Houston White Collar Crime Attorney
Providing You With Aggressive Legal Representation When You’re Facing White Collar Criminal Charges in Texas
The legal team at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates defends those charged with a variety of white collar crimes. We have experience representing clients in both federal and state courts, and are not intimidated by trial.
When you are charged with a white collar crime, the penalties could be very severe even though white collar crimes are not violent crimes. These types of financially motivated offenses are prohibited under both state and federal law. For this reason, it is not uncommon for someone suspected of involvement in a white collar crime to be under investigation by multiple agencies. To be sure, you may face years in prison, or fines totaling thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, if you are convicted of a white collar crime.
The best way to protect your future, your reputation, and your opportunities is to contact our experienced Houston, Texas white collar crime lawyer at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today. You can reach us by phone, or send us an email through our website.
Our White Collar Crime Practice Areas
There is a long list of white collar crimes in the state of Texas, many of which our law firm is very familiar with. If you have been charged with any of the following, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a consultation:
- Bank fraud;
- Medicaid fraud;
- Social Security Disability fraud;
- False statements to a financial institution;
- Identity theft;
- Tax crimes;
- Mortgage fraud;
- Internet crimes and other computer crimes;
- Theft of services;
- Credit card fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Money laundering;
- Counterfeiting money;
- Subornation of perjury;
- Counterfeiting; or
While the offenses above refer to specific crime types, white collar crimes are very similar in nature – they all involve a crime that is nonviolent, is committed by a person or a business, and are financially motivated. For example, manipulating employer accounts, padding an expense account, taking someone else’s identity, complex financial schemes like insider trading, or attempts by policyholders to collect insurance after filing false claims. These are all examples of white collar crimes.
Three Things to Know About White Collar Crimes in Texas
There is no single specific charge or offense called “white collar crime,” but rather this is an umbrella term that includes various types of criminal offenses that often involve economic harm to victims and tend to be perpetrated by people who are in a different socioeconomic class than other types of “blue collar crimes” that may include violent offenses. While white collar crimes may often have different types of perpetrators than other criminal offenses in Texas and can result in distinct kinds of harm, it is critical to understand that these are extremely serious offenses that can result in extremely long prison sentences upon conviction.
Our Texas white collar defense lawyers want to provide you with more information about this kinds of charges. The following are three things you should know about white collar crimes in Texas.
1. White Collar Crimes Often Involve Fraud and Finances
White collar crime is a term used to describe a family of criminal offenses ranging from mail fraud to huge Ponzi schemes. What they all have in common is there is some sort of breach of trust or deceit involved. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), white collar crime has become “synonymous with a full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals,” and they tend to be “characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence.” Most often, the FBI explains, “the motivation behind these crimes is financial—to obtain or avoid losing money, property, or services or to secure a personal or business advantage.” In general, these crimes are non-violent, but the punishments and penalties can be severe.
Common White Collar Crimes
White collar crime covers a broad array of offenses, but some of the most common types of white collar crime include:
- Mail Fraud – This is a federal crime and would be prosecuted by the federal government, not by the state of Texas. To convict a person of mail fraud, the government must prove that there was a scheme to obtain property or money by fraudulent means. They must also prove that a private carrier or postal service was used in the scheme.
- Wire Fraud – This is also a federal crime and the laws surrounding it are very broad. This means that nearly any fraud using a telephone, television, or radio transmission that crosses state lines could be made into a federal case.
- Bankruptcy Fraud – This may arise when a person hides information or assets during a federal bankruptcy case.
- Securities Fraud – Securities fraud may be charged when a security company fails to truthfully disclose their activities to analysts and investors. Insider trading can also sometimes be included in securities fraud.
- Ponzi Schemes – A Ponzi scheme exists where an investment manager defrauds another investor by using the money from later investors to pay off earlier investors instead of using the money as promised.
- Money Laundering – This involves using illegally obtained money in a manner that conceals its origins, supports illegal activities, or violates tax laws (i.e. cleaning dirty or illegally-gotten money to transform them into legitimate and clean funds.) This is often accomplished by combining the illegal funds with the revenue from a separate, “clean” business that acts as a front for the white collar crime.
- Tax Evasion – is when when an offender tries to avoid paying taxes they owe. This might occur when they provide false information on tax forms or illegally transfer of property to avoid paying taxes.
These are just a few of the many white collar crimes, and what is considered a white collar crime can really depend on a definition as set forth by the prosecutor. Other examples of white collar crimes can include misrepresentation, bribery, perjury, and concealment.
2. You Can Face State or Federal Charges for White Collar Crimes
Depending upon the type of crime and the circumstances surrounding it, a person can face either state charges under the Texas Penal Code or federal charges. For example, embezzlement is a common type of white collar crime that involves the theft of funds from a person’s employer or in situations where the person has a fiduciary duty. So if an employee directs money to their personal account, they’re embezzling funds from their employer. Embezzlement also happens when a lawyer improperly accesses clients’ funds, or when an investment adviser accesses clients’ money for personal gain. Embezzlement charges can be brought as misdemeanor or felony theft charges under Texas law. At the same time, a person can face federal embezzlement charges if they work for a federal employer, for example, or if the alleged criminal act involved the use of federal institutions (like a bank) or involved the crossing of state lines either physically or by electronic means.
3. White Collar Crimes Come with Significant Sentences
Many people mistakenly believe that people who are charged with white collar crimes are not harshly prosecuted, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Those convicted of white collar crimes could face significant monetary fines and years in prison. A person convicted of a white collar crime also has no guarantee that they will be sentenced to a minimum-security prison.
As an example, if you are charged with embezzlement or another white collar theft offense in Texas that involves allegedly stealing $30,000 or more, you will be facing third-degree felony charges that can result in up to 10 years in prison. Federal law has even steeper penalties. You can face up to 10 years in a federal prison if you are convicted of embezzling more than $1,000.
The government may also attempt to recover the profits from any businesses or individuals that benefited from the crimes. This can sometimes result in forfeiture of assets that had nothing to do with the actual crime. If the person convicted has any type of professional license, they may also lose that license so when they get out of prison, they will no longer be able to work in the same manner in which they used to.
Offenders convicted of a white collar crime can face fines, forfeitures, home detention, restitution, paying for costs related to prosecution, home detention, supervised release, imprisonment, and/or community confinement.
Felony White Collar Crimes
Many white collar crimes can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the item or funds that were allegedly taken and the defendant’s criminal record. Someone accused of forgery, for instance, when the value of the property is worth less than $100, will most likely face a Class C misdemeanor. Some white collar crimes, however, are considered particularly serious and so always come with felony charges, including:
- Using fraud to deprive someone of funds worth more than $1,500;
- Money laundering;
- Securities fraud;
- Fraudulent use of a credit or debit card;
- Commercial bribery;
- Identity fraud; and
- Exploiting a child, disabled person, or elderly individual.
If you are facing felony white collar crime charges, please call our office today to learn more about building a strong defense.
Misdemeanor White Collar Crimes
Being convicted of a white collar crime can come with lower penalties if the offense is charged as a misdemeanor. For instance, theft of property worth less than $100 via forgery is a Class C misdemeanor, and as such, is punishable exclusively by a fine. Common Class C misdemeanor offenses include forgery, issuing a bad check, or issuing a false statement to obtain credit or funds, as long as the value of the property is less than $100.
If the value of the items that were allegedly taken exceeds $100, but is less than $750, then the crime will usually be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. Conviction for this kind of offense comes with a higher fine and up to six months in jail. Common Class B misdemeanor white collar offenses include embezzlement, engaging in deceptive business practices, and using fictitious military records.
Theft of something worth up to $2,500 through the use of deception, on the other hand, is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, which is punishable by a jail sentence of up to a year. Examples of this degree of white collar crime include embezzlement, check forgery, and refusing to execute the release of a fraudulent lien or claim.
Are you Facing Fraud Charges in Texas?
One of the most common white collar crimes for which clients seek our services is fraud. Some types of fraud, such as Medicare fraud, are also federal crimes. In fact, any time that there is an obstruction of justice on the federal level, such as making false claims in order to obtain federal benefits, like workers’ compensation benefits, veterans’ benefits, or Medicare, a federal crime has been committed.
Another common type of fraud is mortgage fraud or insurance fraud is another common type of white-collar crime. So if I say my home was broken into and that many valuables in his home were stolen so I can collect the insurance money, that’s an example of insurance fraud. Similarly, lying about your health on a life insurance application is another example of insurance fraud.
If you are facing federal criminal charges, it is important that you work with an attorney who has trial experience at the federal level.
Defending Yourself Against White Collar Crime Charges
It is important, with so much at stake, for defendants to raise a strong defense when accused of these kinds of offenses, which could involve:
- Demonstrating a lack of intent to commit the crime, as defendants can only be convicted of committing a white collar crime if they knowingly and intentionally violated the law;
- Providing evidence of entrapment, which occurs when a person is pushed into engaging in criminal activity by undercover officers;
- Demonstrating coercion, or that the defendant was forced into committing the crime in question;
- Proving lack of knowledge, or that the defendant didn’t know that a crime was being committed; or
- Demonstrating that the evidence being used by the prosecution was obtained as a result of an unlawful search or seizure.
Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates Today
When you contact our law firm, you are making the choice to work with an experienced white collar crimes and fraud attorney in Texas. Tad Nelson has been admitted into the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, as well as all states courts throughout Texas.
Don’t let criminal charges be the beginning of a bad thing; when you contact our law firm, you’re taking control of your future. You can contact us by phone or online, and we can travel to your location when need be.