Texas White-Collar Crimes Attorney Provides Strong Defense Counsel
Kerrville lawyer represents clients accused of embezzlement and other charges
If you learn that you or your business are the target of a white-collar crime investigation, you should immediately a Texas defense attorney with substantial experience in this area. At the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C.. I am a Board-certified lawyer who provides determined defense against state and federal charges. These matters can be highly complex and often rely on circumstantial evidence, which means that the allegations might be based on a faulty interpretation of the facts. With effective defense counsel during the investigation phase, it might be possible to resolve the issue without criminal charges being brought. I can also push back against overreaching authorities and help you avoid mistakes that could lead to process-crime charges.
Types of white-collar crime counts
Traditionally, white-collar crimes were associated with the misappropriation of funds by someone holding a position of trust. Now, use of the term has expanded to describe a wide range of nonviolent theft and fraud crimes at the state or federal level, including:
- Insider trading and other securities violations
- Money laundering
- Fraud in government contracts and against government programs
- Tax evasion
White-collar allegations can be brought based on a single act or an ongoing pattern of conduct that ostensibly violates the federal RICO statute or some other law.
U.S. agencies that investigate white collar crime
Although the U.S. Department of Justice is the top federal law enforcement agency, other departments have enforcement divisions that can investigate violations of their rules and regulations, such as:
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Defense
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of State
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Federal Trade Commission
- Financial Regulatory Authority
- Food and Drug Administration
- Internal Revenue Service
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Securities and Exchange Commission
In Texas, the Office of the Attorney General’s White-Collar Crime and Public Integrity Section is in charge of these prosecutions.
How a white-collar case can be formed
Authorities commonly initiate white-collar crime cases in response to complaints from alleged victims or whistleblowers. Several state and federal statutes allow whistleblowers to bring civil lawsuits against companies that they believe are defrauding the government or violating regulations in ways that could harm consumers. Once those lawsuits are filed, the U.S. Department of Justice or a state attorney general has the option to assume prosecution of the case.
Penalties for committing a white-collar crime in Texas
Under Texas law, nonviolent theft crimes are charged according to the value of the property stolen, as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor — $750 or more but less than $2,500, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
- State Jail Felony — $2.500 or more but less than $30,000, punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-Degree Felony — $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second-Degree Felony — $150,000 or more but less than $300,000, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- First-Degree Felony — More than $300,000, punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Sentences can be even more severe in federal court and may include asset seizure and forfeiture.
Texas white collar crime lawyer defense strategies
In many instances, authorities do not have the evidence to prove the charges they are alleging. This is why they frequently invoke process crimes, such as obstruction, to obtain convictions. Even when the evidence might seem to point to a criminal act, numerous defenses may still be available, such as:
- Lack of intent — The violation of the law was inadvertent.
- Entrapment — Law enforcement wrongfully induced the defendant to commit a criminal act.
- Duress — Someone applied pressure on the defendant to commit the crime.
Drawing on more than 36 years as a Texas fraud lawyer, I use all the facts available to pursue justice for defendants in every white-collar crime case.
Contact a board-certified defense attorney if you’ve been charged with a white-collar crime
The Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C. in Kerrville provides exceptional criminal defense representation to Texas residents accused of white-collar crimes in state and federal courts. To schedule a consultation, call me at 830-955-8168 or contact me online.