The phrase “White Collar Crime” applies to a long list of potential charges:
White collar crime is an umbrella phrase that actually refers to a wide range of crimes, which typically have financial gain and impact as their common denominators. Some of the crimes that fall in this category include:
Trade secret theft
Environmental law violations
Each of these individual charges comes with its own set of elements, degrees, and defenses. However, to speak generally of these types of crimes as a group, we would simply like to point out some of the common misconceptions applicable to these various charges.
White Collar Crimes are Above My Pay Level:
What we refer to as white collar crimes often apply to executives simply because executives tend to have good access to the accounts, systems and generally the information that empower the acts that constitute many of these crimes. However, there is certainly no truth to the idea that these charges are limited to those at the top of a corporation. Anyone, at any level, can find themselves charged with theft of trade secrets, embezzlement, insider trading, piracy, etc.
“I can explain”
There is rarely any benefit in helping law enforcement prosecute you. As with most criminal charges, many charged with white collar crimes have no experience with police investigations. An accused will likely be approached by law enforcement and invited to “clear things up” before they are clearly notified that they are in fact the focus of an investigation. It can be tempting to try to clear things up by cooperating with police. However, police are allowed to lie to suspects during interrogations in order to obtain a confession. However, lying to police, or even the appearance of lying, can cause irreparable damage to your defense, and can even result in additional charges. Sharing seemingly irrelevant or harmless information can also do harm to your defense.
Sometimes quick cooperation with police is the best defense, but this is relatively rare, and should only ever occur at the advice of legal counsel. It is always best to take the time to consult with an attorney before making efforts to explain yourself. This brings us to the next point: choice of attorney.
Some companies will pay for the defense of white collar charges. This can be true if the company carries insurance for that purpose, or if such coverage is provided by contract. This can be a great advantage to the accused, as the resources of a large corporation can substantially level the playing field against the government. However, it is important to know what you are getting in these situations. Is a corporate attorney assigned to represent you? Is it simply advice from a company lawyer? Both could result in conflicts of interests, as these attorneys may not represent the accused individually, but rather the company itself. That means when and if the interests of the accused and the company conflict, the individual charged with a white collar crime might find their representation limited, or even harmful to their best defense. If you are charged with a white collar crime, take the time to really consider your own personal interests and protection. Find out if your company will pay, or assist with payment for, an independent attorney of your choosing. Then be sure to choose someone who is committed to defending against criminal charges. Even outside counsel may be unfamiliar with criminal law and procedure.
Independent Attorney Working For YOU
At Ready Law, we are available to discuss your white collar charges on a one-on-one basis with you. Do not take chances with your future. These cases tend to be actively pursued by some of the most specialized, experienced and intelligent law enforcement agents and prosecutors. Get to work on your best defense right away. Call our office at (720) 201-3802 for a free consultation.