Federal Financial Crime Lawyer | Federal Financial Crimes Attorney

Federal financial crimes are a type of crime that occurs when an individual or business illegally obtains monetary gain. Often called white-collar offenses, these federal crimes usually involve some form of deception or abuse of a position of trust. If you are charged with a federal financial crime, you need a financial crime lawyer to defend you. Read on to learn more about these types of financial crimes, their definitions, sentences, and how a financial crimes attorney can help.

Contact the Zoukis Consulting Group today if you are charged with a federal financial crime. Our network of financial crimes attorneys can answer your questions and develop a strategic and purposeful defense.

Federal Financial Crime Lawyer | Financial Crimes Attorney

Federal Financial Crimes

Federal financial crimes are offenses committed without the use of physical force. They specifically concern financial matters. In many instances, financial offenses are known as white-collar or paper crimes. Individuals and organizations can commit financial crimes.

While the public may not consider financial crimes as serious as other types of federal crimes, they are typically punished as felonies. Those convicted may be sentenced to imprisonment in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Most financial crime results from fraudulent acts, in which someone or a company attempts to, and does, deceive and steal money. Financial fraud crimes include:

  • Materially misrepresenting a financial position.
  • Falsifying business records.
  • Engaging in insider trading.
  • Making false statements in financial transactions.

If you are charged with financial fraud, you need a financial crime lawyer. Your attorney can review the evidence against you and advise the best path forward.

Financial Crimes Defined

Financial crime is a broad term that refers to any behavior intended to obtain financial benefit through fraudulent or dishonest conduct.

These offenses include individuals’ illegal or criminal behavior, organized criminal syndicates, and other organizations. They include various activities ranging from small-scale individual theft or fraud to large-scale, worldwide conspiracies advanced by organized crime networks.

If you are charged with this type of federal crime, you need a federal financial crime attorney to represent you. Contact us today to speak with a federal financial crime lawyer.

Types of Financial Crimes

Financial crimes are nonviolent offenses committed in commercial environments by individuals and organizations for illicit financial gain. These range from basic theft offenses to intricate international crimes. Often, these offenses involve scamming or otherwise obtaining funds illegally.

The following are examples of financial crimes:

  • Antitrust Fraud
  • Bankruptcy Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Computer Fraud
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Embezzlement
  • Identity Theft
  • Insider Trading
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • Wire Fraud

Below we present numerous common types of financial crimes. But remember, a financial crimes attorney is the best person to explain each type of crime. They can also explain their elements and potential financial crime sentences and devise a defense strategy.

Antitrust Fraud

Antitrust laws safeguard competition in the market. Competition is advantageous since it saves consumers money and encourages businesses to innovate. Firms must charge less or provide greater value in a competitive market to gain consumer attention.

Federal antitrust legislation maintains a competitive market. These violations are federal crimes because they harm competition, raise customer prices, and potentially damage national and local economies.

The three primary federal antitrust laws are:

  • Federal Trade Commission Act
  • Sherman Antitrust Act
  • Clayton Act

Bankruptcy Fraud

Fraudulent actions taken during federal bankruptcy cases constitute bankruptcy fraud. The defendant must have intentionally lied or misrepresented a material fact in the bankruptcy process to be convicted of this offense.

When a person files for bankruptcy, three actions occur before the case is submitted to the court:

  • Liabilities are verified
  • Assets are evaluated
  • The petitioner is declared legally insolvent

Any belongings are liquidated and dispersed among creditors to pay debts. However, when a debtor fraudulently claims bankruptcy, conceals possessions, engages with petition mills, or files numerous claims, they commit federal bankruptcy fraud.

Contact a financial crimes attorney if you are charged with bankruptcy fraud. Your attorney can review the government’s evidence to determine the best path forward.

Bribery

Bribery occurs when someone offers or accepts anything of value in exchange for influencing a government official or employee. Bribes can be given as presents or money payments in exchange for preferential treatment.

Bribery occurs when anything of value is offered, given, or received in an attempt to influence official action. Common examples of bribes include:

  • Money
  • Access
  • Privileges
  • Services
  • Favors
  • Products
  • Vacations

Keep in mind that bribery takes many forms and has many potential targets. For example, it is a federal crime to bribe these individuals:

  • Bank Representative
  • Foreign Official
  • Government Official
  • Sports Figures
  • Witnesses

Computer Fraud

Computer fraud occurs when a person uses a computer to commit fraudulent acts. This typically occurs over the internet or through communication methods that utilize the internet. For example, the following means are commonly employed in computer fraud cases:

  • Chat Rooms
  • Emails
  • Message Boards
  • Text Messages
  • Websites

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a federal law that prohibits actions that target computer systems. This legislation secures computers from intruders, dangers, damage, espionage, and fraudulent use.

The CFAA applies to all computers in which the federal government has an interest, including all computers used in interstate commerce. Because almost every computer exchanges data for personal or commercial use across state and international boundaries, virtually every computer is covered by the CFAA.

Since computer fraud crimes are often complex with a detailed digital trail, you need an experienced federal financial crimes lawyer to defend you. Your lawyer will likely retain a computer expert to gather evidence of your innocence.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is a type of financial crime in which someone steals another person’s credit card information. This is usually done to make fraudulent charges or otherwise obtain value.

When actual credit cards are stolen, this becomes known as physical card theft. Alternatively, when the card information is used to make purchases or withdraw funds, this becomes a federal financial crime.

Credit card fraud is a common financial crime. If someone uses the card to purchase products or services, they have committed a federal crime. This also applies to claiming a card stolen or lost, then using it while claiming it was stolen.

Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting is the fraudulent replication of currency, papers, and other products such as software, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and clothing. Making counterfeit items is known as counterfeit goods fraud, and it is a serious crime.

Manufacturing fake items and then selling them as genuine constitutes counterfeiting. Counterfeiting is a felony under federal law, although the term has various meanings in other situations. For example, it’s a federal issue when counterfeiting cash or government bonds.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is a form of larceny, although it differs from typical theft. In embezzlement cases, the defendant is charged with stealing money or property entrusted to them. Typically, company employees, accountants, financial managers, or lawyers are accused of embezzlement.

Embezzlement is a federal crime that may result in severe consequences. For example, defendants convicted of embezzlement are often sentenced to imprisonment. Restitution and other fines are also commonly levied by courts.

Contact a federal financial crimes attorney if you are charged with embezzlement. These cases are highly fact-specific and require a detailed defense investigation. This investigation may lead to additional evidence that you did not illegally embezzle funds.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the illegal use of another person’s personal information for economic gain or to assume someone else’s identity. Identity theft typically involves making false statements intended to deceive financial institutions.

Those charged with identity theft commonly steal another person’s name, date of birth, and social security number. This personal information is then used to open fraudulent credit cards and obtain bank loans.

Unprotected networks and internet purchasing frauds are two of the most common methods to acquire personal identifying information. Internet identity theft is one of the most frequent federal identity theft allegations, particularly in connection with online purchases using someone else’s credit card.

Insider Trading

Insider trading occurs when someone with confidential company information uses this knowledge to make financial decisions about the company’s stock. For example, a company executive with internal forecasts may choose to buy or sell stock in the company based on this information.

While insider trading can be challenging to detect, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires disclosures in specific circumstances. For example, in public company mergers, executives must provide lists of family members and others with potential conflicts. They are also restricted from trading during specific blackout periods. Violation of these disclosures or trading restrictions can result in federal criminal charges.

If you are charged with or under investigation for insider trading, you need a financial crime lawyer with extensive experience on your side. Contact the Zoukis Consulting Group today to determine the best next steps.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is a federal crime involving obtaining illegal payments from an insurance provider through fraudulent actions. More broadly, it is a violation committed by both the buyer and seller of an insurance contract.

The sale of phony policies, failure to pay premiums, and churning policies to earn extra profits are all examples of issuer insurance fraud. Buyer fraud may take many forms, including:

  • Erroneous Claims
  • Fraudulent Medical Histories
  • Post-Dated Policies
  • Other actions designed to secure a fraudulent payout

Keep in mind that individuals that engage in insurance fraud with financial services companies also typically run afoul of anti-money laundering regulations.

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is a federal crime where someone attempts to steal property, money, or services from another person using the United States Postal Service. This can also be fulfilled through private commercial interstate mail carriers (e.g., UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.).

Any fraud involving or using the U.S. Mail or a private interstate mail service may be prosecuted under federal mail fraud laws. The following are examples of widely recognized mail fraud scams:

  • Employment Fraud
  • Franchise Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Mail-Order Fraud
  • Pozi Schemes
  • Sweepstakes and Lottery Fraud
  • Telemarketing Fraud

Securities Fraud

Securities fraud is the term used to describe when laws designed to safeguard investors and securities traders are violated. It occurs when someone makes a fraudulent statement regarding a firm or its stock value. These statements induce others to make financial decisions based on false material information.

Many types of people may engage in securities fraud. But the following groups more commonly commit this federal offense:

  • Brokerage Firms
  • Family members of company executives
  • Investors
  • Investment Banks
  • Stock Analysts

Company insiders engage in insider trading when buying or selling stocks based on non-public knowledge. While not complicated to commit, securities fraud is challenging for federal law enforcement agencies to detect.

Federal securities fraud cases are particularly complex. Since the government devotes significant resources to their investigation, you need to mount a vigorous defense against these federal charges. Contact the Zoukis Consulting Group today to speak with one of our financial crimes defense attorneys!

Wire Fraud

Federal wire fraud involves a scheme to defraud another person using electronic communications. This consists of using wire, television, radio, phones, or the internet to defraud another person.

Wire fraud is a financial crime on the rise in the United States. It occurs through the transmission of pictures, sounds, writings, signals, or signs via electronic communication.

While deemed a white-collar crime, federal criminal defendants convicted of wire fraud can expect steep penalties. These can include fines, restitution, and even imprisonment. Federal wire fraud convictions can also result in loss of state licensure (e.g., accounting, law, and medical license).

Financial Crime Sentencing Guidelines

Each type of federal financial crime carries a different potential prison sentence. Likewise, fines and restitution are common punishments. The federal Sentencing Guidelines proscribe a detailed structure for determining criminal sentencing liability.

For example, bank fraud carries up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Mail and wire fraud, on the other hand, carry a potential 20-year federal prison sentence. While likely not justified, high-profile cases with significant media attention typically result in steeper penalties.

Click on the above links to learn more about each type of white-collar criminal case.

Federal Financial Crime Statute of Limitations

A five-year statute of limitations applies to most federal crimes. This is the time limit for federal prosecutors to charge individuals for federal offenses. If more than five years have passed since the criminal conduct, the person can no longer be charged with the crime.

While the five-year statute of limitations applies to most federal crimes, federal law provides exceptions for mail and wire fraud. A ten-year statute of limitations is imposed in these cases if the offense is against a financial institution.

Defenses to Federal Financial Crimes

Experienced financial crime lawyers review the underlying circumstances of every offense when determining the best defense strategy. This is a highly fact-specific endeavor that can require significant investigation.

With the above in mind, the following defenses are common in financial crimes cases:

  • Lack of Intent: The legal defense of lack of intent argues that a defendant did not intend to commit the crime. For example, while the defendant may have illegally traded stock during a blackout period, they did not know of the law and did not intend to profit illegally.
  • Lack of Knowledge: The legal defense of lack of knowledge argues that a person was unaware of the criminal activity. This can be a successful defense if the defendant can prove they did not know about the illegal activity or a critical element of the offense.
  • Coercion: When law enforcement employs coercion to convince an individual to commit a financial crime, it is known as coercion. This can include harassment, persuasion, or fraud to persuade someone to break the law. If successful, the person will be found not guilty of the charged crime.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment is a legal defense used to argue that someone was entrapped into committing a crime they would not have otherwise committed. For example, law enforcement may have motivated the defendant to commit the crime and provided the tools to do so. If successful, this defense can result in charge dismissal.

Who Investigates Federal Financial Crimes?

All federal law enforcement agencies can investigate financial crimes. This often comes down to which agency uncovers the conduct.

The agencies that primarily investigate federal financial fraud cases include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

The FBI is the primary agency responsible for investigating white-collar crime, while the SEC is responsible for investigating securities fraud. The DOJ is responsible for prosecuting all federal crimes. Likewise, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) often investigates financial crimes involving federal income taxes.

Once the investigation is complete, the U.S. Attorney’s Office represents the government in federal courts. These U.S. District Courts are where criminal litigation takes place.

Contact a federal financial crimes attorney at the first hint of trouble. Your federal criminal defense lawyer may be able to seek deferred prosecution, charge dismissal, or otherwise mitigate your potential sentence.

Your Federal Financial Crime Lawyers

If you are under investigation for a federal financial crime, hiring an experienced financial crime lawyer is critical. Early intervention can result in reduced charges or even case dismissal.

Financial crimes attorneys have the experience and knowledge to navigate the complex legal landscape of federal financial crimes. They can examine the underlying facts of your case and develop a defense strategy that maximizes your chances of success.

It is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. A diligent financial crime lawyer will fight for your rights and ensure that you have the best chance of a successful outcome.