White Collar Crimes
White collar crime usually involves illegal acts to obtain money, property, or services, or to secure a business or professional advantage. Much of white collar crime is covered by federal laws that govern all levels of business activity.
White collar crimes are governed by the general principles of criminal liability- each crime requires a bad act, a criminal intent, and causation. The defenses to white collar crime are the same ones applicable to all crimes and include incapacity, insanity, intoxication, and duress. White collar crime cases often invoke the defense of entrapment. Entrapment refers to situations when the government has enticed a person to commit a crime he or she otherwise would not have committed. Entrapment is usually viewed by the courts through the eyes of the individual defendant. The defense focus becomes the propensity of that defendant to commit the crime in determining whether they have been entrapped. In some cases the government's conduct is outrageous in terms of convincing a person to commit a crime.
Types of Cases:
Our New York lawyers handle allegations of Medicare/Medicaid fraud,
bribery, commercial insurance fraud, bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, pension
and ERISA fraud, real estate, venture capital, and investment advisory
fraud, embezzlement, tax fraud, stock- market irregularities, environmental
violations, including representation in related civil investigations and
lawsuits before administrative agencies such as the FDIC, FDA, FTC, IRS,
SEC, DOL, DOD, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Customs Service and their state
Experienced legal counsel is required in these cases.
Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud. Federal law prohibits the use of the U.S. mail or private carriers in a scheme to defraud or obtain money, property, or services by fraudulent means. Wire fraud involves acts of fraud that relate to using wire, radio, or television in a scheme to defraud or obtain property by fraudulent means. The punishment for a violation of these laws is up to five years in prison and a fine. However, if the mail fraud affects a financial institution, the punishment is up to thirty years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
The Federal Securities Acts. Involve allegations of insider trading, failing to file required reports, or filing false reports. The government must prove a deliberate and intentional act with knowledge of wrongdoing. Insider-trading prohibitions apply to a people who use nonpublic material facts learned in the course of their job to gain a personal advantage over the shareholders of a corporation by buying or selling the corporate stock. The act also extends to an "outsiders" who uses nonpublic material information to gain an advantage, including a person who acts on a conversation overheard in an elevator. Violations of the Acts are punishable by up to five years in prison.
Bribery Act. This act involves the bribery of public officials and filing false statements. The person making the bribe and the person taking the bribe can receive up to fifteen years in prison and disqualification from public office if convicted of a crime under the Bribery Act. In order for a crime to have occurred the the government must show that something of value has been given, offered, or promised to a federal public official to in an effort to influence an official act. The official act does not need to take place, but proof that the official was going to perform the corrupt act is needed. If there is no proof the corrupt act, was contemplated- the official may still be charged with accepting gratuities. The crime of accepting gratuities can carry a two-year prison term.
Tax Crime. Willful Failure to file a federal tax return or pay federal taxes are federal crimes as is assisting others to file a false returns. All tax crimes require the government to prove that the lawbreaker willfully, voluntarily, and intentionally violated a known legal duty. To convict on tax evasion charges, the government must prove a tax deficiency and an act of tax evasion.
Environmental Crimes. Individuals or corporations that violate various federal laws governing clean water, safe drinking water, toxic substances, solid waste disposal, pesticide use, clean air, and atomic energy, ranging from environmental testing irregularities to toxic dumping. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigates these complaints and makes a reccommmedation to a special environmental enforcement unit in the Department of Justice for prosecution. Most of criminal violations require a knowing violation of the law. Corporations can be punished when the illegal acts are done by corporate agents acting within the scope of their duties.
Computer crimes. There are seven prinicple types of computer crimes. To knowingly access a computer without authorization to obtain confidential national security information (and transmit it to others) is a crime punishable by up to ten years. Browsing in government or other protected computers in a manner that affects the use of the computer. Accessing unauthorized financial information from banks or government agencies; gathering information in a protected computer to steal data; infecting a computer with a virus that causes damage to the program; interstate trafficking in passwords; and extortion by threatening to cause damage to a protected computer. The penalties for violations of the act range from one year to twenty years in prison and fines.
The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has initiated numerous investigations and prosecutions of individuals and corporations for violations of the Sherman Act involving price fixing, bid rigging and illegal boycotting.
Cases involving financial institutions, top executives and directors, real estate developers and other borrowers. These matters include allegations of bribery of bank officers, misrepresentations of the value of assets securing a loan, failure to report currency transactions over $10,000, embezzlement and other schemes to defraud banks. In the aftermath of the economic downturn of the early 1990s, these matters were a major priority of the U.S. Department of Justice.
As bankruptcy filings have escalated, so too has the number of criminal bankruptcy fraud investigations. These maaters involve debtors and related parties, including spouses and lawyers, under investigation for alleged concealment of assets, false statements to the bankruptcy court, and other federal bankruptcy crimes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 152 et seq.
Federal Program and Contract Fraud
Represention of companies and their executives under investigation for defense procurement fraud such as allegations of fraud and illegal gratuities in the performance of public contracts.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The 1998 Amendments to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention have increased the reach and scope of the federal anti-bribery statute. At the same time, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have stepped up enforcement efforts dramatically. This recent trend in heightened enforcement activity significantly increases the risk to companies doing business abroad, and makes effective FCPA compliance programs an absolute necessity.
Labor Racketeering and ERISA Violations
Criminal and civil violations of ERISA and union officials charged with specific labor racketeering violations. Throughout the last ten years, the U.S. Department of Labor has been extremely active in prosecuting ERISA fraud and embezzlement cases against union officials and others charged with fiduciary responsibilities in connection with the management or administration of ERISA funds. Or attorneys represent professionals who act as consultants to ERISA funds, such as accountants and attorneys, as well as the labor union officials charged with administering and overseeing the management of these funds.
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