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When Can White Collar Crimes Lead to State or Federal Charges?

 Posted on February 19, 2024 in White Collar Crimes

Blog ImageWhite collar crimes generally consist of non-violent offenses that are committed in business or professional settings. These offenses may involve deceit, fraud, or illegal financial transactions for personal gain. Depending on the circumstances of a case, white collar crimes may be prosecuted at either the state or federal level. Understanding how different types of offenses may be handled, what steps will be followed in state or federal courts, and what options are available to defend against conviction is crucial for anyone who has been charged with white collar crimes. An attorney who has experience representing clients in state and federal cases can help develop a successful defense strategy while ensuring that a defendant’s rights will be protected.

Different Types of White Collar Crimes

White collar crimes encompass a wide range of illegal activities, including:

  • Embezzlement: This offense involves the misappropriation or theft of funds or other property entrusted to a person by someone else, such as an employee who is accused of stealing from their employer.

  • Fraud: These crimes may encompass multiple types of deceptive practices used to deceive others for financial gain. Different forms of fraud include insurance fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, and bank fraud.

  • Bribery: A person may be accused of offering something valuable (e.g., money or benefits) to influence the actions of someone in a position of power.

  • Tax evasion: A person who is accused of deliberately avoiding paying taxes owed by underreporting income or inflating deductions may face both criminal and civil penalties.

  • Money laundering: This offense involves concealing the origins of illegally obtained money or property through a series of complex transactions to make a person’s activities appear legitimate.

White Collar Crime Charges at the State Level

In general, white collar crimes fall under state jurisdiction when they do not have a significant impact across multiple states and do not violate federal laws. State-level charges may be filed when:

  • The crime occurred entirely within one state.

  • The victim(s) involved are people residing only in that particular state.

  • The criminal activity does not substantially affect interstate commerce.

A person who is charged with a white-collar crime at the state level will face penalties based on applicable state laws. A conviction may result in fines, probation, or imprisonment. State-level white collar crimes may involve embezzlement, bribery of state or local officials, or fraud that affected people within one state.

White Collar Crime Charges at the Federal Level

White collar crimes that involve activities that occur across state lines or violate federal laws fall under federal jurisdiction. The following factors could lead to federal charges:

  • Involvement of multiple states: If the illegal activity occurs in more than one state or involves victims residing in different states, it is likely to be prosecuted at the federal level.

  • Larger financial losses: Cases involving substantial financial losses or complex schemes are more likely to draw attention from federal agencies and prosecutors.

  • Federal agency involvement: When a specific crime falls under the jurisdiction of a federal agency (such as investigations of securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission), it is typically prosecuted federally.

A person who is charged with a white-collar crime at the federal level may face severe penalties including significant fines, restitution payments, probation, and lengthy prison sentences. White collar crimes that may result in federal charges include fraud that affects people in multiple states, bribery of federal officials, money laundering or other activities that involve financial institutions, or internet crimes that involve information transmitted through computer systems in multiple states or countries.

Contact Our Milwaukee White Collar Crimes Defense Lawyers

If you are facing allegations of white collar crimes at either the state or federal level, it is crucial to seek legal representation from a criminal defense lawyer who has experience with these types of cases. The knowledgeable Milwaukee white collar crime attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP understand the complex issues involved in these cases, and we can provide you with representation in state or federal courts. Contact us today at 414-271-1440 to set up a consultation and learn how we can help you defend against a white collar crime conviction.

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