White collar crime accusations can be handled in either state or federal court, depending on the exact nature of the crime and the specific circumstances in which it was committed. If, for instance, the offense involved multiple states then it will most likely be investigated by a federal agency and then eventually prosecuted in federal court. Crimes that were conducted solely within state lines, on the other hand, will usually be handled in state court. Who is prosecuting a criminal case can have important repercussions for a defendant, so if you are being investigated for your alleged involvement in a fraud-based offense, you should reach out to an experienced Houston white collar crime lawyer for help.
Federal Investigations and Prosecution
A number of federal agencies are responsible for enforcing federal white collar crime laws, including:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS);
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In most cases, federal agencies limit their investigations to offenses that involve a federal agency, crossed state lines, or are related to banking in some way. Of these offenses, bank fraud, counterfeiting, identity theft, money laundering, and wire fraud are some of the most commonly federally charged white collar crimes.
State Agency Investigations and Prosecution
While it is true that white collar crimes that affect interstate commerce are charged at the federal level, it’s important to note that not all white collar crimes are federal offenses. In fact, there are a number of state agencies in Texas that are responsible for enforcing white collar crimes at the state level. Most of the offenses that are charged in state court involve a state agency or a fraud-based scheme that was conducted only within the state of Texas. These kinds of charges are usually related to auto insurance fraud, embezzlement, mortgage fraud, and healthcare fraud.
Can I be Charged with a White Collar Crime in Both State and Federal Court?
It is possible for a white collar crime to be a violation of both state and federal law. Identity theft, for example, is illegal under both Texas law and federal law. In this kind of situation, state and federal prosecutors will closely examine the case and decide whether a person will face charges in state or federal court. Most defendants are typically better off in state court, as federal prosecutors are often less willing to negotiate a plea deal, while the penalties for a federal conviction are almost always more severe than their state counterparts. Furthermore, federal judges are often required to abide by strict minimum guidelines when sentencing defendants convicted of committing aggravated white collar crimes.
Speak with One of Our Experienced Houston White Collar Crime Lawyers
Whether your own charges are filed in state or federal court can have important repercussions for your case. To learn more about where your case will most likely be filed and the best way to go about defending yourself against these kinds of allegations, please call the dedicated Houston white collar crime lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates. You can reach a member of our legal team by calling (281) 280-0100 today.