Although they are not considered violent crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia, white-collar crimes are serious offenses that carry harsh penalties if you are convicted. These crimes are both state and federal offenses and are usually charged as a felony. If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, you need to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney who has experience defending clients facing these and other serious felony charges if you hope to achieve the best outcome in your case.
What Are White-Collar Crimes?
White-collar crimes often involve financial schemes or other criminal actions involving dishonesty and fraudulent activities. The issues in these cases can be complicated and involve hundreds or thousands of complex financial documents. Because of the complexity of these cases, you need an experienced lawyer who understands how to review and analyze the financial evidence being used against you.
Common White-Collar Crimes Under Virginia Law
There are numerous criminal offenses that fall under the classification of a white-collar crime. While some are charged as a misdemeanor, the majority are felonies that can result in a lengthy period of incarceration. Examples of these crimes in the Commonwealth include:
- Embezzlement. It is considered embezzlement to fraudulently take money or property from the rightful owner for financial gain when the accused was entrusted with the money or property as part of his job. If the value of the property or goods is $200 or less, it is a misdemeanor offense, but in other cases this is a felony crime. The punishment can be a prison sentence of up to 20 years, $2,500 fine, and restitution to the victim.
- Money laundering. Money laundering involves the use of money or property illegally obtained for lawful purposes. Examples of money laundering includes drug dealing, health care fraud, and mortgage fraud. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison and fined up to $500,000.
- Forgery. Under Virginia law, it is a Class 5 felony to create a false document or alter an existing one with the intent to commit fraud. If convicted, the punishment would be a one- to ten-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $100,000.
- Bribery. It is considered bribery to demand, receive, solicit, or offer something of value with the goal of influencing someone in his official capacity. A person can also be charged with this crime for offering or accepting a bribe. This crime is punishable by to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
- Extortion. Extortion occurs if property or money is illegally taken using the threat to injure or harm an individual or his property. The sentence upon conviction is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Perjury. Perjury is intentional lying when giving testimony or under oath. This is also a Class 5 felony, and the punishment would be the same as a sentence for extortion.
- Identity theft. Identity theft involves obtaining the identifying information of an individual without his consent for fraudulent purposes, such as getting access to his financial documents, qualifying for a loan, or taking property or money from him. The punishment is the same as for forgery and bribery.
- Bank fraud. Writing a bad check, money laundering, and real estate fraud are a few of the different criminal actions that fall under the crime of bank fraud. The offense charged and the sentence will depend on the value of what was stolen and other circumstances surrounding the arrest. The penalties can include up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney for Help
If you are being investigated for or charged with a white-collar crime, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to mount a strong defense against the charges you face. Even if you believe you are guilty, you may have defenses that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn how Quest Law PLLC can help, call our office, or start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.