White collar crime is a term used to describe a range of non-violent offenses committed by professionals, typically in business or government settings, for financial gain. Examples include fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, and money laundering. These crimes are often complex and may involve extensive paper trails, making them difficult to investigate and prosecute.
In Colorado, the penalties for white collar crimes can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences and large fines. As a result, individuals facing white collar crime charges must mount a strong defense.
This blog post will explore defense strategies to use against white collar crime charges in Colorado, and how these cases differ from other types of charges.
What Makes White Collar Crime Different from Other Types of Colorado Charges
There are all kinds of white collar crime charges, but in general they differ from other types of charges in several ways.
Complexity. Compared to many other types of crimes, even those involving money, white collar crimes tend to involve complex financial transactions and extensive paper trails. This can make them more difficult to investigate and prosecute.
Because of this inherent complexity, it can be more difficult for the defense team to mount an effective strategy, as there may be a great deal of evidence to comb through.
Severe penalties – particularly financial penalties. Another key difference is the severity of the penalties involved in these types of cases. While white collar crimes may not involve physical harm to individuals, they can have serious financial consequences, both for the victims and for society as a whole.
As a result, the penalties for white collar crimes can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences and exorbitant fines.
Publicity. Finally, white collar crime charges often involve individuals in positions of power or authority, such as executives or government officials. This can make the public more interested in the case and can lead to intense media scrutiny.
Because of this, individuals facing white collar crime charges may find themselves under a great deal of pressure from both the legal system and the public.
Defense Strategies for White Collar Crime Charges
When facing white collar crime charges, individuals have several options for mounting a defense. The strategies employed will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, including the type of crime committed, the evidence against the accused, and the legal team involved.
Some potential defense strategies include:
- Lack of Intent. Many white collar crimes require proof of intent, meaning the defendant must have knowingly committed the crime with the intent to defraud or deceive. If the defendant can prove that they did not have the requisite intent, they may be able to avoid conviction. This can be challenging, as prosecutors often have extensive evidence to suggest otherwise.
- Mistaken Identity. In some cases, individuals may be falsely accused of white collar crimes. If the defense team can demonstrate that the accused was not involved in the crime, or that their involvement was mistaken for someone else’s, they may be able to avoid conviction.
- Insufficient Evidence. Prosecutors must provide sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence against the accused is weak or circumstantial, the defense team may be able to argue that the charges should be dismissed.
- Illegal Search and Seizure. If law enforcement officials obtained evidence illegally, such as through an unconstitutional search or seizure, that evidence may be inadmissible in court. The defense team can argue that the evidence should be suppressed, which could weaken the prosecution’s case.
- Lack of knowledge. Often, white collar crimes involve a “scheme” with numerous participants in specific roles, all working together to commit the criminal act. Sometimes, though, people have been known to play a role in a white collar criminal plot without actually realizing they were part of something illegal. If you are able to show that you had no awareness of the larger criminal conspiracy, it can work wonders as a defense strategy.
Additionally, many white collar crimes require a significant amount of investigation before prosecutors even bring charges. If you learn that you are being investigated, do not wait until you are arrested or charged to start crafting a defense strategy. Reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer immediately. He or she can advise you on what to say and do to best protect your interests, and may even be able to get the investigation quashed altogether.
White collar crime charges are serious and can have significant consequences for you if you are convicted. If you are facing this type of investigation or charge, your best chance at the most positive outcome is to mount the strongest defense possible.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.