White-collar crime is almost always a financial crime. It is typically non-violent and can be prosecuted at the state court or federal court level. These crimes are almost always grounded in fraud and deceit rather than in violence or threat of violence. Here is what you may want to know about how white-collar crimes are prosecuted in Oklahoma.
How The Government Sees White Collar Crime
While many view white-collar crimes as victimless because of the lack of violence involved, the financial harm from white-collar crimes has a ripple effect in the economy, with costs often being passed on to consumers. As a result, these crimes tend to carry stiff sentences if you are convicted.
Types of White-Collar Crime
Whether at the state or federal level, white-collar crimes cover all sorts of financial crimes. Some examples are:
- Identity Theft
- Medicare or Other Insurance Fraud
- Internet Fraud
- Mortgage Fraud and Predatory Lending
- Computer Crimes
- Tax Evasion
This list is illustrative only. Types of fraud and financial crimes are limited only by time and imagination. Included in this list are all sorts of Ponzi and pyramid schemes. Some of these white collar crimes are committed by a single person, such as identity theft. Some are committed by criminal groups. When a group of criminals engage in white collar crime, each person within the group is often charged with the crime itself and with conspiracy.
Other white collar crimes are committed by businesses and corporations. For example, mortgage fraud or predatory lending practices are often committed by a corporation. Sometimes, when a corporation is the perpetrator, innocent employees can get caught up in the process and can be charged. This can be a particularly sticky situation for an employee.
In these cases, it is often a federal agency doing the investigation, often the IRS or FBI. It can be tempting for an employee to try to explain their position to these investigators. However, it may be foolish to do so without having your attorney present. Since these are federal investigators, not police, they are not required to advise you of your rights before questioning you. And everything that you say to them can be used against you later.
And whether these cases are charged in state court or federal court, the results are often a felony conviction. And both state court and federal court have stiff penalties.
Penalties Vary With the Crime
All crimes have their own penalties, but as an example, here is how Oklahoma punishes embezzlement. Embezzlement is a typical white-collar crime. It is defined as the fraudulent appropriation of another’s property which was legally obtained, to a purpose not intended or authorized by its owner, or hiding the property with the fraudulent intent to appropriate it under any one of a number of circumstances. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1451.
If the value of the property embezzled is less than $1,000.00, the crime is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1000, up to 1 year in the county jail, or both.
If the value of the property embezzled is between $1,000.00 and $2,499.00, the crime is a felony punishable by up to 2 years in prison or 1 year in the county jail, a fine of up to $5,000.00, or both. In addition, the defendant may be ordered to pay restitution of up to three times the value of the property to the victim.
If the value of the property embezzled is between $2,500.00 and $14,999,.00, a defendant my spend up to 5 years in prison, pay a fine up to $5000, and pay three times the amount in restitution to the victim.
If the value of the property embezzled is Fifteen Thousand Dollars $15,000 a defendant faces up to 8 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, and three times the property amount in restitution.
Finally, the law allows small amounts to be aggregated into one offense when they are the result of the formulation of a plan or scheme or are the result of the taking of property on a recurring basis. When all acts result from a continuing course of conduct, they may also be aggregated into one crime. This allows a prosecutor to push for a much harsher penalty.
Federal penalties for white-collar crimes are often even harsher. If you are facing charges for a white-collar crime in either state or federal court, you will need expert help.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa White-Collar Crime Defense Attorney
If you would like a free consultation with a Tulsa white-collar crime defense attorney at Wirth Law Office, call 918-879-1681 or toll-free 1-888-Wirth-Law (1-888-947-8452).
If you prefer written correspondence, you may submit a question for the Tulsa criminal defense attorneys through the form at the top right of this page.