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Criminal Justice
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Former Criminal Prosecutors | 24/7 Free Consultations

Introduction to White-Collar Crime in California

White Collar Crime in California, as the name suggests, refers to those entrepreneurs with a high economic status who commit certain crimes at the business level; whereby they can obtain real financial benefits including properties, insurance, and other monetary means without paying for those goods/services and without using any kind of physical violence. According to the FBI, a White Collar crime is an illegal act that consists of concealment, deceit, and any other forms of violations of trust where no physical force is used.

What Are The Different Types of White-Collar Crimes?

Among the different types of white-collar crime, the following stand out:

  • Wire fraud. This type of crime refers to people who steal credit cards, automobiles, and financial funds through the internet.


  • Medical fraud. This type of crime refers to people who have ghost medical companies, which aim to defraud people who have federal medical assistance known as Medicaid or Medicare.


  • Mortgage and real estate fraud. These crimes are considered federal white collar crimes and are characterized by fraudulent transfers and forgery of properties.


  • Money laundering. In this type of crime, individuals try to hide money that was illegally obtained by transferring it to another person or hiding it behind a company’s name. This offense can lead to very severe sentences.


  • Money transfer fraud. This offense relates to fraud committed by transferring money through the internet with the purchase of a specific product.


  • Tax evasion. This type of white collar crime is produced through identity theft in order to divert funds from IRS annual tax returns.


  • Fraud to financial corporations.


  • Public corruption. This crime consists of fraud and diversion of public funds for personal interests.


  • Insurance fraud. They are ghost companies that offer any type of insurance in order to defraud people who trust these companies with their money.


  • Identity theft.
  • Embezzlement.
  • Counterfeiting.

White-Collar Criminal Defense is Complex

These types of crimes are known to be very difficult for government prosecutors to try since the activities are intentionally hidden and buried in a series of shell companies, complex and interrelated transactions, or meticulously layered shields. A great deal of sophisticated expert knowledge is required to discover the criminal activity, much less to understand, track, catch, and explain what has transpired to a jury. It takes time and great expense for the government to build a solid prosecution.

Accordingly, it is commonplace for several agencies to coordinate their efforts in the investigation and prosecution of white collar crimes. It also means that the criminal defense attorney of those accused of these crimes must be organized, savvy, and prepared to spend time and money in mounting an exceptional and effective attack against the government’s case.

Defenses to Charges of White-Collar Crime

There are several strategic arguments available to someone charged with this type of crime. The most common defense involves challenging, or discrediting, the government’s prima facie case. The government’s case must provide both authentic and admissible evidence to substantiate beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the alleged crime.

Beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high standard of proof: it means that the government must present their case well enough to leave the jurors with a long lasting belief that there is not even one single reasonable scenario (or doubt) where the individual charged could be innocent. In order to convict, all 12 jurors must vote guilty, unanimously. It is the highest burden of proof imposed in American law today.

Entrapment: Entrapment is an example of an argument made by the defense, in addition to refuting the strength of the government’s prima facie case. Entrapment involves law enforcement agents inducing, tempting, and persuading someone to perform a criminal act that he or she would not have done without their efforts. It is the government’s responsibility to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no entrapment occurred, once the defendant raises the challenge.

Punishments For White-Collar Crimes

Under California state and federal law, significant jail time can result from a white collar crime conviction. However, the major punishment felt by criminal defendants convicted of these crimes usually involves monetary losses as fines imposed and property confiscated. To the extent that imprisonment is ordered, a conviction may inhibit freedom and liberty by as such things as home detention, supervised release, or residence in a minimum-security facility.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines: For many years, federal judges uniformly imposed sentences by referencing the crime to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual. However, in 2005, the United States Supreme Court found that these set, uniform guidelines used by federal judges to impose sentences upon federal defendants were unconstitutional, see U.S. v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). Judges were instructed by the Supreme Court to look at the federal sentencing guidelines as advisory in what sentence to impose on a defendant, and not to consider them as mandatory. By this ruling, the Supreme Court has allowed criminal defense counsel today to argue for sentencing that is appropriate to the individual, and reasonable for the particular case.

Perlmutter & Pourshalimi Represent People Charged With Serious and Minor White-Collar Crime

As former criminal prosecutors with outstanding jury trial experience, Perlmutter & Pourshalimi represent individuals who have been accused or charged with a range of white-collar crimes. From small business fraud to serious white collar crime involving the risk of serious jail time or life imprisonment as well as substantial fines and property loss, we handle it all.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a white collar crime in either federal or state court, it is important to contact Perlmutter & Pourshalimi immediately to safeguard your rights. We will take the time to talk to you about the charges against you, your concerns, and what we can do to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney 24/7 at (310) 295-2236. Consultations are free and confidential.

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