White-collar crimes often come with particularly severe penalties because they are considered violations of trust, especially when government employees or public officials are involved. These crimes are usually felonies and bring prison time and fines with conviction. One famous - some say infamous - school principal could be facing such a fate after recent allegations of fraud by New York's Department of Education.
Although the term "white collar crime" may not ring a bell for all White Plains, New York, residents, this type of crime is quite common. White collar crimes include fraud, theft, embezzlement and money laundering. Convictions for such crimes come with severe consequences.
New York residents convicted of felonies can face severe consequences including loss of employment, financial hardship and prison time. But the most damning consequence may be the damage to one's reputation. A New York resident's legacy-personal or professional-can be tarnished by mere accusations. Take, for example, the recent case of almost two dozen former firefighters and police officers who were arrested for alleged disability fraud.
Running a multi-million dollar business or any business for that matter can be extremely difficult and complex for a business owner. The accounting alone can cause headaches and, unfortunately, mistakes. When those mistakes lead to confusion, allegations may be leveled against the business owner accusing him of improper and illegal conduct. Those who find themselves accused of White collar crimes should seek immediate legal assistance, as can be seen by a recent instance in New York.
Recently, a study done by the Manhattan District Attorney's office highlighted perceived weaknesses in New York's criminal laws in combating sophisticated online fraud and other white collar-crimes. The report recommends that the state of New York update its criminal laws in order to better combat white-collar felonies.
Recently, the National White Collar Crime Center has taken the initiative to train New York law enforcement personnel in fighting white collar crime. The officers will receive training in combating felonies such as bankruptcy fraud, identity theft, and insurance fraud. The increased training is in response to a reported increase in the occurrence of white collar crimes, with over 60,000 cases reported last year. The organization is training 36 officials from all over New York State. The organization is starting to branch its training locations out from the metropolitan areas into less-populated areas like Utica.
Recently, a trend has been noted of corporations that are able to pay gigantic fines in order to avoid criminal prosecution. Many executives of these companies pay settlements to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to avoid prosecution for white collar felonies. For example, Ralph Lauren, the U.S. fashion company, paid $1.6 million in fines to avoid prosecution for allegations that it bribed Argentinian officials to avoid customs inspections of its products entering into that country. Prosecutors in white collar crimes have used two main tools to pursue alleged offenders: non prosecution agreements (NPAs) and deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs). Both of these involve a statement of facts agreed to by both parties, a cash fine, and the appointment of a probation officer to prevent further criminal conduct in the future. Also, SEC Enforcement Division lawyers grant "consent decrees," which allow corporations to neither admit to nor deny wrongdoing. Critics allege that these tools allow corporations to buy their way out of criminal prosecutions.
Recently, a New York socialite known for her charitable activities was sentenced by a U.S. District Court to 19 months in prison for allegedly bilking several companies out of millions of dollars. The woman was charged with the felony of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges came out of a scam carried out over the course of a decade, where the woman went to several companies and claimed to be able to get them access to new markets and business opportunities in exchange for money. The woman then used the money to support a lavish lifestyle. She was indicted for fraud in 2008, and turned her life around during this time period, opening her New York home to the poor and volunteering with a non-profit group that helps former inmates rebuild their lives. She introduced several letters of support detailing her lifestyle turnaround at trial. Despite her good deeds, however, she was still given a jail sentence, in addition to an imposition of $7 million in restitution to be paid to the victims.
Police in West Chazy, New York recently arrested a 36-year old man and a 30-year old woman on charges of manufacturing and possessing methamphetamines. The couple was arrested after law enforcement found several precursors to manufacturing methamphetamines at a residence. The police did not find an active meth lab, but did discover syringes filled with drug residue. The man was charged with drug possession, manufacturing methamphetamine, and endangering the welfare of a child, and the woman was charged with the felonies of criminal possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment. Both have been placed in prison and have been scheduled for trial.
Recently, the attorney general for the State of New York filed a lawsuit against Credit Suisse, a prominent bank, for allegedly defrauding investors as to the quality of mortgage loans that the bank placed into mortgage-backed securities.