If you’ve been charged with or are under investigation for a white-collar crime, your freedom, reputation, and future are on the line. It’s crucial to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty and being charged does not guarantee a conviction. With an experienced white-collar crime attorney on your side, you could potentially get the charges against you reduced or dropped.
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we focus only on criminal defense. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping people like you navigate the New Jersey and federal criminal justice system. We have the resources and skills to handle even the most challenging cases. Contact our office right away for a free consultation with a New Jersey white-collar crime lawyer.
What Is a White-Collar Crime Under New Jersey Law?
White-collar crime is a broad term that comprises various state and federal nonviolent offenses that are usually committed for financial gain. Often, people do not even realize they’re committing a crime — especially not such a serious one. Some examples of white-collar crimes under New Jersey law include:
- Insurance fraud
- Bad checks, money orders, and electronic funds transfers
- Falsifying or tampering with records
- Identity theft
- Money laundering
- Healthcare claims fraud
White-Collar Crime Laws in New Jersey
Many New Jersey laws addressing white-collar crimes can be found in Section 2C:21 of the New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.) The statutes forbid various offenses, including:
- Forgery and related offenses – A person who changes someone else’s writing without permission or writes something and claims someone else wrote it may be guilty of forgery.
- Insurance fraud – A person may be guilty of the crime of insurance fraud if they knowingly make a false or misleading statement in connection with an insurance claim, application, payment, or another record.
- Bad checks, money orders, and electronic funds transfer – A person who writes a check or money order or authorizes an electronic funds transfer knowing it won’t be paid may be found guilty of a crime.
Other common white-collar crimes outlined in this section of the N.J.S. include embezzlement, defrauding secured investors, identity theft, and money laundering.
White-Collar Crime Cases Our Attorneys Can Help With
The white-collar crime lawyers at Keith Oliver Criminal Law have successfully helped clients charged with various criminal offenses. We have a long track record of getting cases dismissed and charges reduced, even in the most complex situations. Our experienced attorneys have handled the following types of white-collar crime cases:
- Credit card fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Contractor fraud
- Tax fraud
- Bank fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Medicare and Medicaid fraud
- Real estate fraud
- Insider trading
- Identity theft
- Money laundering
- Extortion and blackmail
- Misappropriation of trust funds by trustees, lawyers, and accountants
- Bad checks
- Computer crimes, including fraudulent online sales
Who Investigates White-Collar Crimes?
Numerous government agencies are responsible for investigating white-collar crimes, including:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Securities Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
- National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)
- S. Secret Service
- S. Customs
- State authorities
Even agencies that are considered to be civil agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Reserve, can investigate white-collar crimes. While not all these entities file charges and make arrests, they can turn over evidence they’ve gathered to prosecutors.
Penalties for White-Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes can be charged at the federal or state level. Federal convictions can lead to harsher penalties than convictions at the state level. Federal judges are bound by more restrictive sentencing guidelines. This means that if you are convicted on federal charges, you’re more likely to spend time in prison. Other punishments for federal white-collar crime convictions include home detention, restitution, forfeitures, fines, supervised release, and community confinement.
If you are convicted of a white-collar crime in New Jersey, you could face penalties such as:
- Prison or jail time – Even nonviolent offenders convicted of white-collar crimes can be sentenced to a significant jail or prison sentence.
- House arrest – Depending on the nature of the offense, a person could be sentenced to house arrest instead of prison if convicted of a white-collar crime. They may be forced to wear an electronic monitoring device that alerts the authorities if the terms of the confinement are broken. The monitor only allows them to go to specific places outside their home while serving their sentence.
- Restitution – A person convicted of harming others financially could be ordered by the court to pay back their victims and other fines they may owe.
- Fines – Depending on the seriousness of the offense, a person convicted of white-collar crimes could be ordered to pay fines of up to thousands of dollars.
- Probation – A person sentenced to probation will be assigned a probation officer and must check in regularly. The terms of probation can also include holding a steady job or attending school and paying court costs and fees. If a person is convicted of a computer-related crime, they could be prohibited from accessing the internet while on probation. Violating probation can have serious consequences, from a probation extension to jail time.
Even after a person convicted of a white-collar crime has faced the penalties, they will have a criminal conviction on their record. A criminal record can impact their ability to find employment, secure housing, enroll in educational programs, and move forward with their life. This is why it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can negotiate with prosecutors to have criminal charges dismissed or reduced or avoid jail time.
Common Defenses for White-Collar Crimes
Being charged with a white-collar crime does not mean you are guilty. Keep in mind that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person accused of a crime is guilty. There are several defenses someone facing criminal charges may be able to use to have their case dismissed or the charges reduced. Some common defenses for white-collar crimes include:
- Weaknesses in the prosecution’s case – Federal prosecutors typically charge a person with a crime only if they believe they have a strong case against them. However, that does not mean the prosecution’s case is perfect. They have the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a mighty task. An experienced attorney can find holes in the prosecution’s case, point out flaws in their argument, and present evidence to contradict their version of events.
- Lack of intent – To secure a conviction for a white-collar crime, the prosecution must prove that the person facing charges intended to commit the offense. Sometimes, a defendant can successfully argue that they made an error or had no intention of committing a crime for financial gain.
- Coercion – A person accused of a white-collar crime may have a valid defense if they can show that they were forced to commit the crime. For example, a person who commits a crime because they were threatened with physical violence could have a strong defense.
- Entrapment – This is similar to coercion. But in this case, a law enforcement officer coerced a defendant to commit a crime. Remember that a person who commits a crime involving an undercover officer does not automatically have a defense of entrapment. For this defense to work, a person must prove that they would not have carried out the offense without law enforcement coercion.
A New Jersey criminal defense attorney can review your white-collar crime charges and help determine the best defense for your case. They can then secure the needed evidence and fight for your rights and freedom in court.