Having a felony conviction for a white collar offense is an extremely serious matter. In addition to the legal consequences such as jail sentences, fines and restitution to the victims, there are also the personal consequences. In a place like New York, where so many careers are associated with the financial industry, a conviction for a white collar offense can be devastating for a person’s career.

A recent federal appointment could play a role in how white collar crimes are prosecuted. President Obama nominated former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who was known for prosecuting white collar and felony cases in New York, to lead the Securities Exchange Commission, which implements reforms on Wall Street. The appointee spent over a decade prosecuting felonies such as securities and financial fraud.

The appointment of White to head the SEC has important implications for how the legal system treats white collar crime. Unlike previous SEC heads, who either came from Wall Street or were securities lawyers, she has a criminal prosecution background, signaling that there will likely be a crackdown on white collar felonies. Most notably, White was responsible for prosecuting John Gotti, who was long believed to have ties to organized crime.In light of the economic downturn, there has been a growing public sentiment to prosecute those accused of white collar crimes with particular intensity. Fortunately, anyone accused of a white collar crime is entitled to a vigorous criminal defense. During court proceedings, the defense may challenge the strength of the prosecutor’s evidence, question any witnesses that the state provides and work to ensure that proceedings remain impartial and fair at all times.

Source: My Fox NY, “Top white-collar crime prosecutor to lead SEC,” Julie Pace, Jan. 24, 2013