White collar crimes are crimes such as fraud, bribery, and embezzlement that are committed by business and government professionals. These crimes are often sophisticated and challenging to unravel, especially as technology becomes more prevalent in the workplace. But police and investigators are becoming more familiar with these crimes and are working hard to catch and prosecute white collar criminals.
Some of the most common white collar crimes include: embezzlement, fraud, bribery, tax evasion, and money laundering. Generally, these crimes involve deceit and are committed for financial gain at the expense of others.
The authority who generally prosecute these crimes is the FBI, so it is important that you have strong legal representation from an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with a white collar crime.
Types of White Collar Crimes and Penalties
Embezzlement in Pennsylvania (Title 18, Section 3927 https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/18/00.039.027.000..HTM) occurs when someone who has been entrusted with money or other property of value misuses or mismanages the money or property, instead using it for his or her own purposes. If convicted of embezzlement, you will face having to pay restitution to the original owner of the funds, additional fines, and possibly jail time. You may also lose your professional license.
Fraud is committed when someone lies or deceives someone for profit or to harm someone. Under federal law, a white collar crime charge of fraud results in having to pay a fine and being imprisoned for up to five years.
Bribery (Title 18, Chapter 47 https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=18&div=0&chpt=47) occurs when someone offers money or gifts to someone in authority in exchange for benefits. Depending on how much you gave in money or gifts, you could facing either a misdemeanor or a more serious felony. You will also be charged a fine, up to the amount of the bribe, and if you are an official you will lose your job or position.
Tax evasion is simply when someone avoids paying taxes through various means, usually by providing the IRS with false information. Tax evasion is a felony, and someone found guilty of tax evasion will face up to five years in jail and a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Money laundering (Title 18, Section 5111 https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/18/00.051.011.000..HTM) is when finances are illegally filtered so as to appear legitimate. It usually requires three steps: money is deposited into a bank or financial institution; the money then goes through many transactions to make it hard to trace its origins; and the money is mixed with legal money. It is punishable by a fine of $500,000 or twice the amount laundered, whichever is bigger, as well as up to twenty years in jail.
Because of the complexity of the cases and the severity of these penalties, it is critical that you reach out to an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to help you with your white collar crime case, so get in touch with our offices right away.