Are you being accused of stealing from your employer or committing fraud? The best way to avoid harsh penalties is to work with an experienced and tenacious criminal defense attorney who will pursue the strongest possible white collar criminal defense and take steps to mitigate the consequences of a potential conviction.
At Alabama Criminal Lawyers, we represent individuals in Birmingham and throughout Jefferson County, AL. To talk with us about the allegations against you, contact us online or call (205) 981-2450.
White collar crime is an umbrella term for offenses that typically do not involve violence or destruction of property. Instead, a white collar crime is usually a financial crime. Offenses like fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, and data breaches are intended to give the perpetrator something of value, be that money, real estate, or power.
Though white collar crimes cases do not usually involve physical violence, they are still taken very seriously. State and federal district attorneys will prosecutor financially motivated crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
If you are accused of a financial crime, contact a white collar crime attorney as soon as possible. The consequences of a white collar crime conviction can be harsh, including high fines, imprisonment, and limitations are your professional opportunities in the future.
There is not one specific law for white collar crime. There are many statutes prohibiting various financial offenses, which all constitute white collar crime.
Our white collar criminal defense attorneys at Alabama Criminal Lawyers can defend you against:
Embezzlement if the unlawful taking of money or property by a person who was given access and control of that money or property due to a position of trust. Embezzlement often happens in corporate environments when an officer or employee has access to business funds. However, embezzlement can also occur between people.
For example, a guardian who has a fiduciary duty to a child or adult with a disability may embezzle their ward’s funds. Under Alabama law, embezzlement is a theft offense and charged based on the value of the money, property, or services stolen. If you are accused of stealing more than $500, you will face a Class D, C, or B felony.
Alabama prohibits several types of fraud, including business frauds (AL Code 13A-9-40 – 13A-9-52), charitable fraud (AL Code 13A-9-72 – 13A-9-76), illegal possession of food stamps (AL Code 13A-9-91), home repair fraud (AL 13A-9-110 – 13A-9-115), residential mortgage fraud (AL Code 13A-9-130), public assistance fraud (AL 13A-9-150).
All of these offenses involve an individual intentionally deceiving others to unlawfully obtain a benefit. If you are accused of any type of fraud, your first step should be to refuse to speak to the police until you have obtained a white collar attorney.
Many white collar crimes are perpetrated online. In some circumstances, the internet is merely a convenient medium for the offense. The internet is full of financial scams. In other cases, the crime relies on a specific function or aspect of the internet or computer technology.
Depending on the circumstances, you can be charged with an internet crime such as identity theft, fraud, illegal file sharing, piracy, cyberstalking or harassment, or hacking/data theft. Many internet crimes are charged at the federal level. If your alleged criminal activity crossed state lines or impacted interstate commerce, then you will face federal charges instead of Alabama charges.
Racketeering involves fraudulent business practices. In many cases, it involves extortion and coercion. The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), extends criminal penalties to acts performed on behalf of a criminal organization.
In other words, RICO and other racketeering laws target organized crime. Alabama does not have a state-level racketeering statute. If you are accused of violating RICO, you will face harsh federal charges.
Other forms of white-collar crime include health care fraud, credit and debit card fraud, bribery, extortion, forgery, counterfeiting, insider trading, securities fraud, intellectual property infringement, and money laundering. For all of these offenses, you may face charges under Alabama law or federal law. In either situation, you need to contact a white-collar crime lawyer for help right away.
If you are charged with and convicted of an Alabama white-collar crime, the penalty you face depends on the level of the charge. In most circumstances, you will face a felony.
The potential penalties for felonies in Alabama include:
If the current offense is not your first felony conviction, then you face a higher minimum term of incarceration. You should always speak with a white-collar crime lawyer about the potential minimum and maximum sentence for an offense.
You also face months or years of probation or parole. Probation can take place of a certain period of incarceration and is granted by a judge when you are sentenced. Parole allows for you to be released early from jail or prison and is handled by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
You may be required to pay restitution to the individual or business victims of your offense. Between court costs, fines, and restitution, you may owe tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Depending on your profession, you may have your professional license revoked. You may be ineligible to return to that line of work. You also may be prohibited from working in certain professions and positions in the future.
Additional collateral consequences include difficulties obtaining loans, being approved for rental housing, or traveling abroad, changes to your immigration status or deportation, and reduction in or loss of child custody.
There are many instances in which allegations of a white collar crime can lead to federal charges, including if the alleged criminal conduct:
You may be investigated and arrested by local or state authorities, and then have your case handed over to federal prosecutors. Or, you may be investigated by a federal agency from the beginning, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) or Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you are convicted of a white-collar crime under federal law, you can expect harsh punishment. Federal crimes are often lead to longer prison sentences than state-level offenses. When facing federal charges, you should talk with an experienced attorney about the potential penalties, including imprisonment, fines, restitution, and asset forfeiture.
Federal judges do have a great deal of discretion under federal sentence laws for white collar crimes. An experienced attorney will advocate for a light sentence if you are convicted. In particular, your lawyer can fight for you to receive as little time in prison as possible.
Whether you face Alabama or federal charges for a white collar crime, you should speak with a white collar crime lawyer about your defense options. The strongest possible defense in your case will depend on the specific facts. We may argue you lacked the intent to commit the alleged offense. You may not have intended to deprive the rightful owner or their money or property.
We may put forth evidence that you are not the culprit at all. You may be wrongly accused of theft. It may help us to establish an alternative theory during trial, including demonstrating who else may have been responsible for the theft.
If you were forced to perpetrate a fraud or embezzlement, we may present evidence that you were coerced and threatened and that another party is liable for the crime.
Just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean the prosecutors have a slam dunk case. When charges are brought against you, we will immediately get to work and fight them. We will scrutinize each step of the law enforcement agency’s investigation and review each piece of evidence.
We will look for sloppy investigatory methods that lead to circumstantial evidence as well as unconstitutional actions, such as illegal wiretaps and unconstitutional search and seizures, which led to inadmissible evidence.
We are well aware of the weaknesses and faults in computer- and technology-based evidence. Many types of evidence like IP addresses are not as precise and strong as prosecutors would have you believe. Your white collar crime lawyer from Alabama Criminal Lawyers will defend against unreliable and inaccurate evidence.
Whether you are under investigation for a white collar crime or have been charged with an Alabama or federal offense, do not speak with a police officer or federal agent. You should clearly invoke your right to remain silent and specifically ask for a lawyer. Once given the opportunity, contact a white collar criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
An attorney from Alabama Criminal Lawyers will advise you on when and how to speak with state or federal law enforcement agents. We also will thoroughly review your case to build you the strongest defense strategy available.
Depending on the circumstances and your wishes, we may fight for the charges to be dismissed, seek a plea bargain, or prepare to go to trial. To schedule a free consultation with us, call (205) 981-2450 or contact us online.
Illegally possessing or fraudulently using a credit or debit card if a Class D felony in Alabama.
Yes, if you alter or falsify business records with the intent to defraud, you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.