Friday, June 23, 2023

White collar crime refers to non-violent financial crimes that are typically committed by professionals in the corporate or financial sectors. As a criminal defense attorney specializing in federal criminal charges, particularly white collar crimes, it is essential to understand the various types of offenses, sentencing guidelines, and defense strategies that can be employed in these cases. This essay aims to provide an overview of white collar crimes, focusing on their various aspects and intricacies.

Types of White Collar Crimes

1.1 Fraud

This crime involves deception or misrepresentation to unlawfully obtain money or property. Common examples include mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, and healthcare fraud.

1.2 Identity Theft

Identity theft is the unauthorized use of another person's personal information, such as Social Security number, credit card number or name, to commit fraud or other crimes.

1.3 Embezzlement

This crime occurs when someone entrusted with funds or property takes those resources for their own benefit. An example would be a financial officer misappropriating company funds for personal use.

1.4 Insider Trading

Insider trading is the illegal buying or selling of securities based on non-public, material information about the security.

1.5 Tax Evasion

Tax evasion involves the willful attempt to avoid paying the taxes due by concealing income, inflating deductions, or underreporting assets.

1.6 Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of hiding the origins and ownership of illegally obtained money, generally by channeling it through a complex series of business transactions to make it appear legitimate.

Common Sentencing Guidelines

2.1 Federal Sentencing Guidelines

The United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines are the primary tool used to determine appropriate penalties for white collar crimes. These guidelines consider the nature of the offense, the amount of financial loss, the offender's role in the crime, and the offender's criminal history. 

2.2 Restitution

Offenders who are found guilty of white collar crime are often required to repay the victims for their losses. Restitution amounts are based on the actual losses suffered by the victims, and can include interest and other fees.

2.3 Fines

In addition to restitution, white collar criminals may be required to pay fines that are determined by the seriousness of the crime and the offender's financial means.

2.4 Incarceration

Depending on the severity of the offense, white collar criminals may face imprisonment. Sentencing guidelines specify a range of potential prison time for various white collar crimes, typically increasing based on the amount of financial loss caused and the role the offender played in the crime.

Defense Strategies

3.1 Challenging the Evidence

Attorneys may seek to discredit the prosecution's evidence, arguing that it is inaccurate, insufficient, or irrelevant. This can involve challenging the accuracy of financial records, the testimony of witnesses, or the relevance of certain evidence in proving the accused's guilt.

3.2 Lack of Criminal Intent

A key element in many white collar crime cases is establishing that the accused acted with criminal intent. Defense attorneys may argue that their clients engaged in the transactions in question without the knowledge or intention of committing a crime.

3.3 Entrapment

In some cases, an attorney may assert that their client was entrapped by law enforcement or other government agents who induced them to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed.

3.4 Statute of Limitations

Certain white collar crimes have a specific time limit within which a prosecution must be initiated. If charges are brought after this time has passed, the case may be dismissed.

Final Notes

White collar crimes encompass a wide range of offenses that can lead to substantial financial loss and damage to the individuals and institutions affected. As a criminal defense attorney, it is crucial to understand the complexity of these cases, from the various types of white collar crimes to the sentencing guidelines and defense strategies that can be employed. By crafting a strong, effective defense, attorneys can help protect the rights and interests of their clients while ensuring that justice is served.


  1. Kolsrud, Josh. White Collar Crime Attorneys,
  2. Friedrichs, D. O. (2017). Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society. Cengage Learning. 
  3. Podgor, E. S., & Israel, J. L. (2016). White Collar Crime in a Nutshell. West Academic Publishing.