White Collar Crime Defense Lawyers in Albuquerque
Experienced Defense for White Colllar Crimes Committed in New Mexico
White collar crimes are often laughed at, in remembrance of the Martha Stewart scandal and the infamous scene in Office Space, during which white collar crime convictions are described as something of a paradise. The reality is far removed from any fiction and involves actual criminal convictions on your record and a lifetime of uncertainty in the future. If accused or charged with a white collar crime it is very important to immediately contact an experienced Albuquerque white collar crime attorney to protect and defend your legal rights.
Defining White Collar Crimes in New Mexico
White collar crimes are defined as nonviolent criminal offenses which are motivated by monetary gain in a professional setting. White collar crimes encompass a large array of smaller crimes which all involve the same general criminal activity and fraud. These crimes include:
- Identity theft
- Bank fraud
- Wire fraud
- Money laundering
- Insider trading
- Cyber crimes or computer crimes
Due to the wide range of possible offenses, white collar crime can either be brought in federal or state court depending on the nature of the offense. White collar crimes that amount to over $500 is considered a felony, which means you face up to a year in prison if convicted of even a fourth-degree felony.
Each offense is different and therefore involves a different type of defense strategy.
Identity theft involves the actual theft of another person’s identity, typically by the theft of identification documents such as your social security card and driver’s license.
Bank fraud and wire fraud involve the use of illegal means to obtain access to money and other assets owned by a financial institution.
Money laundering involves the attempt to disguise that money was made illegally by attempting to show a legal source. This crime is often coupled with another criminal offense, such as drug possession or drug trafficking.
Embezzlement involves the theft of money or property which was entrusted to a person by another. This occurs more often than you might think since it often does not seem like an offense.
Extortion occurs when a person obtains money or other property from another person through violence or threats, often seen in organized crime groups.
Forgery includes the following:
- Signing another person’s name on a legal document
- Creating false contracts
- Falsifying records
Each of these definitions can lead to further charges aside from forgery, which each carry the possibility of a heightened criminal sentence.
Insider trading is a violation of public trust because it occurs when a person has “insider” knowledge of a company’s stock due to their access to information not made public.
Computer crimes are one of the most recent subsets of white collar crime, but include the ability to engage in criminal activity through the computer. This can include other white collar offenses such as identity theft and wire or bank fraud, and can lead to heightened punishment ranges depending on the severity of the charges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the entrapment defense?
The entrapment defense arises when agents of the government (including police officers) induce you to commit a crime when you were not already predisposed to do so. It does not apply to most “sting” operations, because sting operations usually target people already predisposed to commit the crime. A successful entrapment defense results in an acquittal.
Are corporate accounting errors white collar crimes?
Perhaps, but not necessarily, even if they provide adequate grounds for a lawsuit. The decision on whether a crime has been committed is heavily fact-dependent. Your intentions are highly relevant – attempting to cover up an error can turn an error into a crime.
Who will prosecute me if I am charged with a violation of both state and federal law for the same act?
In the event of a conflict between state and federal authorities, state authorities must yield to federal authorities. Typically, federal prosecutors and judges possesses more expertise on white collar crimes than most state prosecutors and judges do.
Is it a crime to steal trade secrets from your employer?
Yes. It is even a crime to copy such information without authorization. A possible defense, however, might be that the information did not constitute a “trade secret”, particularly if your employer did not take sufficient measures to keep it secret.
What kinds of financial penalties apply to a federal white collar crime conviction?
There are three main types of financial penalties, not all of which apply in every circumstance:
- Criminal fines: These can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
- Restitution: Reimbursement of the victim.
- Forfeiture: Government confiscation of property used to commit a crime, including bank accounts.
What should I do if I am questioned about a white-collar crime by a law enforcement official?
- Do not answer any questions outside the presence of your attorney.
- Do not attempt to resist a search if the officers have a warrant. You can contest the search later.
- Contact a lawyer immediately if you receive a summons.
What is a grand jury?
A grand jury is a group of people who, under the direction of the prosecutor, listens to witness testimony and examines documentary evidence to determine whether there is enough evidence to indict you for a crime. Although you have no right to attend or to present a defense, a grand jury cannot convict anyone of a crime.
How can bargaining be used to my advantage?
The most obvious way is to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a lighter sentence (plea bargaining). Another way, however, is to seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony that would otherwise be self-incriminating. A prosecutor may grant immunity in order to convict another defendant who is considered a “bigger fish” than you are.
If I am guilty, should I just “plead guilty and get it over with”?
Definitely not. Going to prison is not “getting it over with” – it is the beginning of an ordeal. Instead, you should retain a criminal defense attorney and seek either an acquittal or a plea bargain.
Albuquerque White Collar Crime Defense Lawyer Consultation
Do not get sucked into the trap that white collar crimes are small offenses which do not carry severe punishments. White collar crime convictions can result in felony convictions which equal years spent in prison and a felony criminal record. Call our law offices today at 505-200-2982 to begin consulting with an experienced white collar criminal attorney about your case. Our criminal attorneys collectively have 22 years of experience in handling white collar crimes and understand the severe penalties the majority of these crimes carry with them. Our white collar crime defense attorneys at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices are skilled to handle cases in either federal or state court, which is an important fact to consider when dealing with white collar crimes that can be brought in both venues.