White collar crime is an umbrella term for a number of nonviolent crimes which usually involve theft of money or services.
Some people think “nonviolent” is synonymous with not serious. Indeed, public and policymakers viewpoints have changed some in this area, mostly with regard to marijuana possession. But these changes definitely do not extend to white-collar crime. These offenses often carry stiff penalties. Furthermore, a conviction could mean the end of a career.
The good news is that these prosecutions have lots of moving parts. So, in many cases, a Weatherford criminal defense attorney can successfully resolve the charges, often without going to court.
The “swoop and squat” is one of the most common insurance fraud matters in Parker County. Unscrupulous motorists cut in front of other motorists, and then suddenly apply their brakes to induce rear-end collisions.
Some insurance fraud cases do not involve that degree of culpability. Many people obtain multiple repair estimates, submit a large one to the insurance company, get reimbursed, and pocket the difference.
To many employers, degree of culpability does not matter. They see an insurance fraud conviction and immediately assume the applicant or worker is a dishonest person who cannot be trusted.
Generally, no money changes hands in this type of white-collar crime. Generally, debtors claim that property is exempt when they know it is not, intentionally omit income streams, or make other false statements on their bankruptcy petitions.
Intent is usually key in these situations. Prosecutors must establish that the defendant intentionally made the false statement. That’s different from accidentally making a false statement. Many times, courts look at the amount to help determine the defendant’s state of mind.
Bankruptcy fraud prosecutions are unique because of the 90-day rule. If the disputed transaction occurred within 90 days of filing, there is a presumption that the transaction was fraudulent. This presumption is rebuttable, but the defendant normally has the burden of proof.
Bankruptcy fraud and tax fraud are similar offenses. Both involve intentionally making false statements on official forms. However, tax fraud is a bit harder to prove, largely because there is never a presumption and the state always has the burden of proof.
Generally, federal prosecutors only file tax fraud charges in extreme cases. Most cases involve a high-profile defendant, a large sum of money, and/or an agency’s desire to make a statement on a certain point. In other cases, the IRS usually relies on informal audits and the threat of aggressive collection to obtain money.
White collar criminal convictions often mean severe penalties. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Parker County and nearby jurisdictions.