“White collar crime” is a term which refers to a crime committed for financial gain and is usually accomplished with a pen or a computer, rather than with drugs or guns. White collar crimes usually involve fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, cyber (or internet) crimes, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft, tax fraud, and forgery. Environmental crimes may also be considered white collar crimes. Individuals who are accused of white collar crimes often do not fit our common idea of a “criminal,” and can be professionals, officesworkers, or even elected officials.
White collar crimes oftentimes violate both New Jersey State and federal laws, and the penalties upon conviction can be extremely serious. If you have been charged with committing a white collar crime in New Jersey, you need experienced legal counsel on your side throughout your case.
New Jersey criminal defense attorney Brian J. Neary has over 35 years of experience defending individuals who have been charged with serious crimes, including both federal and state white collar crimes. Attorney Brian J. Neary can discuss your case with you and help you formulate good legal defenses to your charge.
New Jersey Bribery Charges
A person may be charged with bribery if he or she offers, confers, or agrees to confer or accept an unauthorized benefit from someone else. Bribery charges most often arise in the political context, where benefits are offered or accepted as consideration for the performance of official duties. Bribery may be prosecuted in both the New Jersey state or federal court systems. When a federal public officesis involved, the alleged offense will likely be prosecuted only as a federal crime.
Although the State of New Jersey does not define copyright infringement itself as a crime, state laws do prohibit video piracy. The New Jersey laws cover both sound and video recordings and address the manufacture, sale, resale, or offering of unauthorized works for rental.
Corporate crimes, unlike other white collar crimes, may involve a corporation as a whole. Most run-of-the-mill white collar crimes, on the other hand, benefit only a single individual or a small number of individuals. Corporate crimes usually benefit investors or high-ranking officers or other individuals in a corporation. In cases involving corporate crimes, the corporation itself along with the individual actors are usually the primary defendants.
Cybercrimes encompass unlawful computer activities, including accessing computer software, data, or databases, without the required authorization. These crimes may also involve altering, damaging, or destroying computer data or otherwise disrupting computer services. State crimes involving child pornography also fall within the definition of “cybercrimes.”
New Jersey does not have a specific embezzlement statute on the books. However, in New Jersey, embezzlement falls under the heading of theft, including theft by deception.
New Jersey law defines forgery as an unauthorized writing that purports to be the writing of someone else. This definition includes situations where the writing is made with the intent of defrauding or injuring someone. The law also prohibits “uttering” a known forged writing.
Under New Jersey law, fraud may encompass one or more of the following offenses:
- Falsification of records
- Fraudulent healthcare claims
- Bad checks
- Insurance fraud
- Mileage misrepresentation on motor vehicles
Money laundering is criminalized under both New Jersey state statutes, as well as federal statutes. New Jersey law defines money laundering as engaging in a transaction involving property which is known to be derived from criminal activity, with the purpose of facilitating a criminal activity or avoiding transaction reporting requirements.
The State of New Jersey may prosecute money laundering as a first, second, or third-degree offense, depending upon the value of the subject transaction. Penalties for a money laundering conviction can be high, regardless of the degree, and can include a prison sentence of up to twenty years.
Securities fraud in New Jersey includes racketeering fraud in the offering, sale, or purchase of securities when those activities violate New Jersey law or the law of any other jurisdiction. New Jersey laws regarding securities fraud incorporate many elements of the corresponding federal statutes.
Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud
Crimes of tax evasion and tax fraud may fall under New Jersey state law or the corresponding federal laws—or both, depending upon the governmental entity involved. Tax evasion and tax fraud typically involve the use of unlawful methods to avoid paying state or federal income taxes, such as by failing to declare certain compensation as income on federal or state income tax returns or writing off improper deductions on a tax return. Tax evasion may also involve simply failing to pay federal or state income taxes.
White Collar Criminal Charges Are Often the Result of Significant Investigation
Unlike street crimes, white collar crimes often happen over the phone, in offices, or on the internet. In many cases, white collar criminal activity goes undetected for years before authorities even catch wind of it. For these reasons, arrests related to white collar crime are usually the result of significant investigation and surveillance rather than catching a person “in the act.”
For this reason, there are often legal defenses based errors made in the way in which you were investigated. For example, if during the investigation you were contacted by an undercover law enforcement officer and he or she induced you to commit a crime, you may have a defense based on entrapment. Similarly, if the police were surveilling you and did not have a warrant to do so, it may be possible to have any evidence they gathered deemed inadmissible in court. Finally, in some cases, people who are innocent of criminal wrongdoing are caught up in a white collar crime investigation because their professional activities in some way furthered the offense that was committed. If these or any other investigative errors apply in your case, it may be possible to have the case against you completely dropped.
Contact a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation
The Law Offices of Brian J. Neary has been committed to defending individuals facing criminal charges for over 35 years. Due to our aggressive defense strategy, we are able to successfully represent our clients in any type of criminal matter. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, please call us today or contact us online.