White collar offenses come in all shapes and sizes. Larger scale examples, like a Ponzi scheme, often make the news because of the sheer number of victims. However, prosecutors often aggressively pursue even smaller scale fraudulent schemes.
For example, federal prosecutors recently charged two Indiana men with various securities fraud charges. According to the allegations, the men sold securities to their clients, despite not being registered to do so with either the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the state of Indiana. In exchange for receiving pensions, annuities, cash and 401(k) funds, the men reportedly sold securities and guaranteed the safety of those investments.
The Indiana Secretary of State has characterized the case as similar to a Ponzi scheme because the men allegedly knew their clients. Although the men were recently indicted on the securities fraud charges, is it fair to prematurely convict them in the arena of public opinion?
The statements are an important reminder of the uphill battle that many white collar criminal defendants face. The public is sympathetic to any allegations of defendants swindling victims out of their hard-earned retirement savings. At the same, federal authorities have an obligation to uphold procedural due process. Every criminal defendant deserves to have a fair criminal trial, and the only uncontested fact in this case is that the men were not registered to sell securities. Whether there is enough evidence to prove they had fraudulent intent is an entirely different matter.
Our Indiana criminal defense law firm works hard to protect our clients’ rights. From the arrest through any plea bargains or criminal trials, we fight to uphold procedural due process and ensure that our clients have a strong defense strategy.
Source: Indy Star, “Indiana men charged with securities fraud,” Holly V. Hays, Dec. 29, 2016