Cases involving white-collar crimes or government investigations are complicated and require a defense attorney with significant experience and a special skill set. If you are facing state or federal white-collar criminal charges such as fraud, bribery, embezzlement, forgery, or money laundering, you should contact a private criminal defense attorney who has successfully defended clients against white-collar criminal charges.
Mary Frances Prévost represents clients in San Diego and the surrounding areas who have been charged with white-collar crimes by either the State of California or the federal government. She is an aggressive white-collar criminal defense lawyer with a long record of success who offers her clients years of courtroom experience.
What are white-collar crimes?
The term “white-collar crime” refers to financially-motivated crimes that are nonviolent. Typical white-collar crimes include:
- Insider trading,
- Money laundering,
- Identity theft,
- Securities fraud,
- Tax evasion,
- Investment schemes,
- Computer fraud, and
- Larceny or theft.
It is important to understand that many of these offenses are both state and federal crimes. This means that you could be facing criminal charges in a California state court or a federal United States District Court. In some cases, you may be facing both state and federal charges.
What are white-collar crimes in California?
The California Penal Code sets forth a number of criminal offenses that are typically considered to be white-collar crimes, including but not limited to:
- Theft crimes. Under California Penal Code § 484, anyone who obtains the money or property of another by larceny, false pretense, by trick, or by embezzlement, is guilty of a crime. Each of these crimes require the prosecution to prove distinct elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Embezzlement. California Penal Code § 503 defines embezzlement as “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.” Here, property includes money.
- Bribery. If you attempt to influence a public officer or official with money, you can be convicted of bribery under several sections of the California Penal Code, including California Penal Code § 67, California Penal Code § 68, and California Penal Code § 85. The same is true if you are a public officer or official and agree to accept a bribe.
- Forgery. California Penal Code § 470 provides that any person “who, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person” to official documents (including checks) is guilty of forgery.
- Extortion. California Penal Code § 518 defines the crime of extortion (also known as “blackmail.”) It occurs when you use force or threats to compel another person to give you money or other property; use force or threats to compel a public officer to perform an official act; or if you are a public official, act under color of your official right to compel another person to give you money or other property.
If you have been charged with a white-collar crime by the State of California, Mary Frances Prévost can help. She has successfully defended clients against serious white-collar criminal charges in California state courts.
What are federal white-collar crimes?
As discussed above, most white-collar crimes are both state and federal crimes. Federal criminal charges are very serious, and carry with them significant penalties. Some of the most common federal white-collar crimes include:
- Fraud. Under federal law, fraud is a crime. In recent years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating bankruptcy fraud, corporate fraud, health care fraud, hedge fund fraud, insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, and securities and commodities fraud with greater intensity. Federal prosecutors and judges take these offenses very seriously.
- Embezzlement. Federal embezzlement laws target theft from the federal government. This includes theft directly from the federal government, such as the theft of property from a national park. Federal laws also cover the theft of private property that was paid for by the government pursuant to contract, such as the theft of building materials belonging to a private construction firm that was hired by the government to build a federal prison.
- Computer fraud. Under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, accessing a protected computer without permission is a crime under certain circumstances. Computer fraud, also known as hacking, is a serious criminal offense that can result in a lengthy jail sentence. Federal prosecutors have shown an increased willingness to prosecute computer fraud in the past five years.
- Tax fraud. The Internal Revenue Service investigates federal tax fraud, and is most likely to pursue criminal tax fraud or tax evasion charges against those who owe more than $70,000 in taxes or have been engaged in tax fraud or tax evasion for at least three years.
- Money laundering. Money laundering is the process by which proceeds of a crime or criminal enterprise are converted into ostensibly “legitimate” money or other assets. Money laundering is a federal crime defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1956.
Some federal white-collar crimes are subject to what are known as mandatory minimum sentences. This means that absent special circumstances, a federal judge will be required to sentence you to a minimum amount of years in federal prison if you are convicted of certain white-collar crimes. Typically, there is no deviating from the minimum sentences set forth in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Mandatory minimum sentences are another reason why hiring an aggressive white-collar criminal defense attorney is so important when you are facing federal charges.
If you are facing federal white-collar criminal charges in San Diego, your case will be heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.
San Diego White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer
Mary Frances Prévost is dedicated to providing her clients with zealous representation. She represents people facing both state and federal white-collar criminal charges in San Diego and the surrounding areas. To discuss your case with her, call (888) 909-7896. She offers free and confidential consultations to all prospective clients.
Do not leave your future to chance. Call the Law Offices of Mary Frances Prévost today.