WHITE COLLAR CRIME
While criminal law is often portrayed on television as involving murders and assaults, white collar crime constitutes a substantial portion of all criminal law cases in the country. White collar cases are actually defined more by what they lack rather than by any true characteristic. That is, white collar crimes do not involve physical violence. They almost always involve financial matters. White collar crime is a term generically linked to any number of various offenses including stock promoter fraud, “pump and dumps,” market manipulation, wash trading, money laundering, insider trading, embezzlement, securities fraud, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) offenses, accounting and many other financial crimes.
In some respects, white collar crimes are similar to any other type of crime. The rights that are in place to protect “regular” criminal defendants apply equally to white collar criminal defendants.
With that said, the nature of the prosecution is almost always different in the white collar context. Most notably, white collar offenses are often raise far more complicated legal issues. The prosecutions are often brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office, which is part of the United States Justice Department. To the extent that white collar crime prosecutions are brought by the local authorities, it is more often by the state Attorney General than by the local District Attorney's Office. Some of the more notable recent white collar crime cases involved Bernie Madoff, Jeffrey Skilling, and Richard Scrushy.
Unlike other criminal cases, which can go to trial fairly quickly, investigations into white collar crime can take several years, and follows a remarkably convoluted process. For example, it is critical to understand that white collar criminal defendant may be one of the targets of a criminal investigation, and have no idea the investigation is underway until it is too late, and formal charges are filed. In the interim, they may even be asked to give testimony by other agencies in parallel proceedings, for example pursuant to an SEC subpoena. Even if a person believes that they are only a “witness,” and not the “target” of an investigation, experienced white collar defense attorneys should be consulted, especially before having any dealings with law enforcement officers.
Our attorneys focus on defending individuals and companies, from executives to stock promoters to others accused of white collar crime involved in all types of white collar criminal proceedings and forums.
Call Phillipson & Uretsky, LLP at (212) 571-1255 to learn more.