White Collar Crime
Baton Rouge White Collar Crime Lawyer
If you are facing white-collar crime allegations, it can feel like your life is over. These allegations don’t just disrupt your business and cause immense stress. They can also carry severe legal consequences as well, such as years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines. You need the best white collar crime lawyer on your side when facing such serious allegations.
At The Law Offices of Ossie Brown, we help clients navigate these difficult cases to find favorable legal solutions. Below, you’ll learn more about the nature of white-collar crimes and how our attorneys may be able to assist you. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 225-343-1111 today.
What is a White Collar Job?
Before we get into all things white collar offenses, let’s start with the basics. There are multiple types of job “collars,” out there, and the color of these collars generally describe what kind of work you do. For example, you may have heard of blue collar jobs before. Blue collar jobs typically describe manual labor jobs that require little formal education and pay by the hour. Construction workers, mechanics, truck drivers, and warehouse workers all fall under the blue collar job category.
Meanwhile, white collar jobs are generally desk jobs that require formal education and that offer an annual salary. Examples of white collar jobs are company managers, lawyers, insurance salesmen, receptionists, administrative assistants, and accountants.
What is a White Collar Crime?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a white collar crime is a non-violent financial crime that has the potential to destroy companies, destroy a person’s life savings, force investors to pay billions of dollars, etc.
White-collar crimes are usually committed by people who work in some kind of financial institution and can access a large amount of other people’s money through their job. Some examples of white-collar crimes include:
- Insurance fraud
- Money laundering
- Tax evasion
- Healthcare fraud and Medicaid fraud
- Bank fraud
- Wire fraud
- Mail fraud
- Securities fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- And so much more
If convicted of a white collar crime, you could face severe penalties such as spending years of your life behind bars and/or being forced to pay a massive fine.
If you’ve been accused of a white-collar crime, having a Baton Rouge white collar crime lawyer on your side could make the difference in your case.
Common Types of White Collar Crimes
Below, we list a few common types of white collar offenses that our Baton Rouge, LA law firm sees and handles on a regular basis.
Embezzlement is one of many types of financial fraud in which someone steals money or assets from their boss or company. In Louisiana, embezzlement is penalized the same way as other general theft crimes. Theft offenders are charged and penalized based on how much money they stole or the value of the asset they stole.
So if a Louisianan embezzled less than $1,000, they would likely receive a misdemeanor charge which results in 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Meanwhile, if a Louisianan embezzled more than $1,000, they would likely receive a felony. Felony theft convictions can result in a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and a maximum fine of $50,000, depending on the amount of money that was embezzled.
Louisiana law describes commercial bribery as giving or offering to give an employee, agent, or fiduciary something of value in order to influence the actions of a person in power, such as an employer. If you offer, give, or even accept a bribe in Louisiana, you can face 6 months in prison and a $500 fine.
Bribery crimes can go hand-in-hand with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This federal law, created in 1977, prohibits Americans and American businesses from bribing government officials from other countries in order to enhance their business. This law has been controversial over the years because many Americans believe that it could prevent American companies from obtaining foreign investments.
Money laundering occurs when someone hides the source of money they obtained illegally. Most commonly, offenders will illegally obtain money through international banks or other businesses. Similarly to other theft crimes in Louisiana, the penalties for money laundering heavily depend on the amount of money illegally obtained.
- People who illegally obtain $3,000 to $19,999 will go to jail for at least 2 years, with or without hard labor, and will pay a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Those who illegally obtain $20,000 to $99,999 will go to jail for 2 to 20 years, at hard labor, and will pay a fine of at least $20,000.
- People who illegally obtain more than $100,000 will go to jail for 2 to 50 years, at hard labor, and will pay a maximum fine of $50,000.
Tax evasion occurs when someone doesn’t pay their taxes or they pay too little on their taxes. People in white collar jobs may avoid paying taxes through illegal means, such as inaccurately reporting their income to the IRS, inflating deductions, or hiding a specific amount of money in a foreign bank account. Tax evasion is incredibly common. In fact, the IRS estimates that the U.S. government loses nearly $1 trillion on an annual basis due to this type of financial crime.
If you commit tax evasion in Louisiana, you could face a 2 year jail sentence and a maximum fine of $2,000.
Extortion occurs when someone obtains money or assets through the use of force or threats. Specific types of threats listed in Louisiana law include:
- Causing someone (or their family) physical harm
- Damaging property owned by the victim or their family
- Accusing the victim or their family of committing a crime
- Uncovering any dark secret about the victim or their family
- Causing any kind of harm in general
Extortion offenders in Louisiana can face a maximum jail sentence of 15 years at hard labor.
Forgery occurs when someone creates a fake signature or a copy of an important document with the intent of committing some kind of fraud. You can be convicted of this type of federal white collar crime if you create, transfer, or possess a forged document. In Louisiana, forgery offenders can face a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, with or without hard labor, and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Bank fraud occurs when someone uses illegal methods to possess money, assets, or property that’s owned by a financial institution. Bank fraud offenders in Louisiana can face a 10 year jail sentence, with or without hard labor, and a $100,000 fine.
Mortgage fraud occurs when people lie about themselves or their money in order to buy a home or obtain a mortgage loan. Mortgage fraud also occurs when lenders purposely try to defraud their employer or company or receive any money from closing a mortgage loan.
Louisianans who commit mortgage fraud can face a 10 year prison sentence, with or without hard labor, and a $100,000 fine.
Medicaid fraud falls under the umbrella of general health care fraud. This type of federal white collar crime occurs when someone attempts to receive greater Medicaid benefits or obtain authorization for Medicaid benefits by submitting false information. Medicaid fraud offenders in Louisiana can face a 5 year prison sentence, with or without hard labor, and a $20,000 fine.
In many cases, committing Medicaid fraud also means that you’re violating the U.S. False Claims Act, which prohibits Americans from submitting incorrect information in order to defraud government benefit programs.
White Collar Crime Statistics
The idea of white-collar crime was first introduced in 1939, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an issue before. With what feels like more and more of these crimes popping up, there are a few statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) available that clearly show how prevalent the issue is.
- For every 100,000 people in the United States, there are over 5,000 arrests for white-collar crime.
- The costliest crimes occur in smaller companies, usually less than 100 people. Small businesses have fewer protections in place to catch and prevent these crimes, more often than not.
- White collar crimes, on average, bring losses of over half a million dollars—when most armed robberies take just over $3,000.
- White collar crime makes up a little over 3% of overall federal prosecutions yearly.
Due to the nature of these crimes and how they can have a broad effect that reaches inside and outside of companies, state or federal prosecutors may be eager to make an example of the accused. For this reason, it’s crucial to have a knowledgeable white collar crime attorney in Baton Rouge, LA on your side. When you are accused of white-collar crimes and your future is at stake, act quickly. Contact white collar crimes lawyers at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown to help you navigate this difficult legal situation.
How State and Federal White Collar Crimes are Investigated
A federal white collar crime is generally handled by a federal prosecutor because these types of crimes usually occur across state and country lines. But before you ever get arrested and endure a federal trial, you will likely be the subject of a lengthy criminal investigation.
Federal investigations like this often begin with issuing a subpoena in order to obtain evidence such as bank statements, emails, text messages, documents, etc. State or federal authorities can also request to wiretap suspects for a period of time in order to gather more evidence of federal white collar crimes. Once government investigations recover enough evidence to accuse someone of wire fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, securities fraud, you name it, the FBI can arrest them. From there, a trial may take place in state or federal court.
Subjects of federal or internal investigations should hire experienced criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible. Baton Rouge white collar crimes lawyers at our law firm have successfully defended countless clients in state and federal courts. We can thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and formulate a strong defense in order to give you the best case outcome possible.
Possible Defenses for White Collar Crimes In Louisiana
Our Baton Rouge white collar crime attorneys can potentially use the following defenses for both individual and corporate clients.
Lack of Knowledge
White collar crimes rarely involve just one person. It’s very possible for someone to get roped into a fraudulent scheme involving multiple parties without knowing it. If this is the case for you, white collar defense attorneys at our law firm can try to gather sufficient evidence to prove that you genuinely didn’t know what was going on.
Lack of Intent
Similarly to the last defense, sometimes people get roped into a fraudulent scheme with zero intent to commit a white collar crime or with zero intent to financially benefit from the fraud. And sometimes, people just make mistakes when handling money or documents within their jobs. If this is the case for you, white collar criminal defense lawyers at our Baton Rouge, LA law firm can help.
Entrapment is basically when a government official influences someone to commit a crime. This situation does occur in white collar criminal cases, and be used as a solid defense. A Baton Rouge white collar crime attorney could help you prove that entrapment occurred by gathering evidence such as surveillance footage, emails, witness statements, text messages, and more.
Coercion is very similar to entrapment. The main difference is that instead of being influenced to commit a crime, suspects are forced to commit a crime. Threats play a big role in coercion. For example, maybe the suspect felt like they had to commit a federal white collar crime in order to protect themselves and their family from physical harm. If this sounds like your situation, a Baton Rouge white collar crimes lawyer is here for you.
Call a Baton Rouge White Collar Crime Lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown TodayIf you’re facing any type of criminal charges, you want the best lawyers on your side to potentially clear your name, shorten your jail sentence, lessen your fine, and protect your legal rights. Baton Rouge white collar criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown can do all that and more. We are passionate about fighting for the justice of white collar crime suspects. If you’re ready to start an attorney-client relationship with us, call 225-343-1111 today. We offer a free consultation to all new clients.
Let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to take the time to get to know you and understand your legal goals and objectives.
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