. Punishment can be one- to ten years in prison.
- Bribery – Bribery is to demand, receive, solicit, or offer something of value to influence someone in his official capacity. You can be charged with bribery for offering or accepting a bribe.
- Extortion – Extortion is obtaining property or money illegally using the threat to injure or harm an individual or his property.
If you’ve been charged with any type of white-collar crime, you need to consult with an experienced Roanoke criminal defense lawyer immediately. By doing so, your lawyer can analyze all the details of your case and mount a professional defense to try to minimize the dire consequences you face.
What Are the Two Major Categories of White-Collar Crimes?
Essentially, there are two commonly used categories that “white collar” crimes fit into; They are:
- Individual crimes – These are financial crimes committed by an individual or a specific group of individuals. An example of this type of white-collar crime would be a Ponzi scheme. Other individual white-collar crimes would be identity theft, hacking, counterfeiting, and dozens of fraud schemes.
- Corporate crimes – Many white-collar crimes are perpetrated on a corporate level. For example, a brokerage firm may trade and engage in an insider trading scheme. Money laundering is another relatively common example of corporate white-collar crime.
It’s imperative to note that the present-day emergence of the internet and expanding technology has been accompanied by a significant rise in what is referred to as “cybercrime.” “Cybercrime” is becoming more rampant every year and comprises a myriad of online fraud schemes. An example of the prevalence of these crimes is “phishing,” or the intentional collecting of others’ personal information to commit the crime of identity theft. Cybercrime is simply any crime committed with the aid of today’s advanced computer technology.
So, progress and technological advancement always comes with a price. The price we pay for the advances in our computerized and cell phone-connected world is an entirely new category of white-collar crime that never existed.
If you have been accused or charged with a cybercrime, you need a Roanoke law firm that is versed in this new legal area and can provide you with a properly mounted defense.
How Are White-Collar Crimes Prosecuted in Virginia
Often, white-collar crime investigations can be an exceedingly protracted process. Also, in most cases, if you are under investigation, you know beforehand that charges may be filed. If you have been charged or even advised that you are under investigation, you must take steps to fully protect your rights under the law.
If you have been arrested, you have the same rights as any other type of crime and are not required to cooperate with investigators. Also, you mustn’t waive any rights until you consult with your white-collar criminal defense lawyer!
An especially crucial point, which you may not know, is that police investigators do not have to be truthful with you. They may be legally allowed to present false evidence as part of their interrogation.
These crimes are complex, and you and your professional white-collar crime lawyer will always take an initiative-taking stance regarding the defense of your rights.
I Have Been Accused of a White-Collar Crime; How Should I Proceed?
First, it’s vital that you always:
- Begin mounting your defense to a white-collar crime immediately by not talking to investigators! Your freedom may depend on it.
- Realize that these crimes can carry life-changing penalties, are legally tricky and lengthy to prosecute and defend.
The Roanoke Law Office of Seth C. Weston has an impressive history of defending Virginia citizens against crimes. He will fight back by mounting an aggressive defense that protects your rights and freedoms. Consult with him immediately, and you’ll have the best chance to move forward with your life.