White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charleston, WV
In Charleston, West Virginia, allegations that you have committed a white collar offense are severe. If left alone, they can easily turn into a serious criminal conviction that carries a lengthy stint in prison, huge fines, other crippling financial obligations, probation, and collateral consequences that can doom your professional future even after you have served your sentence.
You need effective legal counsel.
By hiring the white collar defense lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm, you tap into decades of experience in handling white collar allegations at both the state and federal level. With our help, numerous clients – including those in Charleston, West Virginia – have fought back against allegations of white collar offenses. Many of them have successfully beaten the charges, securing outright jury acquittals at trial or persuading the law enforcement agency pressing the charge to drop it before trial, or sometimes even before it was filed in the first place. Even among those who have gotten convicted, many have seen a drastic reduction in the penalties they were facing at the start of the case.
White Collar Crimes are Vague and Broad
White collar offenses only have two things in common with one another. They are all:
- Motivated by financial gain, and
That is where the similarities end, largely because so many of these financial offenses rely heavily on conduct that was allegedly:
- Deceitful, or
These descriptions are subjective and prone to multiple interpretations. Something that was deceitful to one person may not be deceitful to another. As a result, the line between permissible conduct and criminal conduct that can carry decades of prison time is fuzzy at best. For individuals and business owners in Charleston, this creates tense uncertainty: What they think is an acceptable business practice may not be considered lawful by state or federal law enforcement agencies.
With little guidance to go on, it is not uncommon for people with novel business methods to get scrutinized by law enforcement agents from the West Virginia or United States government.
State and Federal Enforcement of Financial Criminal Statutes
Many white collar crimes are covered by both West Virginia and federal criminal statutes. However, while West Virginia will have legal jurisdiction to prosecute your case, the federal government might not. Additionally, federal law enforcement agencies may defer prosecution to West Virginia if the case is not important enough or does not involve a large enough sum of money at issue.
Generally, the federal prosecution of white collar offenses will only happen if:
- The amount at issue was considerable, often at least $100,000
- The banking system was defrauded
- A federal source of funding, like Medicare, was targeted
- There are numerous victims outside the state of West Virginia
Federal white collar charges are generally investigated and prosecuted by the:
- U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Office of Inspector General: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG)
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
If one of these agencies is behind the case rather than state law enforcement from West Virginia, it is a significant escalation in the threat to your future. U.S. federal law enforcement agencies are among the most powerful in the world and have access to resources that drastically increase the thoroughness of a federal investigation. While West Virginia law enforcement agencies, like the local district attorney’s office or the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General, are not easy opponents, facing the federal government in court is an entirely different matter.
Examples of Federal White Collar Offenses
There are dozens of types of white collar offenses that violate federal law. Just a few of them include:
- Antitrust violations
- Environmental crimes
- Computer fraud
- Bank fraud
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Mail and wire fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Money laundering
- RICO offenses
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud
- Tax evasion
Healthcare fraud, such as:
- a href=”https://criminaldefense.com/healthcare-fraud/false-billing/”>Fraudulent billing
- Taking kickbacks
- Prescription drug fraud
- Medicare fraud
Securities fraud, like:
Convictions for these federal offenses frequently carry decades in prison.
West Virginia State White Collar Offenses
Some white collar crimes are violations of state law in West Virginia, but do not always violate a federal counterpart. While they are generally less severe, they are far from trivial.
A few examples of these state offenses include:
- Car insurance fraud
- Workers’ compensation fraud
- Unemployment insurance fraud
- Identity theft
- Simple theft
Many West Virginia statutes that cover financial crimes mirror federal ones. If these violations are severe enough, a federal agency may prosecute the case under federal law and in federal court. Smaller cases generally fall to West Virginia to pursue.
Convictions Come With Severe Penalties
Both state and federal cases can carry extremely harsh penalties for a conviction. These penalties include:
- Prison time
- Criminal fines
- Professional sanctions, often the suspension or the revocation of any professional licenses that were used to defraud people
- Forfeiture or disgorgement of funds or assets that were obtained by the scheme
- Paying restitution to the victims
The financial penalties are often enough to cripple you and your business. Worse, once your sentence is complete, you will often find yourself unable to return to your prior profession due to the blemish on your criminal background. This can make it extremely difficult to make ends meet after a white collar conviction.
There are Legal Defenses to White Collar Allegations
With so much at stake, raising an effective legal defense in your case is essential.
You have options.
While the best course to take will depend on your particular case and the context surrounding it, some of the defenses that The Criminal Defense Firm’s attorneys have used to combat white collar allegations in Charleston have included:
- Illegal search
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of intent
In many cases, our seasoned white collar defense lawyers have been able to provide innocent explanations for supposedly incriminating evidence against our clients.
These defenses, as well as others, have led to numerous case dismissals and acquittals. Even when our clients have been convicted, our attorneys have worked tirelessly on their behalf and have secured mitigated sentences that our clients have been happy with. In many cases, we have appealed their conviction and gotten it overturned.
FAQs About White Collar Offenses in Charleston and The Criminal Defense Firm
When Should I Hire a White Collar Defense Attorney?
You should hire a seasoned white collar defense lawyer as soon as you suspect that you are under investigation for a financial offense. Not when you have been charged. Not when you have been subpoenaed. As soon as you become aware of an investigation that could be targeting you.
There are numerous very important reasons for getting an attorney in your corner as early as possible.
First, and most importantly for you, is that the early stages of a white collar investigation are when the case against you is at its weakest. A skilled white collar defense lawyer may be able to open a dialogue with investigators and present exculpatory evidence that persuades them that their investigation is a waste of time. Not only does this outcome avoid the penalties of a conviction; it even avoids the hassle of a drawn out defense.
Second, by the time you have been charged, investigators will likely have already spent months uncovering evidence of a financial crime. Waiting that long to get a defense lawyer gives law enforcement a huge head start in your case.
Third, there are often legal rights that you can invoke at the early stages of an investigation that can make investigators work harder and insulate yourself and your company from liability.
Why Should I Hire The Criminal Defense Firm?
Because The Criminal Defense Firm only employs seasoned defense attorneys with decades of experience. Many of the lawyers and investigators on our staff also have long prior careers working in federal law enforcement agencies – often the very same agencies that are prosecuting your white collar case.
Obviously, this means that, when you hire The Criminal Defense Firm, you get to tap into a wealth of legal knowledge, a deep familiarity with the law, and an intimate understanding of how the law enforcement agency on the other side of your case will go about proving it.
Less obviously, it means that all of the legal work that we do on your case will be the product of a senior lawyer with decades of experience handling similar cases. Other cases use the experience of their top-most lawyers to draw clients in, only to hand their cases off to junior associates and paralegals with the barest amount of supervision possible.
That is not how we represent our clients. The senior attorneys that convinced you that our firm was the right one for you will also be the lawyers you interact with over the course of your case.
Why Doesn't The Criminal Defense Firm Call Itself the Best White Collar Defense Team in Charleston?
Because we prefer to let our prior clients’ testimonials do that sort of talking for us.
The Criminal Defense Firm: White Collar Defense in Charleston, West Virginia
Getting convicted for a white collar crime in Charleston can affect your life in severely negative ways. Getting the legal help you need to fight back against these charges is essential.
Call The Criminal Defense Firm at (866) 603-4540 or contact our firm online today to get started on your case, invoke your rights, and protect your interests and your future.