The term “white collar” crime is commonly used to refer to non-violent, financially driven criminal offenses. People often make the mistake of considering white collar crimes to be less serious than other crimes. In truth, federal financial crimes routinely carry potential penalties that are every bit as harsh as other “dangerous” criminal offenses. If you are under investigation for a financial crime, or have already been charged with one, you need an experienced federal defense attorney on your side right away.
At Haas Law, we have extensive experience with federal investigations and prosecutions involving white collar crimes. We will proactively protect you during an investigation and aggressively defend you if you are charged by the federal government with a financial crime.
What Type of Federal Financial Crimes Do We Handle?
- Antitrust Violations. Federal antitrust laws address unlawful mergers and business practices. The most commonly used of those laws are the Sherman Act which prohibits “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize,” the Federal Trade Commission Act that bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices,” and the Clayton Act which prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.”
- Bank Fraud. Federal bank fraud is defined under the statute as “anyone who knowingly executes a scheme in order to defraud a financial institution to obtain money or property from a financial institution using fraudulent representations.”
- Bribery. At the federal level, bribery refers to offering, giving, soliciting, or receiving of any item of value as a means of influencing the actions of an individual holding a public or legal duty.
- Cybercrimes and Computer Crime. Federal cybercrimes and computer crimes is a broad category that may involve computers, the internet, or computer systems. The list of criminal offenses that fall into this category includes things as diverse as identity theft, computer hacking, child pornography, and ransomware.
- Counterfeiting. When charged as a federal crime, counterfeiting involves producing, possessing, and using false documents that are used to cheat the government of the United States, including (but not limited to) currency, identification documents (birth certificates and passports), and even postage stamps.
- Embezzlement. The federal government defines embezzlement as the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom such property has been entrusted, or into whose hands it has lawfully come. Unlike larceny or theft, embezzlement involves an originally lawful taking or transfer of property.
- Environmental Crimes. Federal environmental crimes involve violations of laws such as the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act and/or violations of other criminal laws arising from dealing with environmental regulators and regulations. Examples of federal environmental crimes include things such as illicit trade in hazardous waste and pollution, illegal wildlife trade, and illegal mining or logging.
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to (bribe) foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.
- Healthcare Fraud. Federal healthcare fraud involves the filing of dishonest health care claims to turn a profit. Examples of healthcare fraud include providing false information when applying for programs or services, forging, or selling prescription drugs, using transportation benefits for non-medical related purposes, and loaning or using another’s insurance card.
- Identity Theft. Identity theft refers to a range of criminal activity wherein someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Anything from using someone else’s identity to make online purchases to forging a passport using someone else’s identifying information could be charged as identity theft.
- Mail Fraud. Federal mail fraud requires a scheme to defraud, and the mailing of a letter, advertisement, or other correspondence for the purpose of executing the scheme. Mail fraud often targets senior citizens but can also target small business owners, veterans, and even random individuals.
- Medicare and Medicaid Fraud. Medicare and Medicaid fraud involves knowingly misrepresenting the truth to obtain unauthorized benefits. Several federal laws, including the False Claims Act (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark law), the Exclusion Authorities, and the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL) also deal with fraud perpetrated against the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
- Money laundering. Money laundering refers to the process of obscuring the source of money obtained. Money laundering “cleans” illegally obtained money by a complex set of financial and/or business transactions that result in money that appears to be legally obtained. Federal laws including Money Laundering Control Acts, the Bank Secrecy Act, the Patriot Act, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act may be used when prosecuting a money laundering scheme.
- Mortgage Fraud. Federal mortgage fraud occurs when there was a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission in relation to a mortgage loan that was then relied upon by a lender. In other words, a lie that induced a bank to make a decision that was advantageous to the perpetrator of the fraud.
- Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes. Both Ponzi and pyramid schemes involve complex fraud schemes. Ponzi schemes involve investors giving money to a portfolio manager with the promise of making a big return on that money. If they ask for their money and/or profits, they are paid using incoming funds from more recent investors. In a pyramid scheme, the initial schemer recruits other investors who then recruit more investors, effectively creating a “pyramid” of investors with the ones on the bottom paying the ones on the top.
- Public Corruption. Federal law prohibits any federal, state, or local government official from asking for or receiving anything of value in exchange for, or because of, any official act. While similar to bribery, public corruption is often more subtle and harder to prove because it may involve favors and “behind closed door” agreements.
- Racketeering/RICO Charges. “It is unlawful for anyone employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.” Extortion, coercion, and physical violence are commonly used to collect money from racketeering victims. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, expanded the list of crimes included in racketeering and allows for both civil and criminal penalties for racketeering.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act established sweeping auditing and financial regulations for public companies and allows for hefty fines and even imprisonment for tampering with or destroying documents involved in an investigation or litigation.
Get Help from an Experienced Federal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, or you believe you are under investigation for financial crimes, now is the time to consult with an experienced federal financial crimes attorney. At Haas Law, we have a vast amount of experience and resources that will be used to protect your rights and defend you in a federal financial crimes investigation or prosecution.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. Because we understand that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you, our calls are answered 24 hours a day, allowing you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.