Wheaton White Collar Crime Defense
Get The Answers You Need From The White Collar Defense Attorneys At Martin & Kent, L.L.C.
White collar crimes are non-violent and, instead, are financially motivated. However, these offenses can come with harsh penalties upon a conviction. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, white collar crimes can be open to federal prosecution in addition to state penalties. While many people accused of white collar crimes do not fit our common conception of a “criminal,” it is important to remember that white collar crimes can result in extremely serious penalties and many people who are convicted of these kinds offenses spend years or even decades in prison.
These cases are commonly complex, full of sophisticated financial mechanisms and lengthy paper trails. They require a sharp, vigilant eye for defense, as well as a willingness and experience to face federal court if the prosecution takes it there. At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., we’ve handled a number of white collar crime cases and always ensure that our clients’ rights are protected throughout what can be a grueling and aggressive prosecution. With more than 10,000 criminal cases handled during our more than 40 years of combined experience, we’re well-versed in bringing even the most sophisticated charges to swift, minimized conclusions. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago criminal defense lawyers, call us at (630) 474-8000 at any time of day or night.
What Exactly Is a White Collar Crime?
White collar crimes usually occur in businesses, corporations, and sometimes political bodies. In many cases, the people who are accused of committing white collar crimes are professionals, elected officials, or others in a position of power or trust. White collar offenses are often associated with corruption, involving certain procedures that unlawfully benefit the individuals involved. Statistics show that police arrested 2,869 in one year for theft crimes in DuPage County, of which Wheaton is the county seat, many of which were for white collar offenses.
Examples of white collar crimes include:
- Mortgage fraud
- Bank and ATM fraud
- Money laundering
- Consumer fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Check fraud (deceptive practices)
- Environmental offenses
- Insurance fraud
Many of these offenses are considered felonies, which can carry heavy penalties. Classification and consequences vary but are often dependent on the value of the property gained through the crime. For more information about your charges and what penalties you might be facing, contact our DuPage County criminal law offices today. The following is some additional information about specific white collar crimes.
Individuals can be charged with and convicted of bribery in a variety of different contexts. First, the accused must have the specific intent to influence an act by someone else. Moreover, a public employee, witnesses, or juror who is acting within the scope of his or her employment must perform the act. A simpler definition of bribery is to give or receive something of value in exchange for the recipient’s act of influencing another’s conduct.
Bribery crimes can also take on a variety of different forms. Some common forms of bribery include the following:
- Promising personal advantage or giving property to someone who cannot legally accept the property
- Promising personal advantage or giving property to a juror, public officer, witness, or employee who is not legally authorized to accept it
In Illinois, bribery is a Class 2 felony. A conviction for a bribery crime can result in a maximum of seven years in jail.
Mortgage fraud is a complicated crime in the State of Illinois and may involve both the borrower as well as the lender. Mortgage fraud occurs when someone makes a false statement, lies, or intentionally misleads or omits important details during the mortgage approval process. This includes intentional misrepresentations that someone makes on a mortgage application—including misrepresentations as to the amount of annual income that a person earns. Mortgage fraud can be difficult to prosecute since it is not always easy to tell if a false statement is intentional or just a simple mistake.
Embezzlement is a white collar crime in Illinois. In order for someone to be charged with and convicted of embezzlement, the following must be true:
- There must be some kind of fiduciary relationship in existence between the accused embezzler and the victim of embezzlement.
- The accused must have acquired the property through that fiduciary or employment relationship.
- The accused must assume ownership or control over the subject property—or transfer the subject property to someone else—for purposes of financial gain.
- The accused must have acted intentionally, as opposed to accidentally.
If the accused can show that the act was not intentional—such as when the accused actually believes that he or she owns the property in question—then that fact may negate the embezzlement charge.
Bank And ATM Fraud
Bank fraud typically involves using some kind of illegal act to obtain property or money from a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union. The accused must use fraud or deceit in order to obtain something of value—usually money—and he or she must act with the required level of intent. As with other specific intent crimes, if the intent element is lacking, then the charge may be subject to dismissal.
Laws and statutes at the federal level primarily govern bank and ATM fraud. Common examples of bank fraud include forging loan documents or writing bad checks.
Money laundering is not always as elaborate as it sounds, and in order to be charged, the crime need not involve big money gangsters or the mob. Money laundering occurs when an individual completes or tries to complete a financial transaction, such as paying a bill or transferring money between financial accounts, knowing that the money came from illegal activity. Moreover, at the time of the financial transaction, the accused must have designed the transaction so as to conceal the money’s criminal origins.
In order to be charged with and convicted of consumer fraud in the State of Illinois, the accused must first make a material false statement to the alleged victim, and he or she must make the statement with knowledge of its falsehood. Moreover, the accused must intend for the alleged victim to rely upon the false statement, and the victim must actually rely upon the statement. Finally, the alleged victim must suffer damages as a result of his or her reliance on the statement at issue. If the prosecutor is unable to prove one or more of these legal elements, then the prosecutor may be forced to dismiss the consumer fraud charge.
Credit Card and Check Fraud
Credit card fraud can take numerous forms, including unlawful possession of someone else’s credit or debit card, taking possession of a misplaced credit or debit card, using a credit card to intentionally defraud someone else, or making a false statement on an application to procure a credit or debit card.
On the other hand, check fraud in Illinois may include forging a check or writing a bad check from a closed account (or from an account that is lacking in sufficient funds).
Forgery, like other Illinois white collar crimes, is an act of deception. In order to be convicted of forgery, the accused must harbor the intent to defraud someone else. Forgery can involve altering or making a document to defraud another person, using another individual’s digital signature, issuing or delivering a fraudulent document, or using an individual’s signature device (including a person’s PIN number) to create an electronic signature.
Environmental offenses are criminal offenses in Illinois that include littering, open burning, and placing waste in flowing or standing water. These and other environmental offenses can result in the court imposing administrative penalties and fines.
Insurance fraud crimes may involve several different types of insurance, including car insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. To constitute fraud, there must be a significant and knowing factual misrepresentation, for purposes of obtaining some unearned benefit. Insurance fraud does not require the exchange of money or something else of value. The accused must intend to permanently deprive the insurance company of the benefit or use of the property at issue.
White Collar Crime Defenses
White collar crime cases often involve sophisticated, long-term investigations conducted by specialized law enforcement personnel. Unlike street crime, where alleged criminals are typically caught in the act or shortly thereafter, authorities typically build white collar crimes cases over the course of months or years of investigation. As a result, many people whom the government charges with white collar crimes feel like the government has an airtight case against them and their only realistic chance is to plead guilty.
There are often defenses available in white collar crime cases, but it can take a trained legal eye to spot them. It is for this reason that it is absolutely critical for anyone facing criminal charges involving white collar crimes to discuss their case with an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer before making any decisions that could affect their legal rights. Some of the more common defenses available in white collar crimes include:
- Challenging the admissibility of evidence because of Fourth Amendment violations – As mentioned above, many white collar crime investigations involve long-term, ongoing surveillance. While this may seem like it can only strengthen the state’s case, the longer an investigation goes on, the more opportunity there is for law enforcement to make mistakes that could violate a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights. If this occurred in your case, it may be possible to have the evidence against you excluded, potentially weakening the state’s case.
- Entrapment – Entrapment is a common defense raised in white collar crime cases. It involves showing that a government agent induced a person to commit a crime that would not otherwise have been committed had it not been for the acts of the agent.
- Lack of intent – In some cases, a person accused of a white collar criminal offense truly had no idea that he or she was part of a larger scheme. This often occurs in the context of a complicated scheme where an individual is performing his or her job duties and unknowingly helping those behind the plot. Lack of intent may be a complete defense to the crime with which the state has charged you.
These are just a few of the defenses that may be available in a white collar criminal case. When you retain Martin & Kent, L.L.C., we will perform an exhaustive analysis of your case in order to evaluate your legal options and determine the best approach to take. In the event that there are no defenses available, we will work hard to negotiate a plea bargain arrangement that will allow you to avoid the most serious consequences associated with your alleged offense.
Our Proven Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help for Charges In DuPage, Kane, and Cook Counties
Defense against white collar crime charges requires a skilled attorney who can create a clear and accurate narrative for juries to understand. If you are facing charges for a white collar crime, you can’t trust your case with just anyone! We urge you to call Martin & Kent, L.L.C., immediately at (630) 474-8000 for trusted and proven counsel. Schedule your free consultation and start your defense today!