A white-collar crime in Worcester County is a non-violent financial or economic crime perpetrated by a corporate person, government, or corporate employee. Unlike street crimes often associated with reactionary violent actions, perpetrators of white-collar crimes usually take advantage of their positions to commit crimes such as
- Credit card fraud: Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft. The crime may be committed either by taking physical possession of the card or by using compromised data from the card. The Massachusetts General Law Chapter 266 Section 37E criminalizes credit card fraud. Any person who poses as another person by using their identifying information to obtain anything of value is guilty of identity fraud. Credit card fraud involves using the victim’s information to apply for credit and using the credit to pay for goods or services.
- Embezzlement: The Massachusetts General Law Chapter 266 Section 30 criminalizes larceny by embezzlement. Embezzlement is the unlawful appropriation of lawfully obtained property. The perpetrator usually receives possession of the property lawfully in embezzlement cases. However, the property is then used for illicit purposes.
- Health care fraud is criminalized under Title 18 of the US Code, Chapter 63 Section 1347. The crime is committed when the perpetrator knowingly or willfully executes or attempts to execute any scheme to defraud any health care benefit program. The crime also extends to schemes to fraudulently obtain any money or property from any health care benefit program.
- Insurance fraud involves defrauding an insurance process by exaggerating a loss or deliberately planning a loss to profit from insurance. Insurance policies for fire, health, and life are often targets of insurance fraudsters.
- Mail fraud is any fraud perpetrated through the United States Postal Service or any other interstate carrier. The perpetrators and victims of mail fraud may be either individuals or businesses. The prosecution is required to establish the presence of key elements that prove the defendant is liable. The defendant must have devised or participated in a scheme to fraudulently obtain money or property by false pretenses, representations, or promises. The pretenses, representations, or promises must be related to a material fact. The defendant must have had an intent to defraud and the defendant must have used the United States Postal Service or any other interstate carrier.
- Money laundering is an attempt to disguise the proceeds of illegal activities with a legitimate business. Money laundering in Worcester County is criminalized by the Massachusetts General Law Chapter 267A Section 2 and Money Laundering Control Act. The laws are often used to target proceeds from drug trafficking, terrorist funding, human trafficking, and fraud. The laws also impose an obligation on financial institutions to report transactions that may be proceeds of money laundering.
- Tax evasion occurs if a person deliberately avoids paying due tax. It may involve either not paying any tax or fraudulently paying a reduced amount. An element of the offense is the perpetrator’s intention to illegally escape tax payment.
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) recorded 290 identity theft cases, 188 wire fraud cases, 458 credit card fraud cases, and 75 embezzlement cases in Worcester County. Compared to 2018, there was a decrease in identity theft by 18% and credit card fraud by 27%. There was an increase in wire fraud by 52%. The number of embezzlement cases remained the same.
What are White Collar Crime Punishments in Worcester County?
White Collar crimes in Massachusetts are often punished severely. The defendant may be prosecuted by both the Massachusetts state government and the United States federal government. Penalties for white-collar crimes may include imprisonment, fines, community service, forfeiture of assets, and probation. However, the penalty usually depends on the specific crime that was committed.
Credit Card Fraud
The penalty for credit card fraud is a fine not more than $10,000, imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and a half years, imprisonment in state prison for not more than five years, or both imprisonment and a fine.
The penalty for embezzlement varies depending on the circumstances.
- Larceny by embezzlement of property over $250 or a firearm has a penalty of imprisonment in state prison for a maximum of five years or a fine not exceeding $25,000 and imprisonment in jail for a maximum of two and a half years.
- If the embezzlement is of property over $250 or a firearm belonging to a person over 60 years old or with a disability, the punishment is imprisonment in state prison for not more than ten years, imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and a half years, a fine not more than $50,000, or both a fine and an imprisonment term.
- Embezzlement of a property less than $250 and not a firearm is punishable by a fine not more than $300 or imprisonment in state prison for a maximum of one year.
- If the embezzlement is of property under $250 and not a firearm, but belongs to a person over 60 years old or with a disability, the penalty is imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and a half years, a fine, not more than $1,000, or both a fine and imprisonment.
- The penalty for embezzlement of trade secrets is imprisonment in state prison for not more than two and a half years or a fine not more than $25,000 and imprisonment in jail for a maximum of two years.
Health Care Fraud
- The penalty for health care fraud is a fine, imprisonment for a maximum of ten years, or both fine and imprisonment.
- For health care fraud resulting in serious bodily injury, the penalty is a fine, imprisonment for a maximum of twenty years, or both a fine and imprisonment.
- For health care fraud resulting in death, the penalty is a fine, imprisonment for as long as the judge deems fit, or both a fine and imprisonment.
- The penalty for a fraudulent insurance claim is an imprisonment term in state prison for not more than five years, imprisonment term in a jail for a period between six months and two and a half years, a fine not less than $500 and not more than $10,000, or both imprisonment and a fine.
- The penalty for fraudulent claims under a motor vehicle insurance policy is imprisonment in state prison for not more than five years, imprisonment in a house of correction for a term between six months and two and a half years, a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, or by both fine and imprisonment.
- The penalty for fraudulently obtaining benefits under an insurance contract is imprisonment in state prison for not more than five years, imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for a period between six months and two and a half years, or a fine between $1,000 and $4,000.
- The penalty for burning insured property with the intent to defraud is imprisonment in state prison for not more than five years or imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and a half years.
- The penalty for mail fraud may include a fine, imprisonment for not more than five years or both.
- Where mail fraud is committed against a financial institution, the penalty may include a fine not more than $1,000,000, imprisonment not more than 30 years, or both a fine and imprisonment.
- The penalty for money laundering is imprisonment in state prison for not more than six years, a fine not more than $250,000 or twice the value of the property transacted, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.
- For a subsequent offense, the penalty is imprisonment in state prison for a term between two and eight years, a fine not more than $300,000 or three times the value of the property transacted, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.
- The penalty for tax evasion is imprisonment in state prison for up to five years, a fine not more than $100,000, or both.
- The fine may be up to $500,000 for corporations.
The defendant would also be required to pay the cost of prosecution and the evaded tax.
What Does a White Collar Crime Lawyer Do in Worcester County?
A white-collar crime lawyer in Worcester County protects their client’s rights during investigation and prosecution, represents the defendant’s interest at trial or negotiation. The defendant may be a private or government employee that has been charged with committing a white-collar crime.
Depending on the nature of the crime, the defendant may be arraigned before the Worcester District Court or the Worcester Superior Court. White-collar crime attorneys are familiar with the different courts and can prepare the case to suit the court and explore the unique leeway each court provides to accused individuals before them. Based on the facts of the case, the white-collar attorney may raise defenses such as
- Entrapment. The defense may claim that the defendant was presented with the opportunity and enticed to commit the crime by law enforcement agents.
- Non-fraudulent statements. Where the charge includes an accusation of making a fraudulent statement, the defendant can escape liability by showing that the statement was not fraudulent. This would involve showing that the defendant was not responsible for the accusing party’s interpretation of the statement.
- Incapacity. The defense may present evidence that the defendant lacked the mental or physical capacity to commit the offense, and convince the court that the defendant did not comprehend the consequences of their actions or could not have committed the offense.
- Intoxication. The defense may argue that the defendant had no control over their actions while they were under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Intoxication may either be a full defense or may be used to bargain for a lighter sentence.
- Lack of intent. Intent to commit a crime is one of the key elements the prosecution must prove to convict the defendant. The defendant may escape liability by showing they had no intent to commit the white-collar crime.
A white-collar crime lawyer may also be able to negotiate a plea bargain for the defendant if the prosecution has presented enough damning evidence, that may likely convict the defendant.
What is the FCPA in Worcester County?
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 criminalizes any offer, payment, authorization, or promise to pay money or anything of value to a foreign official to influence their actions. The FCPA is binding on companies whose securities are listed within the United States.
The FCPA is enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice. The SEC enforces the Act against companies it regulates, while the Department of Justice enforces the Act against all other domestic companies. The SEC and Department of Justice released a joint guide to the FCPA in 2012. The SEC maintains a list of enforcement cases since 1978.
How to Find a White Collar Crime Lawyer in Worcester County
There are numerous ways to find a white-collar crime lawyer. The defendant in a white-collar crime may search the internet, request referrals, or visit prestigious legal firms within their locale. It is important to retain the services of an attorney when facing a white-collar criminal charge because the punishment for a conviction could be severe. The defendant may also be prosecuted by both the Massachusetts state government and the US federal government. The defendant may want to hire a white-collar crime attorney with experience representing defendants in similar cases and has appeared in both state and federal white-collar criminal prosecutions cases. They can elicit all the information, evidence, counter-evidence that is relevant to the defendant’s case and develop a defense strategy
The total fee required by an attorney to represent a defendant is determined by the attorney and may be influenced by factors such as the length of the case, the number of preliminary hearings, and the number of court appearances. Attorney’s fees may be hourly or a flat fee. However, most white-collar crime lawyers have a free initial consultation service. The hourly fee is usually between $150 to $700 per hour. The flat-rate fee is usually between $1,000 and $3,000 for simple white-collar crimes. The fees may be higher depending on the complexity of the case.