Billings, MT White Collar Criminal Defense Attorneys

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White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers in Billings, MT

If you learn that you are under investigation for a white collar crime in Billings, Montana, or you have received a formal criminal charge for committing one, you need to act quickly. Your interests and your future are at risk. These allegations are serious and need to be treated as the ultimate priority.

The white collar criminal defense lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm have decades of experience handling these situations. With their legal representation and guidance, numerous defendants, including those in Billings, Montana, have achieved successful results both in the courtroom and outside of it.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Former DA

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney
& Former District Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
Linda Julin McNamara

Former Chief, DOJ Appeals

Local Counsel

Elizabeth Stepp
Elizabeth Stepp

Litigation Counsel

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former Federal Prosecutor

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (OIG)

Timothy E. Allen
Timothy E. Allen

Former Senior Special Agent

Chris Quick
Chris Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

David M. Bentz
David M. Bentz

Former U.S. Secret Service Agent

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

The Definition of a White Collar Crime Enables Bold Enforcement Actions

A white collar crime is one that is motivated by financial gain, but that does not involve physical violence. Robbery, for example, is not a white collar offense because there is an element of physical force. Embezzlement, however, is a white collar crime because it coerces the victim to hand over money or other assets in the thought that they will be held securely, when actually the culprit intends to pocket them for their own use.

Most white collar offenses involve deceit or fraud of some kind. However, deceitful or fraudulent conduct are not well defined. This is deliberate and is done in order to let law enforcement prosecute novel ways of separating victims from their property without the use of force. While this makes practical sense by empowering prosecutors to charge defendants who may have complied with a more well-defined criminal law, it creates uncertainty for innocent actors who want to comply with the law. Without a solid definition to go on, people or companies that have come up with innovative new ways of doing business can find themselves accused of committing a white collar offense.

An Example: Securities Fraud and Rule 10b—5

A good practical example of this in action is securities fraud. Congress passed major legislation regulating the transactions of securities – stocks, bonds, and other speculative assets – way back in the 1930s. It empowered the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to promulgate rules to enforce those laws. One of those rules is SEC Rule 10b—5, which forbids the use of “any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud” while transacting in securities.

The regulation provides no guidance as to what amounts to fraud. Instead, the agency adopts a stance of “we will know it when we see it.”

Since the enactment of Rule 10b—5 in 1948, the SEC has used it as a bludgeon against a wide variety of disparate offenses that are only contemplated by the Rule through its prohibition against fraudulent activity, in general. Some of these offenses that purportedly fall under Rule 10b—5 and that were technically created by the regulation are:

Other Examples of White Collar Offenses in Billings

Securities fraud is just one example of how widely white collar criminal statutes can spread. Numerous other state and federal criminal laws make liberal use of vague phrases like “fraudulent” and “deceitful” acts in order to cover criminal offenses like:

These are just a few of the most prominent examples of how far white collar criminal statutes can reach.

Multiple Criminal Counts are Common, With Severe Penalties for Each

Many white collar crime defendants are surprised by two things:

  1. The sheer number of criminal counts they are facing, and
  2. The steep penalties for each one of them.

White collar criminal statutes are notorious for overlapping. The same course of conduct can violate several of them at once. It is especially common to face one or more counts for a substantive white collar offense, plus other counts for a procedural offense.

Substantive white collar crimes are those that forbid the actual underlying conduct that was allegedly fraudulent. For example, if you use a computer to break into a database and steal someone else’s identity in order to open a credit card account online in their name, you are likely to face three different substantive charges for the following white collar crimes:

  1. Identity theft,
  2. Credit card fraud, and
  3. Bank fraud.

Additionally, you will also likely face two additional, procedural counts, which penalize you for how you committed the underlying fraud:

  1. Computer fraud, for the unauthorized computer access, and
  2. Wire fraud, for using the internet to open the fraudulent credit card account.

This single course of conduct has led to no fewer than five different white collar charges.

Each of these offenses is a serious felony under both federal and Montana state law. Wire fraud alone carries up to 20 years in prison under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1343). If the identity theft netted more than $5,000, that single count carries up to 10 years in prison under state law (Montana Code Annotated 45-6-332) or 15 years under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1028).

Legal Defenses Are Available to You

With the stakes so high, it is important to remember that you have legal defense options open to you. Hiring the best white collar defense team that you can find is the best way to ensure that the optimal defense strategy is the one that you pursue and that everything is done to execute on that strategy.

White collar offenses are known for having lots of documents. While this generally means that there are indications of illegal activity written in emails, invoices, and bank statements, it also creates the opportunity for a good defense lawyer to provide innocent explanations for any seemingly incriminating pieces of evidence.

Additionally, your defense team has numerous proactive defenses to choose from, including:

  • Illegal search or seizure
  • Entrapment
  • Lack of intent
  • Lack of knowledge, though this is generally only available if you have been charged for contributing to a criminal offense that was committed by others
  • Your allegedly misleading statements were actually just opinions

If hired in time, a good white collar defense team may open a dialogue with investigators before they can press charges. By providing important exculpatory evidence that explains away an apparent white collar offense, they can quash a case before it ever gets off the ground.

A Few Questions The Criminal Defense Firm is Frequently Asked About White Collar Crime in Billings, Montana

Does Montana or the Federal Government Have Jurisdiction Over a White Collar Offense?

White collar crimes can fall under either Montana or U.S. jurisdiction, or even both. The specific factors that will determine who has jurisdiction – and whether the federal government will choose not to exercise its power to prosecute the case – are extremely nuanced.

Generally speaking, though, federal law enforcement agencies have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute alleged white collar offenses in Billings if it involved a federal source of funding, like Medicare, the banking system, violated federal law, or reached outside of Montana’s state lines.

However, if the amount at issue is low or the case is not a high-profile one, chances are that federal agencies will let Montana handle it.

Getting the federal government out of your case is a big deal. Federal enforcement agencies are some of the largest in the world, with nearly limitless resources. They are an extremely powerful opponent to have in court. Persuading them that you are not worth their time is a big step in the right direction.

Why Isn't Lack of Intent Always the Best Defense?

A lack of intent is a great defense to protect you from criminal liability. Prosecutors generally have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you acted with a specific intent to defraud someone before they can throw you in jail for a white collar offense.

However, white collar offenses can also be pursued civilly, as well. Just because you did not intend to defraud someone when their money ended up in your bank account does not mean that you can keep the funds or that you cannot get penalized for the oversight. The lack of intent defense does not protect you from this outcome, and the only way it is different from a criminal conviction is that there is no jail time on the table. The financial repercussions are still there, and they are still severe.

Why Should I Consider Hiring The Criminal Defense Firm?

Because we are one of the only defense firms in Billings that exclusively hires senior attorneys. No one on our roster has less than a decade of experience protecting people from white collar charges. Many of our lawyers also have prior careers in federal law enforcement agencies, including some of the agencies that pursue white collar charges in Billings. This gives our defense team an intimate understanding of not just the law, but also the internal decision making processes within the federal agency behind the criminal charges you are facing.

Why Doesn't The Criminal Defense Firm Call Itself the Best in Billings?

We do not like to tout our firm with statements like that. Instead, we prefer to let our happy clients leave testimonials to the same effect. It counts for far more when it comes from them, anyway.

White Collar Defense Lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm Serving Billings, Montana

The Criminal Defense Firm is a team of extensively experienced white collar crime defense attorneys. With their legal guidance, numerous white collar defendants have invoked their rights, protected their future, and successfully defended against a serious allegation of a financial crime.

Contact our firm online or call our law office at (866) 603-4540.

Dallas 214-817-2053
Houston 713-454-7814
Detroit 313-634-0925
Baton Rouge 225-269-8749
New York 332-239-7345
Winter Park 407-890-0460
Miami 786-751-3247
Portland 207-222-7742
Nationwide 866-603-4540