Following are two misplaced assumptions concerning the white collar criminal realm.
First, there is this widespread belief: The penalties applied to defendants charged with white collar crimes are lax when compared with sentencing outcomes imposed on individuals convicted of other crimes.
That view has been largely discredited in recent years by a steady stream of court holdings and media accounts.
In fact, white collar cases in Chicago and elsewhere across Illinois and the country are often high-profile and rigorously prosecuted affairs. Alleged white collar criminal activity is a top-tier focus for federal and state task forces. Government enforcers routinely seek penalties marked by lengthy prison terms, heavy fines and more.
And here is that second point: Much of the general public often assumes that white collar crime enforcement is mostly about financial/investment fraud like Ponzi schemes.
Those commonly rise to the forefront, of course, but the white collar crime universe is replete with alleged wrongdoing across seemingly infinite possibilities.
White collar charges: an expansive government playbook
Professionals in myriad jobs and industries are targeted in wide-ranging investigatory probes focused on matters like the following:
- Insurance fraud
- Mail and wire fraud
- Internet fraud
- Money laundering
- Mortgage fraud
- Tax fraud
- Health care fraud
As lengthy as this list is, it is hardly comprehensive. An upcoming blog post will underscore this with its focus on current federal probes targeting alleged pandemic-tied money scams by business enterprises.
Responding purposefully and proactively to a criminal charge
White collar investigations are far from casual affairs. As noted above, that means zealous prosecution coupled with the intent to routinely secure maximum penalties against defendants.
Targeted individuals need to fight back. The stakes are high, and their freedom is often on the line.