A white collar crime, or corporate crime, is one that involves a financial motive, usually at a large corporation. The consequences for committing a white collar crime can be severe. If prosecutors are charging you with this offense, hire a Tacoma white collar crimes attorney from the Law Office of Mark S. Treyz. We have years of experience and proven results, fighting for the rights of clients throughout Pierce, Thurston, and South King County.
A white collar crime can describe a range of offenses committed for financial gain, often using deceit or violations of trust. Coined in 1939, white collar crimes usually involve defendants who work for financial institutions, own businesses, or work for the government. Most white collar crimes do not involve violence or physical force. Instead, they use concealment, fraud, and scams to make money.
A white collar crime conviction could lead to penalties such as imprisonment, fines, house arrest, probation, and restitution. If one victim suffered substantial financial damages, the defendant may receive a longer prison sentence. Assisting authorities with the criminal investigation could help lessen the punishment.
Many white collar criminal cases involve federal government prosecutors. The government takes an interest in white collar crimes because it loses over $300 billion per year because of these crimes. In Washington State, the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington prosecutes white collar crimes.
The white collar criminal laws for Washington State are in Criminal Code Section 9A.20.021. A misdemeanor white collar crime comes with a punishment of imprisonment up to 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A gross misdemeanor comes with a maximum of 364 days in prison and/or a fine of $5,000. A class C felony comes with up to five years in a state institution and/or $10,000. Class B felonies are punishable with up to 10 years and/or $20,000. A class A white collar crime felony can lead to life in prison and/or $50,000 in fines.
Embezzlement is a type of theft that involves a breach of trust. Most embezzlers have access to funds or property, and take advantage of this access to take the asset for personal gain. Anyone guilty of embezzlement in Washington commits a class B felony, with a prison term up to 14 years plus restitution of the amount embezzled.
Taking someone else’s identity is a felony crime in Washington, with penalties up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of $20,000 for serious offenses. The penalties will depend on the amount of monetary damages the victim suffered.
Carrying out a Ponzi scheme or Pyramid scam to commit investment fraud may be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature of the crime. Penalties can include jail time, probation, restitution, community service, fines, and revocation of business licenses.
Making false or misleading statements about a company or the value of its stocks and bonds is securities fraud. Punishments for this crime in Washington can include 10 years in prison and/or $20,000 in fines for a class B felony.
Committing extortion in Washington, or threatening/coercing a victim to forfeit assets is either a first- or second-degree felony depending on the threat involved. Many cases of extortion involve blackmailing.
The latest information from the U.S. Justice Department reports 3,249 white collar criminal prosecutions in the first seven months of 2018. Overall, the rate of white collar crimes has decreased over the last five years, to fall to its lowest recorded rate in 20 years. The rate is down 31.3% from 8,108 reported cases in 2008 and 40.8% from 9,412 cases in 1998.
If you are facing criminal charges and need a Tacoma white collar crimes lawyer, contact us at 253-272-8666 today for a free consultation.