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Legal Defenses for White Collar Crimes

What Are White Collar Crimes?

White-collar crimes include criminal offenses that are nonviolent and involve defrauding people using deceit or concealment to obtain or avoid losing money, assets, or business advantages. Examples of white-collar crimes include:

  • Bribery
  • Corporate fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit card fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Employee theft
  • Financial fraud
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Money laundering

White Collar Crime: Common Defenses

White-collar crimes carry hefty penalties, including victim restitution, steep fines, prison time, property forfeiture, probation, and/or mandatory community service. To protect your reputation, freedom, and financial health, you should retain a reliable attorney who can help you mount a personalized defense strategy. Common defense tactics used against white-collar charges include (but are not limited to):

  • Entrapment. Law enforcement officers might go undercover to investigate a crime or entice a person to commit a crime. If you can prove that you would not have committed the crime without the influence of the undercover officer, you can argue you were entrapped.
  • Lack of intent. In most cases, the prosecution will need to prove that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud or illicitly obtain money or advantages. If they cannot prove intent, the defense can argue that the case should be dismissed.
  • Insufficient evidence. The defense can try to prove that there are holes in the prosecution’s argument as well as a lack of evidence that proves the element of the crime. Whether there is insufficient evidence to prove motive or establish the defendant’s identity or to prove a crime took place, proving a lack of evidence is a solid defense tactic.
  • Illegal search or seizure. The defense may investigate and call into question the integrity of the investigation and the search and seizure process. If evidence was illegally obtained, it can be thrown out.
  • Statute of limitations. Criminal charges must be brought forward within a certain amount of time, which is known as the statute of limitations. The defense can raise this defense if charges are not filed within the applicable time limits.
  • Intoxication. Another affirmative defense is that a person was drugged or intoxicated during the commission of the crime and that their inebriation was involuntary. For instance, if a person is given drugs without their knowledge or consent and then shares confidential company information, they can argue they are not guilty of insider trading because another party coaxed the answers out of them while they were involuntarily intoxicated.
  • Coercion/duress. In some cases, a person may commit a crime because they have been forced via physical or verbal threats. A common defense tactic used in white-collar cases is arguing the defendant acted in duress. For example, if a person receives a message that their family will be hurt unless they offer up their client’s credit card numbers and/or banking information, the defense can argue they only committed the crime out or duress and external pressure.
  • Insanity. Legally, a person can fight to prove they are not responsible for their criminal conduct because of a mental illness or defect they have (or had at the time of the offense). The defense will need to prove that the defendant has a substantial and diagnosed mood, thought, or behavior disorder. It is important to note, though, that an insanity plea does not absolve a defendant from guilt or dismiss the criminal charges. The defendant will still face criminal penalties but can be remanded to a mental institute and offered mental health support.

Facing white-collar crime charges? Contact the Law Office of Steven Fine today to speak with a member of our team. Call (312) 436-0638.