White Collar Crimes
White-Collar Crime Lawyer Dallas/Fort Worth
If you’ve received a federal grand jury subpoena or suspect you may be investigated for fraud, you need to hire a white-collar crime lawyer in Dallas/Fort Worth — and fast. The penalties for white-collar crimes can be severe and may include anything from long federal white-collar prison sentences, to hefty fines, and even the loss of your license or practice.
No matter where they are prosecuted, white-collar crime cases tend to be complex, and could benefit greatly from a lawyer who has significant experience in the field — like the lawyers at Westfall Sellers. Both of our founding attorneys, Greg Westfall and Frank Sellers, have business school backgrounds and are not afraid to take white-collar cases to trial. We’ve won white-collar cases before and we can do it for you.
What are white-collar crimes?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), white-collar crime is defined as “illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence.”
In other words, white-collar crimes refer to financial crimes that are committed as an offense of a business or network by someone with a higher socioeconomic status. These crimes usually refer to fraud-type offenses but can also be as simple as failing to pay taxes, money laundering, and insider trading.
Who investigates white-collar crimes?
It used to be that the federal government exclusively prosecuted white-collar offenses, but that has since changed. Now, Texas state authorities, including the attorney general and district attorney, actively prosecute these cases alongside the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). All urban district attorney offices have white-collar departments, focusing exclusively on white-collar charges.
Because the financial nature of these crimes crosses state lines, they are typically prosecuted in federal court and can come with steep punishments if the crime becomes a felony.
If you are being charged with a white-collar offense or suspect a case may be opened against you, you need to find the best white-collar defense lawyer for your case. Greg Westfall and Frank Sellers have extensive experience handling white-collar crime cases, and will use this experience to build your defense.
What are the penalties for white-collar crimes in Texas?
White-collar crimes can be charged as a first degree felony or a low-level misdemeanor and everything in between. It all depends on what offense was committed and how much money the victim lost as a result of the accused’s alleged actions.
For example, according to Section 32.21 of the Penal Code, forgery of a check for $100 will be charged as a Class C Misdemeanor, while the forgery of a check for $300,000 or more will be charged as a first degree felony.
The penalties and punishments for each crime will depend on how the crime is charged. Here are the Texas punishment levels according to the Texas Penal Code:
|Class C Misdemeanor||Up to $500||–|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Up to $2,000||Up to 180 days|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Up to $4,000||Up to 1 year|
|Third Degree Felony||Up to $10,000||2 – 10 years|
|Second Degree Felony||Up to $20,000||2 – 20 years|
|First Degree Felony||Up to $10,000||5 – 99 years|
|Capital Felony||–||Life sentencing or death penalty|
It’s important to note that punishments for these types of offenses can include both state and federal charges and require a federal lawyer who has a comprehensive understanding of the federal sentencing guidelines to fight the charges against you. This is even more true if you have a previous conviction of a similar offense, caused harm to a large number of people, or stole a very large amount of money as punishments can extend beyond what is standard.
How do you fight white-collar crimes?
Hiring a white-collar crime lawyer who regularly handles white-collar crime cases in Dallas can be your ticket out.
1. Finding holes in the prosecutor’s case
Even if the prosecutor thinks they have a strong case against you, there may still be opportunities to weaken or disprove their arguments. At Westfall Sellers, we routinely work with investigators with federal law enforcement experience as well as forensic accountants and other experts who can be vital to a successful white-collar defense.
2. Proving lack of intent or knowledge
Although the courts don’t typically recognize a lack of intent or knowledge as a valid defense, in the event that multiple parties were involved in the crime and you were unknowingly brought along for the ride, you and your lawyer can build a defense around that lack of knowledge.
3. Revealing duress or coercion
To use duress or coercion as a defense, we would have to prove that you were forced to commit the crime due to the threat of death or bodily harm to yourself or another.
4. Showing you were entrapped
If the arresting officer(s) forced you to commit a crime that you wouldn’t have otherwise committed in order to arrest you, you and your white-collar defense attorney can use this as a valid defense.
Types of white-collar crimes
In the federal system, the most common white-collar crimes include:
- Healthcare Fraud (Learn more about healthcare fraud lawyers)
- Mail Fraud
- Wire Fraud
- Bank Fraud (Learn more about bank fraud defense)
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Anti-kickback Allegations
- RICO Violations
- Public and Political Corruption
- Falsifying Financial Documents
- False Statement to a Federal Agent
In the state system, more commonly charged allegations include:
- Money Laundering
- Forgery False statement to Obtain Credit
- Tampering with a Government Record or Document
- Misapplication of Fiduciary Property
- Securing the Execution of a Document by Deception
For more information, please visit our blog regarding 5 different types of white-collar crime.
If you are being investigated, do not delay in hiring a federal conspiracy attorney from Westfall Sellers.
With business crimes cases, you tend to know you are under investigation a long time before an arrest occurs. If you get a call from the FBI or one of the myriad state or federal agencies, DO NOT DELAY in hiring a white-collar crime lawyer in Dallas/Fort Worth. Similarly, if you receive a letter from the Department of Justice asking you to appear before a grand jury, do not try to talk your way out of it.
Contact the team at Westfall Sellers immediately by scheduling a free consultation online or calling us at 817-345-7920 so that we can help you with this process. Early mistakes may result in indictments and convictions (and, more and more often, significant time in the penitentiary).