White Collar Crimes: Elements of Defense

June 23, 2020

White Collar Crimes: Elements of Defense

According to Trac Reports, white collar crimes are projected to be at an all-time low in 2020 when it comes to prosecutions. But just because there are fewer prosecutions of white collar crimes, that does not mean that you should feel safe from facing trial. If you end up in court for a white collar crime, you need to know that having a strong defense is what makes or breaks you from becoming a statistic. Take a look at the elements of defense for white collar crimes.

The Elements of Defense: White Collar Crimes

When you’ve been charged with a white collar crime in Pennsylvania, it’s imperative to find an attorney who has the experience and knowledge to provide you with the best criminal defense. There are many possibilities in defense, each depending on the specifics of your case. However, there are a few basic defenses you should be aware of if you are charged with a white collar crime.

Errors In Arguments

We often hear that “loopholes” are a negative thing, however when it comes to criminal defense in white collar crime proceedings, finding loopholes may be the strongest defense you have. 

Loopholes, or errors in the prosecution’s arguments, can help you create a stronger backstory. This may include pointing out the inconsistencies in the evidence, testimonies, time not matching up, or errors in data.

If there is a lot of evidence to weed through, you are more likely to find these flaws.

Lack of Intent or Knowledge

In white collar crimes like fraud, embezzlement, and Ponzi schemes, intent and knowledge are key factors in determining guilt. 

For example, let’s review a Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes are those which utilize investment fraud to pay the initial investors with funds collected from new investors. Sometimes, these get rich quick plans seem innocent enough, that is until it begins to unravel. 

If you did not have the intent to commit the crime, and you are able to demonstrate that you had no ill-will, you may be able to prove lack of intent.

Similarly, if you find yourself in the midst of white collar allegations because you were involved in a Ponzi scheme without knowing that was occurring, you can defend yourself with a lack of knowledge. This is of particular use if you are involved in a grander scheme, where because of your position, you would have no way of knowing the wrongdoing was occurring.

Coercion or Entrapment

Coercion and entrapment can sometimes go hand-in-hand. If you were forced to do something against your will via threats of harm (physical or financial) or negative consequences, you may be able to plead coercion. 

Entrapment, which utilizes an element of coercion, involves law enforcement using deceit and threats to get you to commit a crime without knowing you are being forced into it. Though not often used, this can be helpful when you know you are a likely suspect, but there is little evidence. Often when officials are feeling pressured to close a case, they will utilize entrapment to place blame.

Incapacity, Insanity, and Mental Illness

There also may be the case that you mentally were not capable of committing the crime due to incapacity, insanity, or mental illness. Many white collar crimes take a high level of skill to commit, especially those which occur online, through wire transfers, etc. 

If you are not capable of the logistics of the crime for any of the above reasons, you’ll need to emphasize that. However, if you did commit the crime but not with the intention to do so, but rather as a result of mental illness or a hallucination, you may need medical testimony to show this is or has occurred to you.

Statute of Limitations on White Collar Crimes

Depending on if your white collar crime is at a state or federal level may change the statute of limitations. It is important to know the dates in reference to the charges as well as having a firm grasp on the laws to ensure you are not charged and convicted of a crime that has met its expiration date. 

White collar criminal defense can be complicated. But having a trusted team beside you can make the difference between a sentence, fines, or being let go.

White Collar Criminal Defense: Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano

If you have been accused of a white collar crime in Pennsylvania, the time to act is now. You need a strong criminal defense. Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano is here to protect. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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