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New technologies used in committing white collar offenses

Recently, it has been noted by attorneys specializing in white collar crime that offenders in New York and elsewhere are becoming savvier in using technology, making these offenses more difficult to uncover. In many white collar crime cases, a massive amount of electronic evidence is uncovered and law enforcement officials often simply do not have the resources to process it all. Also, many white collar offenders are using text messages or Skype rather than cell phones or e-mail to conduct the offense, thus evading phone wiretaps or traceable email messages.

In one case described by a New York attorney in a firm specializing in white collar crimes, the government seized a computer's hard drive in a fraud case, but the judge dismissed the charges due to the fact that the hard drive's files were not processed at the time the evidence was seized, as required by law, as a result of the government's lack of resources. These new technologies increasingly are being utilized by white collar offenders in order to avoid arrest and prosecution.

This case highlights the nature of white collar offenders. They are more highly educated and more sophisticated than other criminals, so they are in a better position to use technologies such as Skype and text messaging to avoid detection by authorities. They also have access to more resources for their defense and for concealing their crime, so it is much more difficult to convict white collar offenders than ordinary criminals.

This case also highlights the nature of many white collar offenses themselves, such as fraud and insider trading. Many of these crimes involve the use of sophisticated electronic technologies that many law enforcement officials are not trained or equipped to understand, thus placing law enforcement at a distinct disadvantage. Clearly, better training of law enforcement to deal with electronic technology is needed to more effectively deal with the problem of white collar crime.

Despite these challenges, anyone accused of a white collar offense may face very serious penalties under federal and state law. Therefore, it is essential for those accused of white collar crimes to mount a vigorous criminal defense. For instance, white collar defendants, like all criminal defendants, have the legal right to have evidence excluded as inadmissible if it has not been obtained properly, among other constitutional rights. A defendant accused of a white collar crime is entitled to seek vindication in a court of law.

Source: Corporate Counsel, "White Collar Criminals 'Outgunning' law enforcement," Sue Reisinger, June 5, 2013

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