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The criminal process encompasses prosecutions for far more than commonly perceived violent crime. White collar crime is generally referred to as financially motivated, economic, non-violent crime committed for illegal monetary gain. However, a common misconception about white collar crime is that its effects are always financial. This is not completely true, as white collar crime can cause harm to general public, workers, and consumers. One need only look to recent news describing false claims made by pharmaceutical companies about their products or false declarations made by corporate entities regarding the dumping of toxic wastes. It is important to retain a white collar crime attorney in order to properly navigate the intricacies of various white collar crimes and their potential penalties.
Typically though, a white collar crime investigation follows a standard pattern. When the crime is framed in an employment setting, the vast majority of employers will attempt to intimidate the employee they are accusing into signing a confession or possibly a statement outlining the allegations. Cooperation in such a situation can become a life altering mistake. Just as a law enforcement officer may lie to a Defendant about the prospects of leniency if he or she is willing to cooperate, employers will attempt to coerce employees in the same manner. The first thing to do when faced with such allegations is to hire an experienced Oklahoma white collar crime attorney to help navigate these dangerous waters. An experienced Oklahoma white collar attorney will arrange a meeting with the employers in hopes of mitigating any potential criminal liability. Anything you say at the meeting can be used against you. Furthermore, the professionals who conduct these meetings are usually not government agents; as such, they are not required to read you your rights or guarantee you understand all of your Constitutional protections. Furthermore, there is nothing to stop law enforcement officials from attending any such meeting and returning any warrant that may be active.
Outside of the employment setting, Oklahoma white collar prosecution can appear much the same as any other criminal prosecution on the surface. Do not be fooled however; the criminal process for allegations of Oklahoma white collar crime can quickly become federal, as investigations and prosecutions can lead to involvement by specialized government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The majority of white collar crime can be described using a helpful dichotomy: fraud and theft.
One major category of white collar crimes includes those offenses that involve fraud. Fraud is generally defined as some deceitful practice or willful device, resorted to with the intent to deprive another of his right, or in some manner to do him an injury. As such, fraud does not have to be in relation to some attempted monetary gain. Some examples of white collar fraud include:
These are only a few examples and by no means an exhaustive list. However, one can see that the general characteristic shared by fraud crimes is an act of deceit. The victim can be an individual, a group of individuals, a company, a bank, or even the state and federal governments. The vast majority of fraud-related crimes are treated as felonies in both state and federal courts. Consequently, fraud-related crimes can also be prosecuted in both state and federal jurisdictions, depending on the specific facts of the allegations.
The second major category of white collar crimes in Oklahoma consists of those crimes which involve some element of theft. These crimes usually involve a more direct appropriation from another party. Moreover, these crimes can often times involve the threat of violence. Some examples of white collar theft include:
Even though the actions taken to accomplish the criminal activity may differ, the felony conviction repercussions are often the same. Consequently, any theft-related crimes can be prosecuted as a felony in both Oklahoma courts and federal court depending on the specific facts of the allegations, resulting in felony conviction consequences. As such, the long-term effects of a conviction for any white collar crime can be completely debilitating.
One thing that separates Oklahoma restitution issues from many other states is that Oklahoma authorizes treble (triple) damages in white collar fraud and theft cases. A Defendant can end up owing up to three-times the out of pocket loss the alleged victim suffered as a direct result of the criminal allegations in the form of a restitution order. Restitution is the amount of money necessary to make the alleged victim "whole" again. This monetary obligation will almost always be incorporated into any potential plea agreement or disposition order in a white collar criminal case.
Though few prosecutors are vindictive enough to request three times what the alleged victim lost in restitution, the mere possibility should go a long way in considering how Oklahoma law makers view white collar crime. Because restitution can so often become an issue in these types of cases (someone may admit he or she stole a certain amount, but the prosecution may allege much more), it is common for attorneys to set separate hearings for the sole purpose of deciding the appropriate restitution owed in any particular case. This option is more or less likely depending on the direction of the judge, but when had, it can become a full-blown bench (without a jury) trial of sorts, in which both the prosecution and the Defendant are allowed to present testimony and admit evidence in the hopes of convincing the judge as to the merits of its position. The scale of the hearing often-times depends on the amount of loss in question.
Restitution may be ordered in a lump sum, or it may be ordered in payments over a certain amount of time. A restitution order is an appealable order one can put before the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Still, a restitution order is a fully enforceable court order, and failure to comply will likely result in severe consequences.
If you or a loved one has been charged with white collar crime in Oklahoma, time is of the essence. You need an attorney with experience in white collar crimes defense in Oklahoma, and you need one right now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.