As a working professional, you want to clear your path to success. A significant roadblock to your advancement is the accusation of a white-collar crime. Few people understand the severity of white-collar crime convictions, including the intimidating potential of incarceration. 

Meet the challenge of a white-collar charge head-on by educating yourself and discovering your options. Learn what white-collar crime is, the consequences of being accused of a white-collar crime, and your options for moving ahead personally and professionally.

What is White Collar Crime?

White-collar crimes are financially motivated, non-violent acts. The term “white collar” denotes crimes typically committed by people in authority or business professionals. At the center of white-collar crime is cheating, lying and stealing to achieve financial gain. In modern times, technology has multiplied the opportunities for white-collar crime, adding layers of multilevel schemes and anonymity. Today’s schemes are more sophisticated and prevalent than ever. 

At the core of white-collar crimes is the goal of intentionally defrauding another person or group of people. The act of defrauding someone is against the law in every state. Fraudulent activity is also in violation of several federal laws. Defendants face strict sentences and consequences under California state law and at the federal level. 

What are the Consequences of Being Convicted of a White Collar Crime?

Major fraudulent white collar crimes include embezzlement, extortion and forgery. Most white-collar crimes in California are categorized as wobbler offenses. Officials classify these offenses based on the circumstances of the particular case. These factors determine the severity of the classification. The assessment results in the defendant being charged either with a felony or misdemeanor crime. Both classifications include the possibility of incarceration and substantial fines. 

You must understand the main categories of white-collar crime and the penalties that they each incur:

1. Embezzlement

 California Penal Code Section 503 forbids embezzlement. The code designates embezzlement as taking advantage of a trusting relationship with the victim’s specific intent to deprive the victim of property and fraudulently taking it as one’s own. Embezzlement is classified as a wobble offense. The charge is dependent on the accused’s legal record and the circumstances of the crime. 

Embezzlement is classified grand theft according to California Penal Code Section 487 if the property’s value exceeds $950. California Penal Code Section 488 applies if the embezzled property is less than $950 in value. Grand theft embezzlement carries a $1,000 fine and a sentence of being jailed for up to a one year period. Felony embezzlement carries a $10,000 penalty and up to three years in federal prison.

2. Extortion

 California Penal Code Section 518 addresses the crime of extortion, also known as blackmail. Extortion is defined by California law as obtaining property or a specific act from an individual through “the wrongful use of force or fear of the threat of force. Extortion is usually categorized as a felony crime. The penalties include a $10,000 fine and up to four years in California’s state prison. Extortion penalties apply even if the crime was attempted but not completed.

3. Forgery

California Penal Code Section 470 declares that forgery is illegal. Forgery is described as the deliberate act of modifying, producing or presenting a written document with the goal of deceiving another individual. Forgery is termed as a wobble offense. Forgery is classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor level crime according to the situation. Misdemeanor forgery charges carry a fine of $1,000 and a sentence of being detained for up to twelve months in a California county jail. Felony forgery charges result at a cost of up to $10,000 and incarceration in a California federal prison for up to a three-year period.

Consequences stemming from white-collar crime convictions extend beyond fines and incarceration. All types of fraud are considered crimes of moral turpitude. Therefore, those not born in the United States are at risk for deportation, even if they are legal aliens and have proper documentation. Fraud convictions also often result in the suspension of a professional license, especially if the license aided in facilitating the crime.

White-collar crime charges threaten the well-being of your life and your profession on multiple levels. They must be taken seriously. When facing a white-collar crime charge, seek skilled and confident representation. Take control of your situation by turning to The Law Offices of Grant Bettencourt. Mr. Bettencourt and his team of attorneys provide extensive experience in defending those accused of white-collar crimes. They are capable of pursuing a favorable result with aggressive passion. Grant Bettencourt and his team pledge to exhaust every possible defense to achieve a favorable outcome.

You deserve an attorney that will relentlessly fight for justice on your behalf. Call to schedule a consultation today as the first step in reclaiming your career and future.