“White collar crime” is a catchall term used to describe a wide variety of serious non-violent criminal offenses, typically financial in nature.
Types of White Collar Crimes
One of the most common types of white collar crime is embezzlement. This refers to a type of theft where someone has custody of someone else’s property and illegally converts it for their own use. For example, a corporate officer who diverts funds from the business to his or her personal bank account without permission commits embezzlement.
Other kinds of white collar crime are directed at consumers. Just about everyone has come across a telemarketing or Internet marketing scam at some point. A more sophisticated form of white collar crime against consumers is identity theft, where the criminal uses someone else’s identity to commit fraud.
Proving A “Guilty Mind”
When someone is charged with a white collar crime, the prosecutor must not only prove the underlying facts of the alleged offense but also the defendant’s “mens rea.” This is Latin for “guilty mind,” and it means the defendant must have acted intentionally and willfully in the commission of the crime. In other words, the prosecutor must prove—beyond a reasonable doubt—that the defendant “knowingly” participated in a scheme designed to obtain someone else’s property through fraud and took some action to further said scheme.
Now, a prosecutor may be able to prove intent using only circumstantial evidence, reports Richard Harris workers’ compensation lawyer. That is, a jury may infer that a defendant formed the required criminal intent based on a number of pieces of evidence rather than, say, a confession or eyewitness testimony. In white collar cases, prosecutors often rely on forensic accounting and other complex analytics to “reconstruct” an alleged fraud.
It should also be noted that different white collar crimes may have different mens rea standards. Many federal crimes, for instance, impose a lower burden of proof on prosecutors than do similar state laws. And almost any white collar crime can be elevated from the state to federal level, as all financial activity implicates interstate commerce in some way.
You Need a Collin County Theft Attorney
There are many cases where a Collin County resident may unjustly get caught up in a white collar criminal investigation. Overzealous prosecutors may see criminal activity where none exists. There are even cases where prosecutors and police may have coerced an innocent person into committing a crime.
If you find yourself in such a situation it is important you work with an experienced Collin County white collar crime attorney. White collar cases are often complicated and can overwhelm a defendant. And given the severe consequences that come with a criminal conviction, you need to have someone on your side who understands how the system works. Contact the offices of Rosenthal & Wadas in McKinney, Texas, if you are facing criminal charges and require immediate legal assistance.