When most people think about white-collar crimes, they think of a highly public trial involving insider trading. While insider trading is a type of white-collar crime, they are many other types of common white-collar crimes. For example, stealing petty cash from your employer and identity theft are considered white-collar crimes in Georgia. White-collar crimes usually mean some type of financially-motivated crime.
If you are facing charges for a white-collar crime, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Defendants who are convicted of white-collar crimes can face extremely harsh sentences, including lengthy jail sentences without the possibility of parole. At Carter/Pilgrim, our lawyers have the kind of extensive trial experience necessary to represent clients skillfully. Contact our white-collar crime defense lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how to advocate for you.
Types of White Collar Crime Charges
Embezzlement as a white collar crime
Embezzlement is one of the most commonly charged white-collar crimes in Georgia. Embezzlement occurs when a person uses another person’s or business’ funds for their own use without permission. Prosecutors must prove the following elements of the crime to secure a conviction:
- The defendant lawfully obtains the property or funds of another person
- The defendant has a legal obligation or agreement to use the funds for a certain purpose
- The defendant knowingly uses the funds for their personal use
- In doing so, the defendant violates the legal obligation or agreement
Embezzlement can happen on a large scale, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars. Or, it can happen on a smaller scale, with an employee stealing $10 per day over a long period. similarly, embezzlement can occur in a large corporation, or in a small family business. Examples of embezzlement include:
- Employers moving money from a customer’s account into their account
- Using money from your child or relative’s Social Security check
- Altering account records and books to hide stolen assets or financial losses
- Nurses or caretakers converting their charge’s assets into their own accounts
We’ve all heard that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Everyone who earns an income is required to pay their income taxes voluntarily. Tax evasion is one of the most common white-collar crimes in Georgia. This crime occurs when people willfully and knowingly attempt to defraud the state of Georgia by filing any report, return, protest, or claim for refund that contains false information.
Again, prosecutors must prove that the defendant knew that the information contained in his or her tax return was false or misleading. Tax evasion also encompasses using a scheme, trick, or device to evade taxes due to the state. One of the best defenses to tax fraud charges is to show that the IRS is incorrect or to show that you didn’t intend to commit fraud.
Georgia law prohibits people from willfully and fraudulently using the identifying information of another person without his or her consent. Identity fraud includes using someone else’s identity to commit a crime. It also includes willingly accepting identifying information that a person knows is stolen, fictitious, or fraudulent. Parents and caretakers can face identity fraud charges for using the identity of a minor over whom the defendant has custodial authority. Using the identity of a deceased person is also illegal in Georgia.
Prosecutors need to prove intent in order to secure an identity fraud conviction in Georgia. One common defense to identity fraud is that the defendant didn’t know he or she was stealing another person’s identity or didn’t intend to engage in fraudulent behavior.
Securities fraud is a crime, more commonly known as insider trading. Defendants can face state criminal charges for securities fraud or federal charges. In Georgia, it is unlawful for someone who advises other people to provide information about the value of securities. An advisor can’t discuss the value of a security that could give someone an advantage when investing in a particular security or in purchasing or selling the security.
Insider trading can also occur when an executive keeps inside information about a company’s financial health, then chooses to sell off large portions of their personal shares in the company. In other words, insider trading happens when a person who owns shares in a company uses insider information that isn’t available to the public to personally benefit by selling their personal shares before the company’s stock value goes down.
Money laundering is a white-collar crime that involves obtaining funds through illegal methods. It attempts to legitimize money gained from illegal activities through a series of legitimate financial transactions. For example, a drug dealer could use the cash he got from drug deals and funnel the money into a hair salon to look “clean,” or legally obtained.
Financial institutions have a legal duty to keep a record of any accounts in which money laundering may have taken place. They are required by law to file a report on any suspicious activity with the appropriate federal authority. Banks and financial institutions can face their own penalties for failure to report possible money laundering.
Defending Against a White-Collar Crime in Georgia
In many cases, white-collar criminal charges happen after a misunderstanding or due to an oversight. If you did not intend to commit a white-collar crime, we will help you create a strategic legal defense. Every decision you make from the time you are arrested until your trial can impact your case.
Securing an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial. Your criminal case is standing between you and a long jail sentence. The sooner you hire an experienced lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can begin preparing your case. At Carter/Pilgrim, we have extensive trial experience. We know all of the tactics prosecutors use to try to prove charges against a client, and we put our knowledge to use for our clients. Contact Carter/Pilgrim as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.