White Collar Criminal Lawyer in Indiana
Why You Need a White Collar Criminal Lawyer in Indiana
White collar crime is a term allegedly coined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in the 1930s, who sought to uncover non-biological reasons why business professionals, usually attired in white collared shirts, would engage in criminal behavior. The term developed quite a following among criminologists and sociologists alike and has worked its way into popular culture, as evidenced by the many fiction and non-fiction white collar crime shows found on streaming apps.
The interest in white collar crime likely generates from the very nature of many of the crimes that fall under its purview—the crimes are often committed by hard-working professionals who rationalize to justify committing crimes for the good of the company or because they felt pressured to do so from those in authority. People who work with defendants or live in their community are often just as surprised as the defendants when criminal charges are brought.
There are, of course, instances of outright intent to commit crime, but the criminal defense attorneys of Keffer Hirschauer LLP find that, in many cases, it is circumstances that lead business professionals to commit what is perceived as a crime and that lead professionals to seek a white collar criminal lawyer in Indiana who can help. If you have been charged with a white collar crime and feel the effects of the charges on your reputation, your livelihood, and your future, consult with an attorney right away.
White Collar Criminal Lawyer in Indiana Explains the Crime
White collar crime is different from common crime in a few ways:
- Access: White collar crime typically involves an issue of access—access to money or to advantageous private or confidential information—by virtue of an individual’s position
- Victims: Victims can be so dispersed and massive that the victims might not know a crime has been perpetrated against them without being informed
- Organization: Sometimes it is the way in which an organization is laid out that provides not only the access but also an incentive for criminal behavior—there may be incentives built into an organizational structure that, even inadvertently, contribute or perpetuate what amounts to criminal behavior under the law
- Motive: Those charged with white collar crimes often cite non-personal motives for their actions, such as helping the company, obeying instructions from an authority figure, or not knowing the activity is criminal because so many others in the industry engage in the same behavior
When it comes down to it, however, prosecutors view white collar crime as a crime like any other—one worthy of prosecuting, no matter the motives of an individual or the perceived lack of victims.
Those who are charged with a white collar crime, in contrast, might be experiencing something entirely new, never having been subjected to criminal inquiry before and disconcerted about it, to say the least. These individuals would do well, therefore, to ensure they are well represented by a competent and experienced white collar criminal lawyer in Indiana.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP lawyers include former prosecutors who can view the situation from both sides and who are well suited to predict how the prosecution might proceed. Individuals who find themselves investigated or charged with a crime that affects their reputation and livelihood may find comfort in having able counsel at their side at all stages of investigation and prosecution.
What are the Elements and Defenses of White Collar Crime?
There are four elements that prosecutors must prove to show that a white collar crime has been committed:
- Intent to commit an act inconsistent with the law (this is often the main question and the lack of intent is often the main focus of a defense)
- Use of deception to disguise the crime
- Knowledge that a crime is being committed
- Reliance by a victim on the criminal act
The same defenses for common crimes are available for white collar crimes (lack of intent, for example) and a white collar criminal lawyer in Indiana knows which defense works best for someone charged with a white collar crime, depending on the circumstances. An attorney also knows how to best convey any mitigating factors, such as an individual’s good character, when possible and when, given the circumstances, an immunity or plea agreement is something to consider.
Examples of White Collar Crimes
There is a panoply of white collar crimes, and a white collar criminal lawyer in Indiana knows the intricacies and potential trappings of each one. According to statistics from 2018, the most common federal white collar crime charges at the beginning of 2018 included fraud by wire, radio, and television; mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)—attempt and conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 1349); and bank fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344).
The same statistical report revealed that the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana tied in sixth place for per capital federal white collar prosecutions. This emphasizes the need for a knowledgeable white collar criminal lawyer in Indiana, especially given the many white collar crimes frequently prosecuted:
- Insider Trading
- Price Fixing
- Intellectual Property Theft/Piracy
- Identity Theft
- Tax Evasion
- Fraud (Government, Mail, Insurance, Mortgage, Financial, Bankruptcy, Healthcare, Internet, Phone/Telemarketing, Securities, Credit Card, Computer and Internet, Wire/Radio/Television)
- Public Corruption
- Ponzi Scheme
- Money Laundering
Another reason for using a white collar criminal lawyer in Indiana is that the Indiana Code is not organized in such a way that you can simply look up “white collar crime” and find everything you need to know if charged with a crime. For instance, Medicaid theft, kickbacks, and bribes, are covered in Indiana Code § 12-15-23.5-2, but children’s health insurance program theft, kickbacks, and bribes are found at Indiana Code § 12-17.6-6-2. There is no discrete white collar criminal section, and it may take the help of an attorney to find the right law.
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Investigations and Whistleblowers
An investigation of a white collar crime can start in many places. It may begin within an internal investigation by an employer, possibly triggered by the report of a whistleblower, who is a person in a position to notice criminal behavior (of the type that could injure people) and who reports on it.
An investigation can also begin with local or state law enforcement, which often coordinates with federal organizations. In Indiana, for example, the Indiana State Police Special Investigations Section has representation in the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
There are many other federal agencies or self-regulatory organizations that may lead or coordinate investigations:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- United States Secret Service
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
- United States Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (successor to the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD))
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- United States Postal Service (USPS)
- United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
- United States Department of Justice (DOJ)
Use of Grand Juries
A grand jury is a group of people used by prosecutors to determine whether to return an indictment against someone. In Indiana, grand jury rules are covered by the Indiana Rules of Court 1 through 30. Grand jury proceedings can go on for extended periods of time, depending on the complexity of the white collar crime alleged. Intent is a common issue put before grand juries. If the prosecution thinks it cannot prove intent, an indictment might never be returned.
One issue of importance to a defense attorney in a white collar crime case is the classification of a client:
- Witnesses: Grand jury witnesses may be called only because they have information the government wants to know
- Targets: Grand jury targets are those people who will likely be indicted
- Subjects: Grand jury subjects are those people who fall between witnesses and targets—they are within the scope of the investigation and may end up just being witnesses or may ultimately be indicted themselves
It is important for anyone contacted about grand jury proceedings to consult with a lawyer for white collar crime in Indiana. An attorney must act quickly and proactively to minimize negative consequences for a client, and the attorney needs to know information as soon as is available in order to be most effective.
Penalties for White Collar Crime
Indiana white collar crime has a different feel from common law crime, but the penalties range from lighter to more severe, just as with common crimes:
- Imprisonment or jail time
- Community confinement
- Forfeiture of assets
- Home detention/electronic monitoring
- Disgorgement (giving up) of profits
- Supervised release
- Paying cost of prosecution
What a Lawyer for White Collar Crime in Indiana Can Do
Defense attorneys have many of the same responsibilities to white collar criminal defendants as they do to common crime charges, but there are some especially important roles that a lawyer for white collar crime in Indiana engages in:
- Helping clients respond to grand jury subpoenas
- Communicating with prosecutors and investigative entities on behalf of the client who is charged
- Attempting to prevent an indictment
- Reviewing options, such as immunity deals or plea agreements, when they are ideal
- Ensuring that the client is adequately represented in the face of the high amount of prosecutorial discretion in interpreting white collar crime statutes
- Making sure that any mitigating circumstances are communicated at the right time to minimize potential punishment
Contact a White Collar Criminal Lawyer in Indiana Today
The consequences of conviction are hefty. If you have been arrested for a white collar crime, or if you know that you are under investigation for an offense, you will want to tap the knowledge of the best Indiana white collar criminal lawyer. Arguably the most oft-cited case of white collar crime, the Enron case, recently surfaced with news of the release of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, who served 12 years before being released in 2019. The Enron case serves as a good reminder of the serious repercussions of conviction as does one of the results of the Enron case—transparency under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
If you find yourself being investigated for possible white collar criminal activities, contact a lawyer for white collar crime in Indiana right away. The criminal defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP will pursue the best possible outcome for your case, challenge any evidence brought against you, and ensure that your rights are protected.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP attorneys are ready to help get you through this—contact them today for a free consultation by calling (317) 751-7186 or by using the firm’s online contact form.