The Lowdown on White Collar Crime
By Dan Noll on May 9th, 2016 in Articles, Springfield IL Defense Attorney
You’re probably heard of the phrase “white collar crime,” but like many people, you aren’t exactly sure what it means. If you’re facing charges that fall under this umbrella phrase in Illinois, it could mean serious penalties and lifelong consequences if you’re convicted.
What is a white collar crime?
Generally, a white collar crime is a criminal act someone commits for financial gain, usually in a professional or business setting. Common examples include:
- Stealing someone’s identity
- Evading income taxes
- Financially exploiting the elderly
- Laundering money
What are the penalties?
Each crime has different penalties, and those can vary according to the circumstances of the case. If a person embezzles property worth more than $10,000 but under $100,000, for example, Illinois law classifies that crime as a Class 2 felony, which can carry a jail term of up to seven years and a maximum fine of $25,000. However, if the property is valued at more than $1 million, it’s a Class X felony, and the jail term could be as long as 30 years. Sometimes, a white collar crime can be charged at the federal level, and the penalties can be even steeper than the state ones.
Your prior record and the facts of the case are all taken into account when the court is considering penalties. Other aspects in your case that can affect your sentencing include the funds involved and how many victims there were. If you are accused of using sophisticated means to commit white collar crime, such as using a computer or organizing a group of people, you may face more serious charges because these circumstances may “enhance” the charges. Other penalties for white collar crime besides fines and jail time include forfeiture of property, community service, probation and restitution, which is paying the victims back what was taken.
I’ve been accused of white collar crime—what now?
If you’ve been charged with or accused of committing any type of white collar crime, the wisest action is usually speaking to a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville IL as soon as possible. Speaking to investigators, law enforcement officers or other people about your case without speaking to an attorney could jeopardize your rights and negatively impact your case. Anything you tell another person could be used in court against you later, so it’s important not to discuss the matter without receiving advice and help from a seasoned legal professional first.
Since white collar crimes can end up creating a criminal record that will follow you around for life, they must be taken just as seriously as any other type of crime. Having a criminal record can make your life more difficult, affecting your ability to get a job or even rent an apartment, so make your next move the right one.