In the United States, our crimes are separated into two categories: state-level crimes, and federal crimes. State legislatures enact state laws, while Congress enacts federal laws. By far the majority of crimes are state crimes, which are prosecuted in the state courts. Common state crimes include: sexual assault, drug possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI), theft, and murder.
While each state has enacted its own laws that vary from state-to-state, federal laws apply to all citizens and they are illegal in all states. Many federal crimes are categorized as “white collar crimes,” which generally refer to non-violent, financially motivated crimes.
White collar crimes are often very sophisticated schemes committed by “white collar professionals,” who have the power, authority, and access to people’s financial information. While non-violent, white collar crime is anything but victimless. A family’s entire life savings can be wiped out, and investors or companies can be robbed of billions in a single, complex scam.
Examples of white collar crimes, include:
- Cyber crime
- Identity theft
- Bank fraud
- Credit card abuse
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- RICO violations
- Securities fraud
- Money laundering
- Health insurance fraud
If you are facing criminal charges for a white-collar crime, it’s important to know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) frequently conducts complex investigations on white-collar cases, especially those involving corporate fraud, self-dealing by corporate insiders, mortgage fraud, healthcare fraud, and identity theft.
The FBI does not necessarily work alone; it often works alongside other local, state, and federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Securities And Exchange Commission among others.
Are All White-Collar Crimes Federal?
Not necessarily. Some white-collar crimes, such as identity theft, are criminalized under state and federal law. If a particular offense is a violation of state and federal laws, the state and federal prosecutors will decide whether to prosecute in state or federal court. As a general rule, the punishment for a federal offense is usually harsher than it would be for the same crime committed on the state-level.
Looking for a Fort Worth criminal lawyer to defend you against state or federal charges for a white-collar crime? Contact my firm today!