Although the term white collar crime may conjure up images of Wall Street, there are many types of fraudulent activities that would implicate criminal penalties and, consequently, would fall under this umbrella definition. A recent example involves two Indiana executives facing charges of tax evasion.
The individuals are a former CEO and a former co-owner of two biofuel companies: Imperial Petroleum and E-biofuels, respectively. According to an FBI official, the crimes represent the largest tax and securities fraud scheme in Indiana’s history.
According to the allegations, E-biofuels falsified paperwork in order to claim federal tax rebates for biofuels, which qualify under certain renewable fuel incentives. The company claimed it had made millions of gallons of fuel from chicken fat. Since the company also has shareholders, this fraud implicated both tax and securities fraud charges. Imperial Petroleum became involved in the scheme after it moved ahead with plans to buy E-biofuels.
Many white collar crimes can be prosecuted at both the state and federal level. The penalties can also be very severe. In today’s story, for example, the Imperial Petroleum and E-biofuels executives were sentenced to 120 and 74 months in prison, respectively. Accordingly, when facing allegations of fraud, it is vitally important to develop a strong defense strategy.
Our criminal defense law firm has helped many Indiana clients respond to allegations of various white-collar criminal activity. Our advocacy begins immediately, informing authorities that all requests for information must be made to the attorneys, rather than our clients. Although officials may encourage cooperation, our attorneys can work to prevent inadvertent disclosures, admissions or self-incrimination. The burden of proof is on prosecutors, and information requests are properly made through formal discovery methods.
Source: Biofuels International, “Two biodiesel bosses sentenced in ‘largest tax fraud’ in Indiana history,” Dec. 6, 2016