Most Common White-Collar Crimes in Texas
According to the FBI, “White-Collar Crime, a term reportedly first coined in 1939, is synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals.” White-collar crimes are typically financial in nature and involve an attempt to steal money or property, extort, bribe, or avoid payments. While white-collar crimes are not violent crimes, they can leave victims in financial ruin. The FBI and other government agencies including the IRS, SEC, and Treasury Department partner to investigate and prosecute these serious crimes.
When thinking of white-collar crime, maybe you think of high-profile offenders like Bernie Madoff or even Martha Stewart, but white-collar crimes, such as fraud or money laundering can happen in any workplace. Below are a few of the most prevalent white-collar crimes prosecuted in Texas.
Corporate Fraud in Texas
Most Texans remember the 2001 Enron scandal. Enron hid immense amounts of debt and toxic assets from creditors and investors. They eventually filed for bankruptcy as their stock price tumbled from $90.75 to $0.26, leaving investors devastated. While massive corporate fraud cases tend to make headlines, corporate fraud also happens on a smaller scale and within smaller corporations.
Corporate fraud involves criminal misrepresentation of a company’s financial information, often to make a business appear to be more profitable than it is to mislead analysts, lenders, and other stakeholders.
Some Types of Corporate Fraud
Falsification of Financial Information
- False accounting or misrepresentation of financial conditions
- Fraudulent trades designed to inflate the appearance of profits or hide losses
- Unlawful transactions designed to escape regulatory oversight
- Insider trading of stocks based on information not available to the public
- Unauthorized or illicit use of corporate property for personal gain
- Self-dealing: When a person with a fiduciary duty to a company takes action to gain personal benefit, instead of benefit to the company
- Embezzlement involves the theft of money or assets that an individual is entrusted to manage. An example would be when an employee with access to his or her employer’s credit cards or bank accounts intentionally uses their employer’s funds for his or her personal gain. Another example of embezzlement is when a campaign official or staffer misappropriates campaign funds for his or her personal use. Embezzlement is a form of theft punishable under Texas law commensurate with the amount of money involved. If the embezzled amount is equal to or more than $1500, the accused will face felony charges and a prison sentence ranging from 180 days to life in prison.
If you are being investigated for corporate fraud in Texas, or if you are a victim of corporate fraud or embezzlement, you require the counsel of an experienced attorney. Speak with a former federal prosecutor and Houston white-collar criminal defense attorney Michael J. Wynne by calling (832) 390-6244.
Extortion and Blackmail
Extortion is a white-collar crime that involves intimidating a victim to obtain money, property, or services. Blackmail is a type of extortion that includes the added potential for physical or reputational harm to an organization or individual if demands are not met. Extortion is commonly tied to organized crime and is a serious felony in Texas. If you are facing charges of extortion or blackmail it is imperative that you speak with a qualified white-collar criminal defense attorney to protect your reputation and your rights. Call former federal prosecutor and Houston white-collar criminal defense attorney Michael J. Wynne today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.
Healthcare fraud is a common white-collar crime in Texas. A common example is where a physician or medical group knowingly defrauds a health care program via kickbacks for patient referrals, hospital referrals, home health referrals, or prescriptions. Prosecutors can also investigate and pursue related charges of money laundering, making false statements and wire fraud in the provision of health care services, including claims for Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare reimbursement. Federal authorities may work together with Texas authorities to investigate healthcare fraud, and the numbers of investigations are only increasing.
If you have been charged with or are under investigation for healthcare fraud, contact Houston healthcare fraud attorney Michael J. Wynne at (832) 390-6244. Attorney Wynne is a Harvard educated former federal prosecutor and seasoned white-collar criminal defense attorney and has been licensed in Texas for almost 30 years.
Tax evasion occurs whenever an individual does not pay the taxes they owe. A taxpayer might choose to deliberately hide income and not include it in his or her tax returns, or a person could make an innocent mistake that unintentionally leaves him or her facing a tax evasion investigation. The tax code is incredibly complex and for this reason misreporting of income is significantly higher for self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and small businesses.
Money laundering is a federal crime where substantial amounts of “dirty” money generated from criminal activity is cleaned or washed via various methods, so it appears to have come from a legitimate source. The funds to be laundered can originate from many sources including drug or sex crimes, illegal gambling rooms, tax evasion, trafficking, embezzlement, forgery, terrorist funding, and foreign corruption.
- Online banking and cryptocurrencies have provided criminals with an alternative venue to transfer and withdraw money without detection. Another common technique for money laundering is to use a legitimate cash-based business, or “front,” owned by a criminal organization to funnel illegal cash by inflating daily cash receipts and depositing the cash into the business’s bank account.
The penalties for money laundering can be severe and profoundly impact your life. Conviction for money laundering carries a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. Federal money laundering charges can also lead to fines of $500,000 or double the amount that was laundered.
If you are being investigated for money laundering, you are facing serious charges that require the counsel of an experienced attorney. There are many defenses to federal money laundering charges that a qualified white-collar criminal defense attorney can employ. Speak with experienced white-collar criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Michael J. Wynne today at (832) 390-6244 to discuss your case.
What To Do If You Are Facing White-Collar Criminal Charges in Texas
Attorney Wynne knows how prosecutors build criminal cases against his clients. He spent many years as a federal prosecutor doing just that. He uses his extensive experience to successfully help his clients navigate complex white-collar civil and criminal investigations. If you are facing a white-collar criminal charge in Texas or have been a victim of white-collar crime, do not hesitate to contact Houston white-collar criminal defense attorney Michael J. Wynne today at (832) 390-6244.