White collar crimes are generally defined as those that do not require the use of threats, physical force or violence. A typical white collar offender utilizes fraud, deceit or concealment to deprive another person of their property or to gain an advantage over a competitor in a business setting. Under Texas law, white collar crimes are treated as misdemeanors or felonies — and punished accordingly — depending upon the value of the property diverted from rightful owners and the degree to which the crime undermines public confidence in important institutions.
Several white collar crimes are prosecuted under Texas state law. The most common ones prosecuted are these:
- Forgery — Making, altering or executing a document without authorization so that it purports to be the act of another person
- Identity theft — Using the personal information of another individual with the intention of harming or defrauding them
- Credit card fraud — Using fake or misappropriated credit card information to gain a personal benefit or otherwise receiving a financial benefit from defrauding a lender
- Insurance fraud — Presenting a claim to an insurer with the intention of receiving benefits not deserved
- Money laundering — Acquiring funds from criminal activity and using them in subsequent transactions while concealing their true source
Punishment for these crimes vary based on the amount of money involved and any aggravating factors. First-degree felonies in Texas can carry a prison term of five to 99 years and possibly a life sentence. Second-degree felonies are punishable by a term of five to 20 years; third-degree felonies by a term of two to 10 years; and state jail felonies by a term of 180 days to two years. Felonies at all levels can also carry a maximum $10,000 fine.
There are also white collar crimes prosecuted under federal law, including bribery, conspiracy, counterfeiting, money laundering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and multiple types of fraud. Among the most common federal white collar criminal prosecutions are securities and healthcare fraud. Penalties for these crimes are generally linked to the amount of the money or property wrongfully diverted.
White collar criminal prosecutions are complex and based on extensive investigations, which means your defense must be comprehensive and efficient. Avoiding heavy penalties may require legal representation even before charges are filed. If you believe you may be the target of an investigation, consult an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney immediately for guidance.
Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio, Texas has deep experience in defending people facing potential prosecution for white collar crimes. Feel free to contact us online or call 210-598-8629 for an initial consultation.