New York White Collar Crime Lawyer
White collar crime is a criminal act (usually fraud) that is committed by a person of high social status. There is no specific charge for white collar crime but it usually involves some form of theft or intent to defraud. There are many New York statutes in the Penal Law that define these many and various crimes. Most of which incur serious penalties and jail time. The FBI defines fraud as the act of deliberate deception for profit. Failure to obtain legal counsel to assist in the defense of these crimes could easily lead to serious prison sentences and hefty fines.
Whether you are tried in Federal or State Court is up to law enforcement and the prosecutor, the crime committed, and whether multiple states were involved in the commission of the alleged crime. Regardless, our firm can help you maneuver through the complex and arduous legal process involved in these serious crimes. Use of a New York White Collar Crime Lawyer is imperative to establishing a strong criminal defense and minimizing the charges against you. Contact our New York City (NYC) or Long Island office.
There are many kinds of white collar crime, including the following:
To be charged with Grand Larceny in the First Degree you must be caught, first, depriving a rightful owner of property, and second, the value of the property exceeds 1 million dollars. Grand larceny is based in many theories and degrees. It generally deals with the improper taking of something of value from a person, company, or employer in the form of money or property. It is irrelevant what form of theft occurs in larceny cases, just that something of value was taken. One can face anywhere from four to twenty five years in prison for varying degrees of Grand Larceny.
A demand for money or other valuable asset under threat of bodily harm, injury to property, threat to falsely accuse a person of a crime, or to expose personal secrets of another person.
Bribery occurs when anything of value is offered to another person with the intention of influencing that person’s actions, opinions, or decisions. One may be charged with bribery for accepting or offering a bribe.
Money laundering is the act of “cleaning money”. If someone gets money illegally, they have to find a way to make it legal so that they can spend it. The process of legitimizing money so that it appears that it was gained legally is known as laundering
Computer fraud can be where a computer “hacker” steals information held on a digital device. Information includes: bank information, credit card information, proprietary information, and other trademarked, copyrighted, or protected material or information.
Extortion occurs when a person illegally obtains property or other item or asset of value from another through the use of actual or threatened force, fear and intimidation, or violence.
Embezzlement crimes are found in Article 155 of the New York Penal Law. It is defined as the fraudulent taking of property by an individual that is in lawful possession of the property. Embezzlement is also referred to as fraudulent conversion. Conversion is the wrongful taking possession or ownership of the property of another or using property that was entrusted to you for your own gain or benefit and using it in a way that was not authorized.
To prove embezzlement one must prove that the property taken belonged to someone else; that said property was converted (or given) to the owner for his or her own use; that the accused was trusted by the property owner to have possession of it; and that the accused intentionally defrauded the owner of said property.
CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF STOLEN PROPERTY: NY Penal Law Article 165:
Criminal possession of stolen property is when you have something of value that does not belong to you, and you don’t have permission to have it. A common example is when someone borrows a car with the owner’s permission, but then refuses to return it when the car owner wants it back. You can be charged with anywhere from a B to an E felony for criminal possession of stolen property.
CREDIT CARD FRAUD: Section 165.17 of the NY Penal Code
There are two main usages of credit and debit card fraud in New York. The first is laid out in Section 165.15(1) of the New York Penal Law. Generally, this means that someone uses a credit or debt card for payment when that person knows that the card is stolen. The second form is found in Section 165.17 of the New York Penal Law. Generally, this Section prohibits a person from using a card when that person knows the card has been cancelled or revoked. The prosecution does not need to prove that the card was illegally obtained or even that property or services were received to convict on this theory of credit card fraud.
This is a class A misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1000 and/or up to one year in jail as well as the likelihood of being required to make restitution for any services or goods that were fraudulently obtained.
In New York one can be charged with investment fraud for involvement in:
Pyramid Schemes: The Federal Trade Commission defines a pyramid scheme to include any scheme where a person pays money for the right to sell a product or service but receives compensation for recruiting others to sell rather than for the actual sale of the product to an end user.
Market Manipulation: Making false and misleading statements to artificially inflate the price of a stock or to cause a stock price to drop.
Advance Fee Fraud: This involves requesting payments up front before an investment deal can go through.
High Yield Investment Fraud: Promising unrealistically high returns or minimal risk to investors through the purchase of unregistered investments sold by unlicensed individuals.
Ponzi Schemes: Investment schemes where investors are paid with funds obtained from new investors instead of with legitimate investment earnings.
Mail Fraud is a federal offense punishable by up to 20 years of incarceration and/or up to a $250,000 fine. It is defined as any use of the postal service as part of a scheme to defraud a person or to fraudulently obtain money or property. In order to prove mail fraud the US Attorney must establish the following elements:
- That the postal service or mail was used
- As part of a scheme to defraud
- That involved material misstatements or other misrepresentations
- With the intent of depriving another
- Of services or of property and assets (18 US Code Section 1341)
Each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Tax fraud can be broken into two categories of violations: evasion of tax payments and evasion of tax assessments. Code Sections 7201 through 7217 of the Internal Revenue Code identify 18 specific federal tax crimes that fall under these categories, some of which include:
- Failing to appear when summoned to provide information or testimony to the IRS
- Providing false tax statements
- Willfully failing to pay or collect taxes
- Evading or attempting to evade payment of taxes
- Failing to file a required income tax return
- Failing to provide employees with tax statements in accordance with federal law
- Willfully making false statements to the IRS
- Intentionally withholding information to the IRS
- And more
The IRS and state of New York have the burden of establishing that (1) you intentionally attempted to evade taxes; and (2) that you were successful in failing to pay taxes due to the IRS. The state and IRS have the burden of proving both of these requirements beyond a reasonable doubt. Tax cases are inherently complex. Retaining an educated and experienced lawyer is paramount to successfully prevailing over these serious charges.
MONEY LAUNDERING: New York Penal Code Article 470 et seq.
A person is guilty of money laundering when a person has knowledge that one or more financial transactions were generated from criminal conduct and he or she knows that such transaction(s) were proceeds of criminal conduct with the intent to:
- Promote the carrying on of criminal conduct or engage in felonious conduct (under US tax law); or,
- Knowing the transaction(s) in whole or in part are designed to conceal the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds of criminal conduct; or avoid any transaction reporting requirement imposed by law
Defenses to Money Laundering:
- Lack of knowledge of the source or nature of the money and other proceeds gained by criminal conduct
- Lack of intent to support or carry out criminal conduct
- Lack of intent to conceal or hid the source of nature of money and other proceeds gained through criminal conduct
- Entrapment arranged by law enforcement officials
Penalties for Money Laundering:
There are four degrees of money laundering:
- Fourth Degree Money Laundering (Amount exceeds $5,000). This is a Class E felony that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison
- Third Degree Money Laundering (Amount exceeds $50,000). This is a Class D felony with a sentence of up to seven years in prison
- Second Degree Money Laundering (Amount exceeds $100,000). This is a Class C felony that carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison
- First Degree Money Laundering (Amount exceeds $1 million). This is a Class B felony, which carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison
When drug trafficking and/or controlled substances are involved, the degree of money laundering can be escalated to a higher degree, regardless of the amount of the transaction under New York law. Typically, in addition to incarceration, the accused faces fines of twice the value of the monetary transaction in question.
Because of the harsh and lengthy penalties and fines, it is imperative to seek legal counsel if you are charged with any degree of money laundering.
Insurance fraud is broadly defined as an act committed by an insured individual to fraudulently obtain payment or benefits from their insurer. Insurance fraud is a broad category that encompasses any situation where there is some kind of insurance policy involved. There are many types of insurance fraud. Regardless of the insurance involved, the prosecutor must prove that you provided false information or misleading statements regarding a material fact in order to gain something of value.
The most specific common law fraud actions are caused by inducement or concealment. For inducement, it must be shown that a defendant made a misrepresentation or material omission of fact that the defendant knew to be false and made said omission or misrepresentation; that said misrepresentation or omission was done with the intention of making the insurance company rely on the statement; and that an injury was caused as a result of that reliance.
Fraudulent concealment occurs when a party intentionally hides information that is critical to the other’s decision to invest or not invest. One must show that the party intended to defraud and had a special relationship with the plaintiff that imposed a duty disclose such a material omission.
Insurance companies across the board will pursue charges aggressively and the penalties and potential for jail time are severe. Some of the most common forms of insurance fraud include:
Generally, this involves billing for services that were not rendered or were rendered at a lower rate. Specifically:
Medicare fraud occurs when a Medicaid provider makes or causes to be made false or misleading statements or representation in order to be reimbursed from the medical assistance program. For example, billing for services not provided, charging more than the reasonable value for services, and providing services that were medically unnecessary.
Medicaid fraud includes billing for services not rendered, charging a more expensive rate for services than the price for services actually rendered, billing twice for the same service, dispensing generic drugs but charging for name brand drugs, giving or accepting something in return for services (also called a kick back), bribery, providing unnecessary services, creating false cost reports, and embezzlement of recipient funds.
Car insurance fraud
This could involve staging or faking accidents, exaggerating or faking injuries, registering with a false address (your vehicle is worth more in differing locations, lying about your location to increase the value of the car is fraud), Exaggerating about repair costs, Vehicle dumping (intentionally leaving your car in a high crime area where it is likely to be stolen and then making a claim for the theft), and more. This is generally prosecuted at the state level and under Article 176 of the New York Code a defendant can be charged with varying degrees of fraud. These charges can range from a misdemeanor charge with a $1000 fine to felony charges with hefty penalties.
Arson insurance fraud
Several policies will cover loss and expenses in the event of damage caused by a fire. Homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and even automobile insurance offer compensation for damage caused in the event that your vehicle, home, or personal possessions are destroyed in a fire. Whether the fire is accidental or caused by arson, these policies will compensate for losses caused by the fire. Arson insurance fraud occurs when a person is accused of setting fire to their home, personal property, or automobile or accused of hiring a person to intentionally setting a fire and then making a claim to have their insurance company compensate them for the losses caused by said fire. The accused could face a delay in payment on their claim and ultimately face jail time if found guilty of intentionally setting fire to their home, car, or personal belongings in order to file a claim and obtain money from an insurance company. An attorney can provide you legal representation if you are accused of arson insurance fraud and also assist in the payment of claims where you are falsely accused. Dealing with the courts and insurance companies is a complex process that is best handled by a qualified attorney.
Mortgage Insurance Fraud
Mortgage fraud results from a lender, mortgage or real estate broker, or lawyer’s pressuring tactics to scare and induce a consumer to close on a loan that has unfavorable terms. Federal law requires that a lender disclose the essential terms of a mortgage or refinance contract. Lenders are required to disclose the essential terms of any fiduciary contract. Failure to disclose key information in the contract violates federal law. In addition, when a financial institution, or its agents, induce a consumer to obtain a loan without making a reasonable inquiry into whether the consumer has the means to repay the loan also falls under the category of mortgage fraud. Whether you are the lender or the financial institution, it is imperative to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are given the protections you deserve.
Bankruptcy fraud involves the making of false statements relating to the merits of one’s bankruptcy case. For example, giving a false amount of income on your application. Because Bankruptcy provides many protections to debtors, bankruptcy fraud occurs when any of these protections are used for the purpose of fraud or financial gain.
Bank fraud is a white collar offense perpetrated against or by a bank, lien holder, or other financial institution. It can occur when a person uses fraudulent means to secure funds, assets, or properties that are held by a bank or other financial institution. This crime can also be committed by a bank or those working for or representing a bank by falsifying information in order to seem financially stable, licensed, or secure to induce investment or to get third parties to deposit funds in said bank or other financial institution. Some kinds of bank fraud include:
- Accounting fraud
- Uninsured deposits
- Fraudulent Loans
- and many more