Nearly everyone has heard or read about a white collar crime. These types of crimes are often reported in the news, especially when they involve massive amounts of funds and large groups of victims. While white collar crimes can affect hundreds or even thousands of people and have gone on for years without detection, they can also be committed on a smaller scale. The common denominator of all white collar crimes is that they are financial in nature, committed for some monetary gain or benefit by a person or group at the expense of the victims.
White collar crimes can be investigated and prosecuted at both the state and federal level, depending on the circumstances. When suspected on a large scale with a huge financial scope, across state lines, or in violation of federal law, they may be investigated for months or years by the FBI or other federal agencies. In this case, they may be subject to federal sentencing guidelines. Federal prison terms are often longer than those imposed by states.
Common White Collar Crimes & Their Penalties
White collar crimes range in scope, complexity, and span many areas of society. Common white collar crimes include (but are not limited to):
- Various types of fraud, such as bank fraud, wire fraud, healthcare fraud, corporate fraud, investment scams, insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Money laundering
The penalties you will face when charged with any white-collar crime will depend on if it was prosecuted by the state of Wisconsin or the federal government. Penalties will be dictated by the type of crime, the number of victims, how much financial or economic damage was caused, and your prior criminal history, if applicable.
Penalties may include:
- Jail or prison terms
- Fines that can range from a $1,000 up to $100,000
- Probation that can last from 12 months to several years, during which time you will be subject to specific conditions set by the court and you will have to report to your probation officer
- Asset forfeiture/seizure, in which your property, bank accounts, and other financial gains are seized by the government
- Restitution, in which you will have to pay compensation to the victims for their losses
For example, if your white-collar crime was charged and prosecuted by the state of Wisconsin, felony penalties can include three years and six months up to life in prison. These crimes are categorized from Class A (the most serious) in a descending order down to Class I (the least serious.)
If convicted of a Wisconsin misdemeanor, the penalties can range from 90 days up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. When convicted of a federal white-collar crime, you may be facing a federal prison term of six months up to 20 or 30 years along with fines ranging from $100,000 up to $1,000,000.
In all those situations, you will also face the disadvantage of going forward with a permanent criminal record that will be accessible on any background check. That can cause problems for you when seeking a job, educational opportunities, renting an apartment, or qualifying for a professional license in the career of your choice. For noncitizens, a criminal conviction can lead to potential deportation or nonrenewal of a green card.
Turn to a Reputable & Skilled White Collar Crime Attorney
Often those arrested for white collar crimes have never had any experience with law enforcement or the criminal justice system. Getting experienced legal representation in such a situation is critical if you wish to ensure that you are treated fairly and that your best interests are pursued throughout the criminal process. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, you can turn to a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience. You can count on our diligence and determination to help you attack white collar crime charges in Milwaukee.
Contact us at (414) 882-8382 for a free consultation. You can also reach us online to arrange for a consultation.