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How Is White Collar Crime Defined in Washington?

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Understanding the legal parameters surrounding white-collar crimes is essential for anyone facing allegations or charges in Washington state. These non-violent offenses are characterized by deceit, manipulation, or breach of trust and are mainly financially motivated. If you are arrested on suspicion of a white-collar offense, it is imperative to seek legal representation as soon as you can from a qualified Tacoma white collar crimes lawyer.

What Is a White-Collar Crime?

White-collar crime refers to a range of offenses that involve illegal methods to gain financial benefits. These crimes often rely on concealment, subterfuge, and illegal circumvention of rules or policies. 

In many white-collar crime cases, the defendants are individuals associated with business or government entities accused of mishandling funds or manipulating data. Though the state of Washington may prosecute these offenses, they are most often dealt with in federal courts, which have extensive resources allocated to this division.

Common Examples of White-Collar Crimes

There are many crimes that the state of Washington classifies as white-collar offenses. Some of these include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Identity Theft: This involves illegally obtaining and using another person’s personal information for financial gain, such as opening credit cards or securing loans.
  • Embezzlement: This crime occurs when someone wrongfully takes or misappropriates money or property entrusted to them, typically in a workplace.
  • Credit Card Fraud: Here, an individual uses another person’s credit card information to make unauthorized purchases or withdrawals.
  • Insider Trading: This involves trading a company’s stocks or other securities based on confidential, material information about the company.
  • Tax Evasion: This occurs when an individual or business deliberately underpays taxes through fraudulent means.
  • Money Laundering: This involves the illegal process of making large amounts of money generated by a criminal activity appear legitimate.

What Are the Penalties for a White-Collar Crime in Washington?

Penalties for white-collar crimes in Washington can be severe, including jail time, fines, home detention, and even property forfeiture. Misdemeanor white-collar offenses may result in up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Gross misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. 

More serious offenses can lead to more serious penalties; for example, Class C felonies may result in five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Class B felonies like embezzlement over $5,000 can lead to a 10-year prison term and $20,000 in fines. The most severe offenses, Class A felonies, may even result in life imprisonment and fines up to $50,000.

What Should You Do If You Are Arrested for a White-Collar Crime?

If you are arrested for a white-collar crime in Washington, the steps that you immediately take can have a major impact on your case. First and foremost, contact an attorney experienced in white-collar criminal defense. Do not provide any statements or answer questions from the police, as anything you say can be used against you. Your lawyer can guide you through the complexities of the charges, helping you understand your rights and the best course of action.

Remember, a white-collar conviction can disrupt your life and threaten your freedom. You need a solid legal foundation to fight for your best interests and help reduce the potential penalties. To protect your rights, contact a Washington criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

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