White collar crimes differ from other crimes in that they are generally non-violent and are committed with the intent to benefit financially. White collar crimes generally occur in a professional or business setting and may be committed by members of the general population, businesses, or government officials.
Common white collar crimes that occur in Indiana include the following:
- Embezzlement: Misappropriating funds belonging to a company or another party for personal use.
- Fraud: Deliberately engaging in deceptive acts for financial gain (e.g., credit card fraud or mail fraud).
- Identity theft: Using another person’s personal information without proper authorization for financial gain.
- Bribery: Using money or threats to influence a public official to take certain action.
- Money laundering: Disguising the origins of money obtained through criminal activities by passing it through legitimate financial transactions.
White collar crime charges can be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the severity of the alleged crime. However, many white-collar crimes are considered serious and are therefore classified as felonies. If you are convicted of a felony white collar crime, you may face significant jail time and fines.
For example, under Indiana Code Sec. 35-45-15-5, money laundering may be classified as a Level 6 felony, resulting in up to $10,000 in fines and between six months and 2.5 years in prison. A more serious money laundering charge (at least $50,000 of proceeds) may be classified as a Level 5 felony, resulting in one to six years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, or Level 4 felony, resulting in two to 12 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Defending against white collar crimes can be challenging, but a strong defense strategy can help get your charges dropped. The following defenses are often used in cases involving white collar crimes:
- Illegal search: Law enforcement performed a search without a warrant and/or probable cause, and therefore, evidence found during the search cannot be used against the defendant.
- Lack of intent: The defendant did not have the intent to defraud or commit the crime.
- Duress: The defendant was threatened into committing the crime.
For a defense strategy to be effective, it will need to be specifically tailored to the facts of the case at hand.