Raleigh White-Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers
Are you under investigation or have you been arrested for any type of white-collar criminal offense in North Carolina? Being subjected to the scrutiny of a governmental investigation can be one of the most intimidating experiences you may ever encounter. With the government on your heels, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight for your rights.
Coolidge Law Firm represents clients all over Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Knightdale, Morrisville, Zebulon, Garner, Wake Forest, and Fuquay-Varina. We can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call to set up a free, confidential consultation.
White-Collar Crimes In North Carolina
In North Carolina, white-collar crimes are typically non-violent offenses that involve financial deception or manipulation. Common examples include embezzlement, insider trading, fraud, and bribery. These crimes often involve individuals in positions of power or trust, such as business executives or government officials. While the punishment for white-collar crimes can vary depending on the severity of the offense, those convicted may face fines, jail time, and a damaging impact on their reputation and career prospects.
These types of offenses may result in state or federal charges that carry enormous consequences, and prosecutors in North Carolina will aggressively prosecute these crimes, and federal agencies often have even more investigators and resources that help them amass significant amounts of evidence. For an alleged offender, a possible conviction can result in lengthy imprisonment, steep fines, and irreparable reputational damage that can ruin her career.
Overview of North Carolina Economic Crimes
- Money Laundering
- Medicaid / Medicare Fraud
- Insurance Fraud
- Mortgage Fraud
- Mail / Wire Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Tax evasion
A person who steals money, property, or other goods that he is assigned to oversee may be charged with embezzlement. There are several different embezzlement offenses listed under Article 18 of the North Carolina General Statutes, and a crime may be classified as a Class F felony if the value of the property is less than $100,000 or a Class C felony if the value is $100,000 or more. Depending on the specific offense, a Class F felony conviction could result in up to 25 months in prison and a Class C felony conviction may be punishable by up to 73 months in prison.
Federal embezzlement statutes are codified under Chapter 31 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. The punishments for these crimes are also determined by the value of the property involved, with embezzling less than $1,000 being punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $100,000, and embezzling $1,000 or more possibly resulting in up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
Schemes in which alleged offenders conceal financial proceeds of criminal activity by disguising the income as originating from other assets are referred to as money laundering. Under North Carolina General Statute § 75D-3(c)(1)c., any money laundering conduct is classified as racketeering. All property used or intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through racketeering activity is subject to forfeiture to the state and a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) forfeiture proceeding.
Money Laundering And Rico Law White Collar Crimes
As codified under Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, RICO typically targets patterns of racketeering by criminal enterprises. Federal prosecutors will attempt to prove that alleged offenders committed two or more of a long list of predicate offenses within the previous decade. One of the predicate offenses is the laundering of monetary instruments, as codified under 18 U.S. Code § 1956, which may be punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved, whichever is greater.
Health care fraud involving Medicaid or Medicare in North Carolina is civilly and criminally prosecuted by States Attorney’s Offices or the North Carolina Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) under the North Carolina False Claims Act in North Carolina General Statute § 1-607. A court could order an alleged offender to pay up to three times the value of the amount involved in the offense as well as a fine of up to $11,000 for each violation.
A person can also be charged under the Federal False Claims Act codified under 18 U.S. Code § 287. In regards to Medicaid or Medicare fraud, a felony conviction is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.00 for an individual or $500,000.00 for a corporation.
Both North Carolina state law and federal law have numerous statutes relating to insurance fraud. Some of the possible crimes listed under Chapter 58 of the North Carolina General Statutes include:
- False statement to procure or deny the benefit of an insurance policy or certificate
- Embezzlement by insurance agents, brokers, or administrators
- Agent, adjuster, etc., acting without a license or violating insurance law
- Prohibition against payment or receipt of title insurance kickbacks, rebates, commissions, and other payments
- False statements in applications for insurance
- Excessive insurance premium finance charges
Insurance fraud crimes subject to federal prosecution may include:
- Healthcare insurance fraud
- Property insurance fraud
- Crop insurance fraud
- Flood or disaster insurance fraud
- Fee churning
- Asset or premium diversion
The Residential Mortgage Fraud Act is found in Article 20A of Chapter 14 of the North Carolina General Statutes. If a person violates any provision of this statute on a single mortgage loan, it is classified as a Class H felony. If the alleged offense involves a pattern of residential mortgage fraud, it is a Class E felony.
Federal cases of mortgage fraud are investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and are punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison and/or a fine of up to $1 million. Additionally, an alleged offender could also be charged with any number of violations of other federal statutes, including HUD and Federal Housing Administration Transactions, Bank Fraud, or Fictitious name or address.
The federal offenses of mail fraud and wire fraud involve services the use of the U.S. Postal Service, or a private carrier in the commission of a scheme to defraud someone of money or property. Under 18 U.S. Code § 1341, mail fraud involves any material sent through the United States Postal Service or another authorized mail depository, such as FedEx or the United Parcel Service (UPS). Wire fraud, as defined under 18 U.S. Code § 1343, can involve messages sent through email, fax machine, radio, television, telephone, wire, or other internet communications.
A person convicted of one of these offenses could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $250,000 in fines, but schemes that victimized financial institutions or involved a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
The Financial Transaction Card Crime Act in Article 19B of Chapter 14 of the North Carolina General Statutes criminalizes using any instrument or device such as credit card, banking card, debit card, or other device used to falsely obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value on credit. If the value involved in the alleged crime does not exceed $500 in any six-month period, this is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor. If the value is more than $500, this crime is a Class I felony.
Credit card fraud is also included in 18 U.S. Code § 1029, Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices. A conviction for knowingly defrauding with intent a credit card system member or its agent may be punishable by a fine and/or up to 10 years in prison, although an alleged offender could be subject to a sentence of 20 years in prison if he violates any of the other nine offenses listed under this statute. Violators are also subject to forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the offense.
State crimes for identity theft are codified under Article 19C of Chapter 14 of the North Carolina General Statutes. The possible penalties for a person convicted of identity theft in the Tar Heel State depend on the alleged offender’s criminal record and the severity of the offense, but the classification of this crime can range from a Class G felony to a Class E felony.
Additional Identity Theft Law
In addition to the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, there are numerous other federal laws that have been enacted to address some of the complexities involved in identity theft. A few of these privacy laws include:
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
- Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act
- Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
In North Carolina, it is a crime to knowingly and falsely make, alter, forge, or counterfeit any document with the intent to defraud someone. This includes both tangible documents such as checks and money orders, as well as electronic documents like emails and text messages. Additionally, it is illegal to possess forged documents with the intent to use them fraudulently. Penalties for forgery crimes can vary depending on the value of the item involved and the defendant’s criminal history, but they may face prison time and fines up to $10,000. It is important to remember that even in cases where no actual fraud occurs, simply creating a fake document or signature can result in criminal charges.
Tax evasion is a serious crime in North Carolina, and those found guilty can face severe penalties. In fact, individuals who evade more than $25,000 in taxes can be charged with a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of 44 to 92 months in prison. Business owners may also face charges for failing to pay the proper amount of sales tax or employee income tax. Not only can this lead to criminal proceedings, but businesses may also face civil penalties and fines.
The term “white-collar crime” typically brings to mind financial fraud and embezzlement, but it can also include conspiracy crimes. In North Carolina, these offenses involve two or more individuals working together to commit illegal acts such as fraud or bribery. A person can be charged with conspiracy even if they did not personally participate in the crime, as long as they knowingly agreed to be part of the plan. Conspiracy charges often result in harsh penalties, including substantial fines and lengthy prison sentences. It’s important for individuals and businesses to understand the potential consequences of participating in these types of illegal activities.
The term “extortion” is often associated with threats of physical harm or damage. However, in the realm of white-collar crime, extortion can take on a different form. In North Carolina, a person can be charged with extortion for using deception or intimidation to obtain property or services. This can include falsely claiming to have influence over a business transaction or threatening to reveal damaging information about an individual unless they comply with demands. Proper criminal defense is important in extortion crimes, as the potential penalties for this type of crime vary depending on the value of the property or services obtained, but they can range from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class C felony. Those convicted may also face restitution, community service, and even prison time.
Build A Proper Defense With Our Raleigh White Collar Crime Attorneys
If you were arrested or are currently being investigated for alleged white-collar crimes in Wake County, you should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Our lawyers represent defendants in all states of the criminal process from pre-indictment investigation to pre-trial negotiations/plea bargaining and trial. We conduct an extensive investigation of your case to develop the strongest possible legal defense.
Our law firm helps people all over Wake County accused of these crimes, including residents of Raleigh, Wendell, Cary, Holly Springs, Apex, Wake Forest, Morrisville, and many other communities. Call (919) 239-8448 right or fill out the contact form now to take advantage of a free consultation that will let us review your case and see how we can help.