White Collar Crime Lawyer

What Are White Collar Crimes?

Rarely a day goes by without the newspapers or the media breaking the news of a white collar criminal investigation and prosecution. Stock fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, security fraud, corporate fraud, mortgage fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud, Medicare fraud… the list goes on.

White collar crimes usually fall under federal jurisdiction and are subject to investigation by federal agencies (although the state agencies may bring a parallel or subsequent action on the heels of federal agencies). If you have been questioned by any of the following, you may be the target of a white-collar criminal investigation:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • United States Treasury
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Postal Inspection Service
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

Unlike other types of offenses, investigation and indictment procedures in white-collar crimes often provide notice to a defendant in the form of a "target letter." A target letter is a letter sent from a federal prosecutor to notify someone that he or she is the target of a federal investigation and informs the recipient of the charges being investigated. While the letter is only a notice, if you get a target letter, there is a good chance that you will be indicted for a white-collar crime.

Blue Collar Tactics In Prosecuting White Collar Crimes

Recently we have seen an upsurge in the Government's prosecution of white collar cases. These cases have been aggressively litigated by the Government and its agencies. The Enron debacle was the tipping point which led to an avalanche of white-collar prosecutions, parallel civil prosecutions, and related legislation. But what we have recently been observing is an increase in what's called "blue collar" tactics in prosecuting white collar cases.

Read Fighting Blue Collar Tactics in a White Collar World (Team member and trial attorney Ashish Joshi's interview by The Legal Press).

What are these "blue collar" tactics used by federal law enforcement? Expanded and aggressive use of undercover operatives, cooperating witnesses, confidential informants, wire tapping, and electronic eavesdropping. Also, we have seen aggressive search & seizure operations wherein federal agents have seized computer equipment, cell phones and other electronic paraphernalia at the outset of a criminal investigation. Not only does this contribute to the government's "shock and awe" strategy but it also brings a business to a grinding halt and stops its day to day operations. Imagine your computers with all the client / customer information, billing software and business data being seized and removed! The DOJ, SEC, and IRS have demonstrated that they will use these tactics – which traditionally were utilized to fight "blue collar" offenses such as organized crime and drug trafficking – to assist their investigation of white collar crime. And the prosecutorial successes achieved through the use of these tactics guarantee that they are here to stay. These tactics have been a major shift in how the Government has traditionally prosecuted white collar crimes such as securities fraud, tax fraud, insider trading and other traditional white collar crimes.

What Can You Do?

The most important thing that can be done is to retain an attorney – one who understands how to defend against white collar crime accusations. Our team acts promptly to protect clients against making costly mistakes during investigations. We get to the bottom of an investigation – fast! Contact us to discuss your case before you talk to investigators or prosecutors.

If you receive a target letter or a grand jury subpoena, do not panic. Get an aggressive and sophisticated white collar defense attorney immediately. Target letters or grand jury subpoenas are often followed up with direct contact, interviews or interrogations. These investigations do not have your best interests at heart but are intended to obtain facts and statements that may be used against you. Statements made without advice of counsel in moments of uncertainty can lead to your being named in a criminal indictment and/or additional charges being filed down the road.

Does "your" in-house lawyer (or a lawyer offered to you by your employer) want to speak with you? Have you received an invitation from the office your General Counsel to discuss some matters with you? Have you been given a "Corporate Miranda" warning? Tread carefully……

Corporate Miranda Warnings: Is "Your Lawyer" Really Acting In Your Best Interest?

Corporate Miranda or Upjohn warnings are provided to an employee being interviewed by the employer corporation's lawyers during an internal investigation.

Read Corporate Miranda: Clarifying Lawyers' Loyalty During an Internal Investigation (Team member and trial lawyer Ashish Joshi's article published in the American Bar Association's publication Business Law Today).

If your employer offers to pay for your lawyer or offers to have you represented by the company's lawyers, think twice before accepting the offer. The company's lawyers' allegiance is to the company, not you. Because of the allegiance to the company, the company lawyers may pressure employees to participate in interviews or questioning at the request of federal prosecutors. While these interviews may put the company in a better position to survive an investigation and criminal complaint, they certainly could put the employee, you, at risk of criminal prosecution. While refusing to agree with these interviews could result in termination of employment, your life and liberty interests are at stake; competent representation is a must to help determine what is best for you.

While our Client is our foremost concern, it is naïve and foolish to plan and present a defense in a complex white collar case that does not take into account the overall defense strategy. A successful white collar defense requires sophisticated knowledge of how the Government prosecutes these cases with their "divide and rule" strategy.

Read "An End to "Backseat Driving"? The Thompson Memorandum and Government Tactics in White-Collar Crime Investigation and Prosecution (Team member and trial lawyer Ashish Joshi's article published in the Michigan Business Law Journal).

If you are a General Counsel or outside counsel representing an organization, you need lawyers who are not only savvy in navigating the waters of white collar criminal defense but who also know how to defend these cases as a team player and understand what it takes to defend the corporate executives.

Read "Rich Ain't a Crime! Defending Masters of the Universe in White Collar Cases" (Team members Ashish Joshi and Andrew Bossory's article published in the Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime).

Fighting Allegations Of Criminal Behavior Or Intent

White-collar crimes often involve highly complicated, factually intense and paper-trail heavy investigation. Our team recognizes this as a basic premise of white-collar litigation and represents clients with that understanding at the onset. We approach our review of the evidence with a three-fold mindset:

  • Are the allegations made by the government true? Does the government have the evidence to support its case or is it a case of conclusions being made without support?
  • If the allegations have some truth, are the amounts alleged by the government accurate? Often the government alleges greater amounts of money at the onset of an investigation to increase potential sentences and to pressure for plea agreements.
  • If the allegations are true, are there defenses available to our clients? Did they have knowledge of the fraud? Did they intend to defraud the government? Were they threatened to comply with the scheme?

All too often, these questions are left unanswered until the eve of trial and it is too late for the client. Our team strives to investigate and answer these questions from the start of a case. As they say, "the devil is in the details." Careful investigation into the details early on can avoid charges being filed or have charges dismissed, achieve a much more favorable plea agreement or obtain a not guilty verdict at trial. A thorough investigation and analysis of intent is the key to a successful outcome in a white collar case.

Read "Is That What I Meant? Litigating Intent in White Collar Crime" (Team members and trial lawyers Demosthenes Lorandos and Ashish Joshi's article published in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' journal, The Champion).

Are You A Scapegoat?

Being rich and successful isn't a crime – least of all in America. However, research shows that jurors are biased against corporate executives' success and are brainwashed by the media to look at these executives with a "pigs at the trough" mentality. Prosecutors love to shine the spotlight on corporate executives' pay and perks. How do we address and overcome this prejudice at trial?

Read "Rich Ain't a Crime! Defending Masters of the Universe in White Collar Cases" (Team members Ashish Joshi and Andrew Bossory's article published in the Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime).

Our team understands the law and what it takes to defend against white-collar charges and win. Learn more by reviewing our white collar crime FAQs or contacting us. Call 734-249-6170.