White-collar crime charges carry stiff penalties and can change the accused individual's life forever. But that said, white-collar crime is a very loose term covering various financial crimes, each covered by different statutes and carrying different potential penalties.
Generally speaking, “white collar crime” refers to financially motivated, nonviolent, or non-directly violent crime committed by individuals, businesses, and government professionals. The most common examples include:
These are terms used to describe the use of a physical or electronic mail system to defraud another. The federal government claims jurisdiction if the illegal activity crosses interstate or international borders.
Money laundering refers to the practice of concealing illegally obtained funds by using them in what might otherwise be considered legitimate business transactions.
Investment fraud can include Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and other types of investment fraud. Market manipulation and broker embezzlement can also be included in this category.
Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted. Embezzlement might be prosecuted by state or federal law enforcement.
For instance, a retail store employee who pockets money from the till might be accused of embezzlement and face charges by a local DA. A corporate executive who carries out an elaborate scheme to take company funds for their own gain could face similar charges or the matter could be prosecuted federally.
White collar crime charges usually have a fraud component. For example, prosecutors may allege that the accused used some type of misrepresentation or deceit for personal, monetary gain.
These are significant accusations for anyone to find themselves facing.
The penalties for white collar criminal charges can be significant and the fallout in the personal and professional lives of the accused can be extensive. It is important to take any type of white collar criminal investigation or charge seriously and for accused individuals and entities to know how to protect themselves through important criminal defense options that may be available to them.
The 2019 college admissions scandal surrounding the infamous mastermind Rick Singer led to a noteworthy white-collar criminal defense case helmed by California attorney Candice Fields. Singer stood accused of orchestrating a scheme that facilitated over $25 million in bribes from wealthy parents looking to get their children into several top U.S. universities.
It became apparent that at least 53 people were involved in the conspiracy, including 33 parents of college applicants and a number of college officials. Singer faced truly harsh consequences for this role at the center of the so-called “Varsity Blues” scandal, but attorney Fields shaped the case with a praiseworthy defense on behalf of her client.
Singer entered into a plea deal implying a penalty of 15 years in prison for his central role in the scandal. As the case unfolded, however, Singer took on a cooperative role with authorities and helped secure incriminating evidence against other parties involved with the conspiracy. As a result, the Department of Justice sought a penalty for Singer of 6 years of prison time.
As Singer’s defense attorney, Candice Fields played a key role in advocating for her client and working to lessen the sentence against him. Fields shaped an effective strategy at sentencing based on Singer’s cooperation, remorse, positive community ties, and personal background that ultimately succeeded in convincing a federal judge to further reduce Singer’s sentence. The outcome for Singer was a prison sentence of just three and a half years.
Attorney Candice Fields achieved an exceptional conclusion in the notorious Varsity Blues scandal that proves the strength of a defendant’s representation, regardless of their past missteps, can secure a fair outcome.
Candice Fields, a prominent California white-collar criminal defense attorney, achieved a significant victory in the court of public opinion through her representation of Rick Singer, the infamous mastermind and lead defendant in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal. Singer orchestrated a wide-ranging, 25 million-dollar bribery scheme to help wealthy parents get their children into top U.S. universities. Despite the severity of the charges, the high-profile nature of the case, and a pre-existing plea deal that exposed Singer to a prison sentence of at least 15 years, Fields convinced a federal judge to a sentence of just 3 ½ years.
Fields has been praised by many within the legal community for her successful defense of Singer. While the government sought a sentence of 6 years (recognizing Singer’s cooperation but penalizing him for obstruction), the Court agreed with Fields’ arguments that her client’s remorse, mental and emotional condition, and community ties justified a much shorter sentence. Fields’ performance in this high-profile case was seen as a major victory for her client and a testament to her prowess in the courtroom.
For those who believe in the power and function of the justice system, Candice Fields’ effective defense of Rick Singer shows that even those accused of serious federal crimes can obtain a fair and just outcome.
The majority of medical bills that people in the Sacramento area receive are at least partially paid for through health insurance. Many people have private health insurance through their employer, or they purchase on their own, but there are many others for whom Medicaid pays their medical bills. People may not understand the entire process of how Medicaid pays the medical providers though.
Medical billing relies on the use of codes that state the type of procedure or treatment that was performed during a particular visit. Based on the codes provided by the medical provider, Medicaid pays them a certain amount of money. While that Medicaid payment may not be the entire amount billed, the medical provider needs to accept it. This can be frustrating and lead to certain providers trying to obtain more funds than permitted for the medical procedures they perform.
This can lead to Medicaid fraud, which can occur in many different ways. Some of the common examples of Medicaid fraud include, but are not limited to:
Doctors and other medical professionals who are suspected of Medicaid fraud could be charged with a crime. Being charged with Medicaid fraud can have serious consequences, but it does not mean that one is actually guilty. There may be defenses available to those charged. Experienced white-collar criminal defense attorneys understand how to defend against these serious charges and should be consulted at the first indication that a Medicaid investigation is underway.
During the height of the pandemic, the federal government gave out a lot of money to try to help businesses stay afloat. Although these funds were released generously, there were requirements that were supposed to be met when it came to using that money. And now, those who accepted the funds and used them in a way that didn’t comply with the law may be accused of fraud.
For example, federal prosecutors are now aggressively prosecuting cases involving Restaurant Revitalization Funds (“RRF”) grants. These grants were issued to struggling restaurants to keep their doors open by offsetting often significant losses sustained during the pandemic. As they pursue their cases, prosecutors are looking at whether recipients followed the rules regarding the allowable use of RRF funds.
Funds could be used for many specific expenses reasonably necessary to support ongoing business operations. Expenses could include things like payroll, rent, utilities, building and equipment maintenance, supplies, food and beverage supplies, and other business operating expenses. In contrast, owner draws based on profit were not an eligible use of RRF funds. Therefore, it is important to determine whether eligible expenses such as W-2 income and regular and expected guaranteed payments would support an owner’s questioned use of RRF funds.
If prosecutors suspect that you’ve misused RRF funds, then they’re probably going to gain access to your financial and accounting records. Therefore, you want to ensure that you have a justification for every expenditure that involves RRF funds. This can be difficult, especially if you were dealing with large amounts of money during very stressful times.
But if you’re not clear in your justifications, or if witnesses accuse you of fraud, then you could be facing very serious charges. That’s why, if you suspect that you are or you’re going to be under investigation, now is the time to prepare to defend yourself. To learn more about how prosecutors are approaching RRF fraud cases, the next step is to speak to a criminal defense attorney who knowledgeable about RRF and other types of federal fraud investigations.
The U.S. government has seen the rates of fraud skyrocket during the pandemic. That’s why the Department of Justice and other federal agencies have been aggressive in their enforcement tactics. Now, those law enforcement strategies are being amped up after President Biden announced during his State of the Union address that a special prosecutor would be appointed to investigate and litigate cases of alleged pandemic fraud.
The Chief Prosecutor appointed would lead a strike force team of prosecutors who would focus on what they consider to be some of the most egregious forms of pandemic fraud. Amongst them are large scale identity theft that has led to stolen funds from unemployment programs and fraud involving the Paycheck Protection Program. The proposal would also give this Chief Prosecutor increased and extensive resources to utilize in prosecuting these cases, and the penalties for those who are convicted of these crimes will likely be enhanced.
If you’re worried about being implicated in an alleged fraud case, or you have already been charged, then you need to be ready for the fight of your life. The stakes are certainly high, and with an increased aggressiveness on their side, prosecutors are going to do everything they can to try to punish you with harsh penalties. But you don’t have to just sit back and let the prosecution run the show.
Instead, you can work closely with a skilled criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling these pandemic fraud cases. If you’d like to learn more about how our firm has helped other individuals address the specifics of their case, then please continue to research what our firm has to offer.