White-collar crime in Arlington encompasses illegal activities characterized by manipulation, deceit, breach of trust, or concealment, perpetuated to obtain financial gain. Common white-collar offenses include tax evasion, embezzlement, corporate fraud, money laundering, healthcare fraud, wire fraud, insurance fraud, and mortgage fraud. These offenses are non-violent and are usually committed within a corporate set-up, thus distinguishing them from blue-collar crimes that typically involve physical violence.
For example, in 2021, a 47-year-old Arlington resident was sentenced to 42 months in prison for bankruptcy fraud aimed at an apartment complex she resided. She perpetrated the fraud by falsely filing a bankruptcy petition using the details of a third party without that person’s knowledge or consent. Similarly, in 2015, a couple who owned a health care facility in Arlington was convicted for health care fraud involving falsified bills for incontinence supplies. White-collar crimes are punishable under the Texas Penal Code and Federal laws.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Data Explorer, in 2020, the City of Arlington recorded:
Contrary to popular belief, penalties for white-collar crimes in Arlington are as severe as those for violent offenses. In addition to a lengthy jail term, a conviction can have steep financial and professional consequences. Notably, the convict could be required to pay fines to the government and restitution to the victims of the crimes while facing both criminal charges and civil suits. A person may be charged either under the Texas Penal Code or federal law. Below are penalties for certain white-collar crime charges in Arlington:
Under Chapter 34 of the Texas Penal Code, money laundering includes the act of acquiring, concealing, possessing, transferring, or transporting proceeds of criminal activities. It is also an offense to facilitate such transactions or invest in such illegal funds. Penalties for a crime under this provision largely depend on the amount of money being laundered. As such:
Money laundering is also criminalized under federal laws. It can attract a jail term of up to 20 years, including fines as high as $500,000 depending on the circumstances of the case.
Embezzlement refers to the act of illegally and secretly taking funds or properties from another person, a business, or an organization. In most cases, the accused person is usually an employee of the defrauded party or someone entrusted with their financial information. Like money laundering, the amount of money or value of the property embezzled determines the corresponding penalties. Below is a description of the penalties:
This is an offense under section 32.32 of the Texas Penal Code, which criminalizes the act of intentionally or knowingly making a materially false or misleading written statement to obtain a mortgage.
Punishment for this offense increases depending on the amount involved in the transaction. As such, transactions involving between $2,500 and $30,000 is a state jail felony punishable with confinement in a state jail between 180 days and 2 years, including a fine not to exceed $10,000. The offense becomes a third-degree felony if it involves $30,000 and $150,000. A third-degree felony is punishable with imprisonment for 2 to 10 years plus a fine, not more than $10,000.
Furthermore, the crime becomes a second-degree felony if the transaction or property is valued between $150,000 and $300,000. A second-degree felony is punishable with imprisonment between 2 and 20 years in addition to a fine of not more than $10,000. For properties or credit valued at $300,000 or more, the crime is a first-degree felony punishable with imprisonment for life or between 5 and 99 years. The sentence may also include a fine of up to $10,000.
Wire fraud is a federal offense that involves devising or intending to devise any scheme to defraud through false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, communicated through a wire. The offense is punishable with a fine, imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both. Suppose the statement made affects a financial institution or pertains to a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency. In that case, the corresponding penalty is a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment for a maximum of 30 years, or both.
Tax evasion involves illegal and intentional evading of an obligation under the Texas Tax Code. This includes, among other things, failing to file or pay taxes when due, falsifying financial information and illegally transferring property for tax-related purposes. Failure to pay taxes is punished based on the amount involved. The crime is charged as a misdemeanor if the evasion involves less than $1,500. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor is imprisonment for a year plus a fine of not more than $4,000. Evasion of more than $1,500 is a felony that can attract up to life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 or less.
It is a crime under chapter 35 of the Texas Penal Code to knowingly provide misleading or false statements supporting an application or a claim under an insurance policy.
The crime is punished based on the value of the insurance policy or claim. Frauds relating to claims valued at less than $2,500 are typically considered misdemeanors. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor offense is imprisonment for one year, including a fine of $4,000 or less. For insurance valued at $2,500, the offense is a felony that can attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment plus a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Generally, the penalties for white-collar crimes may be enhanced if:
A white-collar crime attorney understands the legal system, including the charge, and can help the accused person conduct their case in the best way possible. Persons facing white-collar crime charges can get the best possible outcome from their case by hiring a competent attorney. The work of such an attorney typically begins as early as the arrest and questioning stage, in which the attorney can prevent the suspect from providing self-incriminating statements to law enforcement officials. A white-collar crime lawyer can also conduct a comprehensive investigation into a suspect’s case, gather and evaluate evidence, and provide legal representation to the suspect in court. The attorney aims to get the charge dismissed or reduce potential penalties if the charge results in a conviction. To do this, the attorney would usually develop defense strategies based on the facts of the case. Common defenses to a white-collar crime charge include:
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is federal legislation enacted in 1977 to curb the use of foreign officials to perpetuate corrupt practices. The legislation prohibits, among other things, bribery of foreign officials, including any authorization, undertaking, or proposal to pay such bribes. The FCPA applies to a wide range of entities and officials, including companies, their directors, employees, stockholders, and agents. The law also places an obligation on companies with securities listed in the country to maintain their records and have internal measures to ensure that the organization’s activities are executed according to the management’s authorization. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice are responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the FCPA. A violation of the provision of the FCPA can lead to forfeiture of profit gotten from the illegal activity, including civil penalties.
Arlington residents can find qualified attorneys to handle their white-collar crime charges through several means. One common way is to consider referrals from family, friends, and colleagues that have been in a similar situation. At the minimum, they can refer to the firm or attorney that handled it for them. Interested parties can also find attorneys through an online search. Lawyers and firms usually have websites that advertise their services and expertise. However, these are less critical methods of getting an attorney. As such, it is essential to conduct a background search on any attorney found through this medium. This includes verifying the lawyer’s professional license, success rate, and trial experience.
Another established method of finding a white-collar crime attorney in Arlington is to use the find a lawyer feature on the State Bar’s website or the Tarrant County Bar Association’s lawyer referral service. Interested persons can search for attorneys in the city and see their area of specialization, license status, and contact details.
A lawyer white collar crime attorney ought to possess certain attributes, including being easily available to guide the client through a government investigation, questioning, and all through the case. The attorney must also be competent in the applicable laws and procedures. White-collar crimes may include state or federal charges. The lawyer must be knowledgeable in the laws that will apply to the defendant’s case. Furthermore, persons hiring a lawyer should ensure that they verify that the lawyer is licensed to practice before the court. It is also a good idea to opt for an attorney that has trial experience in white-collar crimes cases.
Residents of Arlington can generally expect to pay a white-collar crime attorney a flat fee to handle their case. However, there is usually also the option to bill per hour. Factors that determine the exact cost include the seriousness of the case, how often the attorney would have to go to court, and the firm’s reputation.