White collar crime sentencing is not to be taken lightly, as being convicted of a white collar crime can subject you to serious punishments under Texas and federal law. A conviction means you will likely have to serve years in state prison, pay hefty fines, and have your reputation and livelihood tarnished.
Facing a white collar crime charge? Outside of hiring a white collar crime defense lawyer, (which is almost always in your best interests to do ASAP) one of the best things you can use this time for is to educate yourself on what you might be up against.
That’s why the top white collar crime lawyers at Westfall Sellers have created this guide to everything you need to know about white collar crime sentencing in Texas.
How does the white collar crime sentencing process work?
The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) outlines the sentencing guidelines that a judge must follow when issuing penalties following a white collar conviction. For every criminal activity, the USSC must establish maximum, minimum, and alternative sentences.
Previously, the federal government would handle white collar crime sentencing; now, state authorities including the Attorney General or District Attorney actively prosecute white collar crime cases.
According to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines put into place by the USSC, sentences are ranked in levels based on the severity of the crime committed and if the defendant has a prior criminal record. To put it simply, the more serious the crime, the higher the offense level, the worse the punishment. Keep this in mind as we discuss the different sentences for the different types of white collar crime.
How long do you go to jail for a white collar crime?
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to white collar crime sentencing in Texas, not all sentences are created equal. Your sentence will vary depending on the type of white collar crime you are convicted of and the severity of your crime.
- Health care fraud: According to 18 U.S. Code § 1347, the following sentences will be given per severity of the violation:
- Ten (10) year maximum sentence
- Twenty (20) year maximum sentence if serious bodily injury to a patient occurred
- Life sentence if the crime committed involved the death of a patient
- Bank fraud: At the federal level, a bank fraud conviction can get you a prison sentence of up to 30 years. The minimum sentence would be 18 months for a state jail felony conviction.
- Conspiracy: According to the 18 U.S. Code § 371, you can be sentenced to state jail for conspiracy for two (2) to five (5) years except where the object of the conspiracy is a misdemeanor. If the object is a misdemeanor, the maximum imprisonment for a conspiracy to commit that offense, under the revised section, cannot exceed 1 year.
- Mail fraud: Depending on the severity of the scheme, a person may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
- Cybercrime: Here are common types of cybercrimes and their penalties:
- Invasive visual recording – 2 years in a state prison
- Online Solicitation – 2-20 years in state prison depending on the degree of the felony
- Harassment – 180 days/up to 1 year in state prison
Do white collar criminals get lighter sentences?
By definition, white collar crimes are non-violent, economic crimes. Because white collar crime sentences are calculated based on how much money was involved, the number of people involved, and the severity of the crime, people who have not committed a major white collar crime receive lighter sentences than those who have. Additionally, defendants with no prior criminal record may also receive lesser sentences, such as shorter jail time than the maximum they could be given.
For these reasons, it is often said that white collar criminals get lighter sentences than other criminals do. This is a common misconception. Just because these sentences may seem lighter does not mean they are without lasting consequences. Even the lightest of white collar crime sentences can be incredibly damaging to someone’s life, reputation, and career.
Facing a White Collar Crime Charge? You Need a White Collar Defense Attorney from Westfall Sellers to Represent You.
White collar crime sentencing can be devastating beyond just fees and jail time. That’s why, if you’re charged with a white collar crime, you need to hire a white collar crime defense attorney that you can trust.
Every white collar lawyer in Dallas from Westfall Sellers has years of experience dealing with successful white collar defense cases around Texas. Greg Westfall, a known “Super Lawyer,” specializes in white collar cases.
Our firm works with investigators, federal law enforcement, forensic accountants, and other experts to gain information and evidence that can be vital to winning your case. If you are charged, we will fight for your freedom, your reputation, and your livelihood.
You only get one shot at this. Contact our team online today or call us at 817-928-4222 to request a free consultation.
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