The state of Washington aggressively prosecutes white-collar crimes. They are considered non-violent crimes but are very serious crimes that carry penalties that may include jail time.
If you have been arrested for any white-collar crime, you have to realize that your future is at stake. That is why you need a Seattle criminal law firm on your side. Even an acquittal can bear catastrophic effects on your reputation, finances, and business.
While they are non-violent crimes, the societal threat and cost incurred by the public, as a result, is enough reason for legislators to be ruthless on offenders.
What is a White-Collar Crime?
“White-collar crimes” is an umbrella term which defines crimes that use deception, manipulation, breach of trust, subterfuge, concealment, or illegal circumvention for financial gain. Most defendants are often businesspeople or individuals working in government who are charged with mishandling funds.
While the State of Washington can prosecute the alleged offender, these charges are mostly charged in federal courts, which have all the resources at their disposal. A state law crime may be set in a State Court, if it is a forgery, identity theft, or fraud.
When Can a Person Be Charged With a White-Collar Crime?
There are numerous white-collar crimes, but the prosecutors mostly handle financial crimes and fraud. These two major crimes, and any other white-collar crimes, need to be dealt with as soon as possible with the help of a qualified legal counsel.
The most common white-collar crimes in Washington include:
- Mail and wire fraud
- Inside trading
What Crimes Are Designated as “White-Collar?”
No single crime under Washington law is called “white-collar.” This is often a vague term used to describe crimes committed by business owners, professionals, and executives. Here are offenses that may be described as “white-collar:”
- Tax evasion
- Money laundering
- Internet fraud
- Bank fraud
- Ponzi scheme
- Corporate fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Trade secret theft
- Customs fraud
- Government defense contracts
- Intellectual property violations
- Insurance compliance
- Investment fraud
- Clery Act compliance
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Securities fraud
- Equity skimming
- Mail fraud
- Antitrust violations
- Health care fraud
- Technology issue
- Federal security compliance
- Corporate espionage
In most cases, there’s more than just one charge involved. That is why you need the legal advice of a Seattle embezzlement lawyer, who understands this type of criminal charge. You will first need to understand the nature and severity of the charges leveled against you. Next, you will need to know each crime’s potential penalties, if it will end up in a conviction.
Who Will Prosecute a White-Collar Crime in WA?
Federal government prosecutors handle most white-collar crimes. The government has a keen interest in such cases, because annual losses from preceding white-collar crimes are approximately $426 billion. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, prosecutes white-collar crimes in the State of Washington.
What Are the Penalties for a White Collar Crime?
White-collar crimes bear harsh penalties for Washington defendants. A convicted person may be punished with jail time, fines, home detention, probation, supervised release, restitution, or property forfeiture.
A misdemeanor white-collar crime in Washington carries up to 90 days in prison or a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. Conversely, a gross misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail or a fine of $5,000, or both.
Check fraud involving more than $70 and forgery cases are categorized as Class C felonies and are punishable by up to five years and/or $10,000 in fines. For instance, embezzlement involving more than $5,000 is a Class B felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. A Class A white-collar crime can have a life imprisonment penalty and/or fines of up to $50,000.
What’s the Best Way to Build a Strong Defense?
Whenever our white-collar criminal attorney is assigned to deal with your case in Tacoma, Everett, King County, Lynnwood, Snohomish County, or Pierce County, they will build a defense that will seek to limit liability and minimize the damage.
Most of these crimes are built on circumstantial evidence, and oftentimes, there isn’t direct evidence pointing to the accused. If you were unwittingly used in fraudulent activity, then that could be your defense.
More important to remember is that fraud cases are highly technical and need an understanding of the law and what facts are being tabled. That’s why legal counsel services cannot be emphasized enough.
What Should I Expect When Engaging With My Defense Lawyer?
If there are formal charges filed against you, your lawyer will work tirelessly to ensure the case is resolved in your favor. But before that, your white-collar crimes lawyer will ask a series of questions about the allegations to determine if you have access to any evidence or witnesses that would help your defense.
Your defense will try to answer if you actually committed this crime or if the police are accusing you of something someone else did. Your defense team will also try to answer if your actions were illegal and, if so, are they charging you to the level of your actions.
A Legal Representative to Act on Your Behalf
Embezzlement, fraud, and forgery carry life-altering legal consequences. And we understand that you value your reputation and would like to avoid the harsh penalties associated with a conviction. The earlier you begin building a strong defense, the better the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
If you suspect that a white-collar crime is being assembled against you or a loved one, get in touch with a lawyer, immediately. Hire an experienced Seattle criminal defense lawyer with the knowledge and legal skills to do what it takes to fight the charges against you. Schedule a free consultation with us today by calling 206-382-9200.