White Collar Matters
The term "white collar crime" is a generic term that was first used by a social scientist in the mid part of the twentieth century. According to various sources, the term was used to describe the type of crime committed by individuals of a certain social status. At least one agency of the federal government refers to white collar crimes as "those illegal acts that are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust, and which are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence." According to the FBI, "individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property or services; or to secure personal or business advantage." Regardless of how one defines "white collar crime", experienced federal criminal defense lawyers know that the federal criminal code includes many different offenses that fall within the white collar crime category. Indeed, investigations and prosecutions in white collar matters can involve a number of federal statutes, including, to name a few, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, and a host of other federal statutes.
In our experience, people accused of a white collar crime often have had no previous experience with the criminal justice system. For this reason, targets or subjects of white collar crime investigations and prosecutions are not well versed in the innumerable rules, procedures, and dangers that lurk when a federal white collar investigation begins, or when it evolves into a full blown federal criminal prosecution.
Unlike other federal crimes, however, targets or subjects of federal white collar investigations often know they are under investigation. This is often true for a variety of reasons. For example, federal grand juries have subpoena power and prosecutors conducting federal investigations into white collar matters often use the grand jury's subpoena power to obtain documents and other items. In addition, unlike many non white collar matters, federal agents often utilize search warrants and conduct witness interviews before a federal indictment is returned in a white collar matter, thus making the subject of the investigation realize that he or she is under the federal microscope.
Because it is often possible to learn of the existence of a federal white collar investigation before a federal indictment is returned, it is crucial to retain an experienced federal criminal lawyer as soon as the existence of the investigation is discovered. This is true for a number of reasons.
For example, responding to a federal grand jury subpoena requires specialized knowledge that an experienced federal criminal lawyer must possess. In addition, in order to "get ahead" of the investigation, it is often necessary for an experienced federal lawyer to interview witnesses early and provide the target or subject of the investigation advice on how best to proceed. Finally, most federal prosecutors are reasonable and if an experienced federal criminal lawyer is retained early on, it often makes sense for that lawyer to make contact with the prosecutor to begin some dialogue concerning the investigation and potential outcome. In our experience, retaining a lawyer in a white collar matter early on provides most individuals with a level of comfort that they would not possess if they simply took the "let's wait and see what happens" approach. Accordingly, for these and other reasons, individuals facing these situations need to obtain the services of a highly experienced federal criminal defense attorney as rapidly as possible.
Federal white collar prosecutions are brought by federal prosecutors, also known as Assistant United States Attorneys. In these matters, federal prosecutors are assisted by federal agents from a number of federal agencies, including the FBI, FDA, IRS, SEC, EPA, and a number of other federal regulatory bodies. As we all know, the federal government has an over abundance of resources and the area of white collar investigations and prosecutions is no exception. For this reason, hiring an experienced federal criminal lawyer is of particular importance in this specialized area.
Although many lawyers claim to be qualified to handle federal white collar matters, very few have the background, experience, and commitment that we have in defending these cases. For that reason, if you have a white collar matter that you would like to discuss, please contact us. We welcome your call.