About White Collar Crimes
St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorney
Have you ever heard of the phrase white collar crime? The phrase was originally coined in 1939 by Edwin Sutherland during a speech to the American Sociological Society. Sutherland defined the term as crime that was committed by a person of a respectably high social status and in the course of his occupation.
The term today generally refers to a variety of financially motivated, non-violent crimes that are committed for the purpose of illegal monetary gain. There are a number of white collar crimes that are difficult to prosecute because the perpetrators used a variety of sophisticated tools to conceal their activities, many of which required deep insider knowledge in order to commit such crimes. Common white collar crimes include:
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Public corruption
- Money laundering
- Trade secret theft
- Antitrust violations
- Computer and internet fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Telemarketing fraud
- Environmental violations
While the government can prosecute individuals for white collar crimes, the government has the authority to sanction corporations for committing these offenses as well, and these types of offenses are considered corporate crime. The penalties for a white collar crime conviction may include any of the following: 1) home detention, 2) hefty fines, 3) community confinement, 4) restitution, 5) imprisonment, 6) supervised release, 7) paying the cost of prosecution, 8) forfeitures, and 9) community service. The punishments for white collar crimes were stiffened after the Enron Scandal, with the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. In the state of Missouri, white collar crimes are generally classified as felonies or Class A misdemeanors, some of which include the following:
- Forgery – Under § 570.090, a Class C felony offense
- Counterfeiting – Under § 570.103 counterfeiting is a Class C or Class D felony offense
- Commercial bribery – Under § 570.150, commercial bribery is a Class A misdemeanor
- Possessing a forging instrument – Under § 570.100, possessing a forging instrument is a Class C felony
- Identity Theft – Under § 570.223, identity theft is a Class D felony
St. Louis White Collar Crime Lawyer
It is not uncommon for "white collar professionals" in the financial industry to succumb to threats or overwhelming pressure from their superiors. Out of fear of losing their job, or retaliation or worse, they commit white collar crimes under duress; in cases such as these a common defense is entrapment.
If you or someone you care about is facing charges for a white collar crime in Missouri, it's important for you to understand that you could be facing hefty fines, restitution, incarceration and the permanent criminal record that comes with a criminal conviction. Due to the fact that most white collar crimes are committed by professionals, there is an excellent chance that until now, you were a productive citizen without any prior arrests or convictions.
At The Sumner Law Group, most of our clients facing criminal charges for something such as fraud or embezzlement have a career and more importantly a family on the line. For this reason it's imperative that you take these charges seriously and contact our office at once to discuss your charges at length with an attorney. What you do here and now can impact the entire course of your future and you want to choose your St. Louis criminal defense lawyer wisely.