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Common Washington White Collar Crimes

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After an arrest for a white-collar crime, navigating the legal landscape can be overwhelming. With a Tacoma white collar crimes attorney on your side, however, you can better understand the charges against you and the penalties that you may face. Below are some of the most common white-collar crimes in Washington state, what they entail, and what can happen if you are convicted.

Identity Theft

Identity theft involves procuring and using another person’s personal identification information, such as Social Security numbers and birth dates, for fraudulent purposes. This could include opening credit card accounts or committing other crimes in that person’s name. In Washington State, identity theft is charged as a felony. 

Penalties differ based on the financial loss incurred by the victim. If the loss is less than $1,500, the crime is considered a Class C felony. For losses greater than $1,500, it is a Class B felony. For the most severe cases, penalties can include up to 10 years in prison and fines reaching $20,000.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud involves using another person’s credit card information deceptively or without authorization. Washington state distinguishes between two types of credit card fraud“card present and card not present.

Card-present crimes occur when the defendant physically possesses a stolen credit card and uses it or attempts to alter the account details. On the other hand, card-not-present crimes happen when the perpetrator obtains the card number and uses it remotely for online transactions or over the phone. 

Penalties for credit card fraud often include jail time, fines, and restitution for the costs associated with identity theft, such as legal fees and credit repair costs.


Embezzlement is a form of theft that involves unlawfully taking property that has been entrusted to you due to your role, job, or relationship with the owner. Offenders can range from employees and trustees to friends, relatives, or even public officials.

Penalties for embezzlement also vary based on the value of the stolen property:

  • Less than $750: Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000
  • $750 to $5,000: Up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000
  • More than $5,000: Up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $20,000

Tax Fraud

Tax fraud is committed by falsely reporting financial information to tax authorities. Common signs of tax fraud include underreporting income, overestimating expenses or deductions, and failing to collect employment taxes. Consequences can involve jail time and substantial fines, and the defendant may also face civil penalties and an investigation from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Money Laundering

Money laundering involves conducting financial transactions with funds derived from unlawful activities. In Washington, individuals can be found guilty if they knowingly engage in transactions designed to conceal the origin of these proceeds or to evade federal reporting requirements. Money laundering is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in jail and/or up to $20,000 in fines, in addition to a civil penalty amounting to twice the value of the laundered proceeds.

Arrested for a White-Collar Crime? Contact a Washington Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for a white-collar crime in Washington, time is of the essence. Legal representation is crucial for navigating the complexities of the law and for defending your rights. Contact a Washington criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and to determine the best course of action.

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