White Collar Crimes
Orange County White Collar Criminal Defense
In recent years the U.S. and California Attorney General has increasingly targeted prosecution of financial crimes involving commercial dealings or dishonesty, also known as white collar crime. Generally white collar crime involves a scheme to intentionally deceive others to earn a profit. As the name white collar suggests, the alleged persons committing these crimes tend to be educated or in high level positions in society, although anyone can be convicted of white collar crime if found guilty.
During unstable times in the stock market investors often seek to get an edge on the competition. However, the sale of securities is highly regulated and prevents unfair practices and fraud such as insider trading, pump and dump schemes, purchasing unregistered securities, making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and making false representations in the sale of securities.
Generally three basic aspects need to be proven by prosecutors in securities fraud cases:
- The defendant intended to defraud another;
- The defendant made a misstatement or omission of a material fact;
- In connection with a transaction involving securities.
A common defense to securities fraud lawsuits is the claim that misstatements were made in good faith without intent to defraud. A good-faith belief that securities were exempt from registration is also a defense to criminal charges for selling unregistered securities.
Securities fraud can result in felony charges and prison time up to 20 years as well as heavy fines. Charges for violation of securities laws can be initiated by the SEC, state and federal attorney generals, and in some cases district attorneys. These cases are sometimes settled during investigations by the payment of fines.
Real Estate Fraud
Misleading or false information used in order to secure financing, or refinancing for the purchase of a home can be prosecuted as mortgage fraud. These cases can often be brought under common fraud, mortgage fraud, predatory lending, forgery, and other criminal laws. Common examples include phantom help scams, straw buyer schemes, and foreclosure fraud. Sentencing for these crimes can range from misdemeanors of 1 year in jail and a fine of $1000; to felonies imposing 9 years of incarceration or more for repeat offenders.
Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) individuals may not:
- Access information regarding the financial records of financial institutions.
- Access computers exclusively used by U.S. government departments or agencies.
- Use a protected computer without authorized access or exceeding authorized access to obtain anything of value.
- Extort anything of value from anyone by threatening to damage a protected computer.
A violation of CFAA can be a felony offense that may result in 20 years of imprisonment or fines up to $250,000.
Filing false or misleading reports to obtain insurance coverage is a crime. The California Department of Insurance works with law enforcement to investigate alleged fraud. Often insurance fraud can be prosecuted under federal law by the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Insurance fraud can usually be punished as a misdemeanor or felony, fines and restitution are also usually required to be paid back.
Contact an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of Tony T. Liu has extensive experience handling criminal matters. Schedule a consultation with a white collar crime expert by calling (714)415-2007 today.