White Collar Crimes

The phrase 'white collar crime' began to be used in the 1930s in relationship to non-violent crimes which were frequently prosecuted when a person could not be charged with more serious offenses. Over the past decade, courts in California have begun to hear an increasing number of cases concerning white collar crimes.

These cases are also often complex because they frequently involve not just local and state law, but federal law as well. California has "the white collar crime enhancement" law, which can result in a person facing additional penalties if convicted of two or more related felonies, the felonies involve elements of embezzlement or fraud, the felonies involve a pattern of related criminal conduct, and the criminal acts involve taking more than $100,000.

Given the increasing complexity and severity of the penalties associated with these cases, it is critical that a person who is charged with a white collar crime quickly obtain the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney.

White Collar Crimes Commonly Prosecuted in California

Some of the most common types of white collar crimes with which individuals in California are charged include the following:

Bribery

One of the most commonly prosecuted white collar crimes in California, bribery occurs when a person gives another person an item of significant value in exchange for the other person providing an item of value or opinion that would have not otherwise been given. Both the person who gives as well as the person who receives the item can be charged with bribery.

Computer access and fraud

The number of computer crimes have increased significantly over the last few years. These offenses include using a computer to hack into another computer or network, sending a virus, or using any type of technology without permission.

Embezzlement

Most often, this charge is initiated against accountants, bookkeepers, and other individuals who hold a position of financial responsibility within a company. Embezzlement can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor resulting in fines, restitution, or a prison sentence.

Extortion

This crime occurs when a person uses fear or the threat of violence over another person to obtain property from another individual. Extortion occurs whether the violence actually occurs or just the threat of harm occurs.

Forgery

This offense occurs when a person alters or creates a written object and then uses that object to commit any type of fraud.

Fraud

Fraud occurs when an individual knowingly misrepresents something to obtain a benefit for him or herself or another. This offense can take the form of health care fraud, income tax fraud, insurance fraud, mail fraud, mortgage fraud, welfare fraud, or workers' compensation fraud.

Larceny

A person commits larceny by taking property away from one person with the intent to never return the items. The offense of larceny can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor based on the value of the property that is taken.

Perjury

The offense of perjury occurs when a person intentionally lies either orally or in writing while under oath. Classified as a felony, perjury can result in a person facing up to three years in prison.

Some of the other types of white collar crime include providing false financial statements, financial crimes, grand theft, identity theft, insider trading, money laundering, possession of fraudulent access cards, and receiving stolen property.