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Five Myths about White-Collar Crime


The Chicago Tribune recently featured an interesting article on white-collar crime and the misconceptions surrounding some of the associated charges and prosecutions. Below, we discuss these in more detail:

Myth: Prosecutors Won’t Go After Powerful Defendants

One of the myths is that prosecutors never go after white-collar criminals such as bankers because this could inadvertently affect jobs (i.e. have “collateral consequences”). However, in recent years, prosecutors have increasingly relied on some of the tactics used in cracking down on violent crime and narcotics to go undercover in white-collar crime cases.

Take, for example, the case against Raj Rajaratnam: this one white-collar defendant allowed the Department of Justice to secure the convictions of more than 50 people involved in one of the largest hedge funds in the world. Also look at recent indictments against Manafort, Gates, and Papadopoulos in association with Mueller’s ongoing investigation.

Myth: No One Does Time For White-Collar Crimes

Although the 1987 Federal Sentencing Guidelines are advisory and not mandatory for judges, over time, the prison sentences for white-collar defendants have been on the rise. In 2013, approximately 70 percent of all offenders sentenced for fraud received a prison sentence for crimes committed in 2012. And where at least $2.5 million was lost as a result of these defendants, reports revealed that they spent five to 17 years in prison in 2012.

In fact, federal law enforcement charged more than 56 bankers and Wall Street traders in association with the financial crisis, many of whom were sentenced to prison for crimes that occurred before, during, and after the crisis. The former CEO of the Bank of the Commonwealth in Norfolk, Virginia, for example, was sentenced to more than 20 years of prison time in 2013 for fraud charges associated with the mortgage crisis.

Myth: Anti-Corruption Laws Will No Longer Be Enforced

Although some have expressed concern that the Trump Administration won’t pursue enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), in fact, in just the last several months, one telecommunications provider and its subsidiary paid $965 million in penalties to the Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission to resolve bribery charges. FCPA charges were also recently brought against one former U.S. army colonel and several Florida-based energy companies under allegations related to bribery, money-laundering, and/or attempts to corruptly secure contracts from other companies.

White Collar Crime Defense Attorneys

There is no question that this is not the time to be accused of white-collar crime. For many, the allegation alone could ruin their entire careers.

If you have been accused of being involved in one of these crimes, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today. We serve clients throughout Florida and Massachusetts..


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