Unlike petit theft or grand larceny, where a thief steals property from an unknown or distant victim, white-collar thieves steal money through covert means in some business or professional context. In all cases, however, white-collar theft lacks violence and stems from an economic motive.
Offenses Considered White-Collar Theft
Examples of white-collar theft include embezzlement, identity theft, forgery, pension fund crimes, public corruption, Ponzi schemes, copyright infringement, RICO crimes and cybercrime. However, thanks to the Internet and rapidly advancing computer and electronics technologies, white collar theft now encompasses a wider range of criminal activity. Nonetheless, the distinctive characteristics of white-collar crime remain the same: the lack of physical violence and a primary motivation of monetary enrichment.
Legal Penalties for White-Collar Theft
Applicable state and federal statutes provide a broad range of permissible punishments for white-collar crimes. Upon conviction, a defendant could face significant fines, probation and/or prison time. Also, courts typically order the defendant to make full or partial restitution of all monetary damages inflicted on the victim(s).
In some cases, white-collar crime may be prosecuted in civil court rather than criminal court. The precise range of penalties is also highly dependent upon situational factors and case-specific details. Such factors may include the perpetrator’s identity and role. For instance, some corporate defendants can be penalized more harshly than an individual defendant convicted on the same case-specific facts.
Likewise, white-collar crimes committed against government entities carry very strict penalties because such offenses ultimately cost taxpayers’ considerable sums of money. Additionally, penalties may be more severe if the defendant is a government official or employee, as their misconduct is viewed as a violation of the public trust. Finally, punishment is typically more severe when the victim is considered especially vulnerable. Typical examples include victims who are elderly, physically challenged, or otherwise in a disadvantaged position, which the defendant exploited for illicit gain.
Contact Khonsari Law Group for Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with or are under active investigation for a white-collar crime, it is vital to immediately obtain legal counsel. Potential legal penalties may be severe and include lengthy incarceration, significant fines and other monetary sanctions, in addition to the loss of employment and professional licensure. At Khonsari Law Group, our primary area of legal practice is white-collar criminal defense. Contact Khonsari Law Group today and schedule an initial consultation and case analysis.