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White Collar Crime Defense in Texas

By March 25, 2024Blog9 min read
Arrested for white collar crime

A category of highly deceptive crime is gaining increasing attention these days, both in Texas and nationally. Crimes within this category are not violent, but they offer substantial victimization. We are referring to illegal activities commonly called White-Collar Crimes.

“These crimes are not violent, but they are not victimless. White-collar crimes can destroy a company, wipe out a person’s life savings, cost investors billions of dollars, and erode the public’s trust in institutions.” – Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Today’s post focuses on Texas white collar crime. We will explain and include examples of white collar crime. This post will also discuss who investigates these crimes, review the associated punishments and penalties, and examine common defense strategies.

What Is White Collar Crime in Texas?

“White-collar crime” originates from a 1930s sociologist, Edwin Sutherland. He explains the concept in his book, White Collar Crime. Sutherland’s groundbreaking works challenged the predominant association between crime and lower socio-economic groups. He argued that the privileged and powerful could also engage in criminal behavior of different forms, mainly non-violent and deceitful.

Today, we define white collar crime as fraudulent acts committed by people in business or government that violate trust, conceal, or deceit. These crimes are usually motivated by unethical financial gain. For example, Enron Corporation’s downfall in the early 2000s is perhaps one of the most notable Texas white collar crime cases. It is also considered one of the largest corporate fraud scandals in history.

Who Leads Texas White Collar Crime Investigations?

The Texas Attorney General and other district attorneys typically spearhead white collar crimes investigation Texas. Federal agencies that are also heavily involved in investigating these crimes include the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Secret Service. Both state and federal agencies may be involved in some cases, especially significant cases like Enron, which had far-reaching effects outside Texas.

How Serious Is White Collar Crime in Texas?

As far as Texas and federal legal systems are concerned, no one is above the law. The nonviolent nature of white collar crimes makes them no less severe than violent criminal acts.

In the eyes of Texas law enforcement and the judicial system, white collar crimes are significant.

A Texas white-collar crime can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the circumstances of the case, the severity of the offense, and the amount of financial loss involved.

Common White Collar Crimes Texas

Money laundering

Texas state law includes a lengthy list of white collar offenses. Therefore, for the sake of brevity, we will focus on some common white collar crime examples in Texas. These offenses fall under the “white-collar crime” category because they involve individuals, businesses, or government officials using deceptive practices for financial gain.

Money Laundering

Money laundering involves disguising the source of unlawfully acquired funds to make them appear legitimate, i.e., acquired through legitimate means. Individuals and organizations typically engage in money laundering to hide and accumulate wealth, avoid taxes and prosecution, and fund further criminal activity.

Tax Evasion

Tax evasion involves intentionally underreporting income, overstating deductions, and more to avoid paying taxes. If caught in the act, individuals and corporations can face tax evasion charges, and the consequences are severe.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is when someone entrusted with another’s money or property steals or misappropriates it for personal use. Examples of embezzlement can include an employee stealing cash/merchandise/services from an employer, underreporting company revenue and diverting the difference to oneself, or deliberately transferring money from an employer’s bank account to a personal account.

Securities Fraud

Fraud, in general, has many faces, including securities fraud. Securities fraud involves deliberately deceiving investors or manipulating the stock market to gain an unfair advantage or profit illegally. It can include insider trading, falsifying financial reports, or other deceptive practices that illegally impact the stock market.

Forgery

Forgery involves intentionally creating or altering documents to deceive others. Forgery charges can result from faking signatures, changing contracts, making fake money, or creating phony identification.

Now that we have identified a few common white collar crimes in Texas, let’s review the associated penalties.

Penalties for White Collar Crimes in Texas

Texas white collar crime is not trivial; the legal punishment can include hefty fines, jail time, and more. Generally, the penalties for white collar crime cases will depend on several factors, including the specific offense committed, the amount of money involved, and the defendant’s criminal history.

Fines

A judge may order someone convicted of a white collar crime in Texas to pay hefty fines by the court. Depending on the crime’s financial impact, the ordered payment can span thousands of dollars to millions.

Imprisonment

The notion that white collar felons only go to “country club” prison facilities is false. Convicted white collar crimes in Texas often result in jail time, and the level of offense and financial fallout usually determines the sentencing length. Furthermore, imprisonment can be in a county, state, or federal jail, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Restitution

Restitution is the restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner. Courts may demand that convicted white-collar criminals repay their victims for any financial losses resulting from the crime. Restitution often applies to cases involving embezzled funds, evaded government taxes, or fraud losses.

Probation

Probation is sentencing that allows convicted criminals to remain out of jail and under supervision as long as the individual follows specific guidelines. An experienced white collar crime attorney in Texas can negotiate with the prosecution for probation if the case meets particular criteria.

Asset Forfeiture

Asset forfeiture is when the government seizes property illegally obtained through white-collar crimes. The seized property can include bank accounts, homes, vehicles, and more.

Professional Consequences

A Texas white collar crime conviction can have severe professional consequences for the defendant, like loss of professional licenses and irreparable damage to professional reputations and opportunities.

In addition to these various penalties, there are collateral consequences associated with white collar crimes cases resulting in guilty convictions. For example, there is the lingering societal degradation that stems from a criminal conviction. Also, those with a criminal record often find it difficult to navigate “ordinary life” activities, such as getting a job, finding housing, getting a credit card, or securing a loan.

Texas White Collar Crime Defense

A skilled white collar crime lawyer in Texas can build a strong defense and help protect your rights when facing charges. There are several defense strategies available. For example, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, one or more of these defense strategies may apply.

  • Demonstrating criminal activity occurred under duress or coercion
  • Demonstrating that entrapment led to an arrest
  • Introducing evidence that provides reasonable doubt
  • Demonstrating a mental or physical incapacity to commit the crime
  • Claiming an insanity defense

What To Do When Accused of a White-Collar Crime

Trust us, white collar crimes Texas charges are serious business. It does not matter if your hands did not get dirty with violence. However, an experienced Texas white collar law firm can help secure the best possible resolution when facing these charges.

If you or a loved one are facing allegations of Texas white collar crime, the skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at GHC Law are ready to help build a robust defense. We understand that bad things can happen to good people. We are prepared to work with you every step of the way to ensure you understand the choices available and feel empowered to make them.

Contact a GHC Law Texas white collar crime attorney today to get started.

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FAQ: White Collar Crime in Texas

How do I report white collar crimes Texas?

The Texas Attorney General’s office has commissioned peace officers and crime analysts to undertake various investigations and activities to support crime detection, prevention, and prosecution. This division investigates and supports prosecuting violent and white-collar crimes, including complex fraud crimes.

What is a common defense strategy for most white-collar defendants?

Texas federal arrests for white collar crime do not guarantee a conviction. An experienced white collar crimes Texas attorney can build a defense strategy that ensures the best possible outcome for the case presented, including introducing reasonable doubt, demonstrating entrapment, or proving the activity occurred while under duress or coercion.

Who commits white collar crimes?

A study1 found that caucasian men aged 41-50 are the most common demographic that commits white-collar crimes.

What is the most common white collar crime?

According to a recent research study1, fraud is the most common white-collar crime, accounting for 63% of all white collar crimes.

Is there a list of white collar crime prisons in Texas?

There is no designated facility exclusively for white collar crime in Texas. However, minimum-security prisons exist to house convicted felons with the lowest security point totals and other factors. In Texas, these minimum security prisons include:

1 “20 Shocking White-Collar Crime Statistics [2023]: The State Of White Collar Crime In The U.S.” Zippia.com. Jun. 14, 2023, https://www.zippia.com/advice/white-collar-crime-statistics

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