10 of Examples of White Collar Crimes in Texas
If you’ve been accused of a white collar crime in Georgetown or San Marcos, TX, it can be serious business. Both your business and private reputation can be tainted even before you even make it to your trial. Just having your name in an investigation can be enough to cause negative, long-lasting consequences.
You can, however, retain a top Austin white collar crime lawyer who can represent you in Texas, such as our attorneys Mark Morales and Julie Sparks here at Morales & Sparks, to build you a strong defense when you face allegations of any of the many white collar Texas crimes. Our world-class attorneys are skilled and experienced with white collar crimes in Texas, and will work hard to defend your case.
Regardless of your particular situation, American law maintains that all individuals are believed to be innocent until they are proven guilty in a courtroom. Because of this, having a white collar criminal defense attorney by your side to present an aggressive and strong defense for your case is important for you to obtain a positive outcome.
Defining White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes in Texas are typically crimes that are nonviolent. They involve dishonesty, deception and/or misrepresentation for fraudulent purposes. These crimes can be committed by public officials, business professionals, employees and entrepreneurs. However, anyone can face this type of allegation.
When an individual commits a white collar crime, it usually involves some form of fraud for financial gain. The accusations are serious and often involve tax evasion, embezzlement, money laundering, credit card fraud or other types of deception to reap a financial benefit.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims that white collar crimes cost the United States over $300 billion a year. And with people becoming more computer and internet savvy these days, there is now an ever-increasing number of alleged atypical defendants committing white collar crimes.
10 Examples of Common White Collar Crimes in Texas
There are a number of different white collar crimes being committed in both San Marcos and Georgetown, TX. Some examples of white collar crime in Texas include:
1. Bankruptcy Fraud
There are four general forms of this white collar crime which are:
- Intentionally filing incomplete or false forms
- Assets being concealed by debtors so they don’t have to relinquish them
- Bribing a trustee appointed by the court
- Filing several times using real information in various states or using false information
Often, individuals combine more than one of these types of fraud such as money laundering, identity theft, public corruption and mortgage fraud.
This white collar crime involves the giving, offering, receiving or soliciting of an item that has value to influence an individual’s actions that holds a legal or public duty. This is where the matter is not handled objectively as it should be, but rather handled in a way that best suits the decision maker’s private interests. It is a white collar crime that both the recipient and the briber may be criminally charged.
3. Computer and Internet Fraud
Individuals involved in this type of cybercrime use a computer to misrepresent a fact dishonestly to encourage another to do something or not do something that can cause them a loss. There are a number of different forms of criminal activity that involves a computer and the internet.
For instance, a common form is known as “hacking,” where an individual or group of individuals gain access to a secure internet/intranet or computers remotely using sophisticated technological tools. Another form occurs when an alleged criminal intercept an electronic transmission that was not intended for them, such as credit card information, passwords or other forms of identity theft.
4. Corporate Fraud
The FBI considers corporate fraud to be one of its highest criminal priorities as it has the potential to damage investor confidence and impact the U.S. economy negatively.
Most of the corporate fraud cases the FBI has pursued in the past involved accounting schemes for the purpose of deceiving auditors, investors and analysts about a business’s or corporation’s true financial condition. By manipulating the share price, financial data or other corporation valuation measurements, the business entity may be able to artificially inflate its financial performance using performance indicators that were fictitious.
5. Credit Card Fraud
This type of fraud occurs when the alleged criminal takes another individual’s credit card information without authorization to attempt identity theft and remove money from the card or charge purchases. Typically, credit card fraud falls under two types of fraud:
- Account takeovers — where an individual hijacks an existing credit card account to obtain the victim’s personal information with the intent to change the billing address on the account. Then when the victim reports the card stolen or lost and has a new card mailed, it goes to the billing address that the victimizer changed the account to so he or she can make fraudulent purchases with it.
- Application fraud — where the individual uses another person’s name to open up one or more unauthorized credit card accounts.
Embezzlement represents the theft, or misappropriation, of personal property placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer.
It usually involves the abuse or mishandling of money and is considered embezzlement whether you keep the property or transfer it to another entity, like a third party.
7. Financial Institution Fraud
This is another form of embezzlement or fraud that is committed against or within a U.S. Government regulated or insured financial institution. There are a number of different types of fraud that threaten financial institutions including:
- Check fraud
- Check kiting (taking advantage of float)
- Mortgage fraud
- Commercial loan fraud
- Counterfeit negotiable instruments
- False applications
These are just some of the numerous different financial institution fraud scams both traditional and non-traditional.
8. Government Fraud
Government fraud can involve fraud against federal government contracting or against federally-funded or federal entitlement programs such as defense procurement, agricultural programs, public housing, corporate frauds and educational programs.
9. Healthcare Fraud
This white collar crime is a type of fraud where an individual files untruthful and deceptive healthcare claims to make a profit. There are many forms of fraudulent healthcare scams involving the practitioner or a member:
- Practitioner fraud — includes things like billing for care that wasn’t rendered, obtaining fully-covered or subsidized prescription pills that aren’t needed in order to sell them for profit on the black market and filing more than one claim for the same rendered service.
- Member fraud — includes selling or forging prescription drugs, applying for services or programs with false information and using another person’s insurance card or loaning yours out.
10. Insurance Fraud
This is any deceitful act performed to get a wrongful payment from the insurer. Insurance fraud scams are classified by prosecutors and police in two ways:
- Soft fraud — the individual may do things like lie about certain circumstances or conditions when applying for an insurance policy to get the premium lowered or exaggerate a claim that would be otherwise legitimate.
- Hard fraud — which is not as common as soft fraud, the alleged fraudster may destroy property deliberately to collect on an insurance policy.
White Collar Crime Examples in Texas
What is a white collar crime in Texas? Here are some cases that either happened in or nearby Georgetown or involved Georgetown, San Marcos or surrounding area residents:
1. Healthcare Embezzlement
In a federal court, a Georgetown, TX resident pleaded guilty to a healthcare embezzlement charge. The 48-year-old resident, Ronald Larry Locy, pleaded guilty in front of the U.S. District Judge to one count.
Locy was the UPMC Health Plan Claims Department’s Senior Director of claims. He caused an approximate $846,819 loss for UPMC Health Plan by having them pay a couple of “ghost employees” for work and bonuses that they were not entitled to.
The law provides for a $250,000 fine, a 10-year total sentence in prison, or both.
2. Credit Card Fraud
Residents in San Marcos and Hays County have reported to the San Marcos Fire Department and Hays County Fire Chief’s Association about receiving calls and being asked by scammers to make donations for fire departments around the area, reports the San Marcos Corridor News.
These calls seem to have originated from phone numbers in Texas. These calls are deemed not legitimate and are considered a scam. Donations are never solicited by the San Marcos Fire Department by phone, and phone calls being made to residents for donations are not being placed by The Hays County Fire Chief’s Association at this time either.
San Marcos officials advise that residents should never give your credit card information out under any circumstance. Residents are urged to give the San Marcos Police Department a call if they receive any of these calls at 512-735-2108.
3. Nine Million Dollar Income Tax Return Fraud
Five people, one of whom included a Georgetown man, were arrested for a fraudulent income tax return of nine million dollars. The Georgetown man was charged by a federal grand jury of one count of conspiracy with the intent of committing mail fraud. The four other people who were Atlanta residents were also charged.
According to federal officials, the group exploited an IRS program where undocumented people are allowed to submit proof of their U.S. residency in order pay taxes. They then file their taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that is provided to them instead of using the social security number.
In this group of people was Natividad Medina, and she, along with her sisters, gathered up identification documents from individuals in Mexico to apply for ITINs and use them to fraudulently file income tax returns in Austin to the IRS center. Refund checks were then sent to them at a number of locations including some of their over 200 P.O. boxes they control.
4. Cash Cards and Utility Bills Scam
Scammers posing to be from the utility company are telling San Marcos residents to go out and buy cash cards and provide them with the card numbers. The scammers are threatening to disconnect utility services unless they send payment.
City officials advise residents who think they might have received one of these scam calls to call the Utility billing office in San Marcos at 512-393-8383 or the San Marcos police station at 512-753-2108.
Explore Your Options When Convicted of a White Collar Crime
When you’re convicted of a white collar crime, it can result in significant fines and prison time. It can also destroy your career, ruin your reputation and harm your relationships.
The IRS, FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies are investigating these crimes, and many of the crimes are prosecuted in the federal court system. Many of these types of crimes are considered felonies and are charged as such, resulting in huge fines, federal and state prison terms, probation and restitution to the victims.
Other white collar crime cases and their penalties may include removal from office, dissolution of a company, civil penalties, loss of license or permit and forfeiture of property.
When you’re facing charges for a white collar crime, you can rely on white collar defense attorneys, Mark Morales and Julie Sparks of Morales & Sparks in Texas. Both of our attorneys have a proven track record of resolving this type of legal matter successfully, and they thoroughly understand the laws that regulate white collar crimes.
At Morales & Sparks, our dedicated attorneys will investigate your white collar criminal case, let you know what your rights are and give you details about your options. Some of the white collar criminal defense options they work with the courts with include:
- Plea Bargains. This is an agreement between you and the prosecutor where you agree to plead nolo contendere (no contest) or guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence, reduced charge or to have one or more of your charges dropped.
- Non-trial Mitigation. Mitigation is where your consequence or punishment is made less severe, and you face a lesser charge.
- Dismissal of Charges. The optimal resolution you would want in your criminal case is typically a dismissal of charges where you avoid a costly and time-consuming trial. The judge, in some cases, would dismiss the charges against you as having insufficient evidence or no merit to substantiate prosecution.
If you do end up going to trial, your lawyer will represent your case aggressively. If you’re convicted, he or she will explore all your options post-trial, including sentence reduction and proper appeals.
Get Defense Help After Being Charged with a White Collar Crime in Texas
The amount of time you could potentially spend in prison if convicted of a white collar crime depends on the value of benefits or amount of money you wrongfully obtained. For example:
- If your crime is considered a Class A misdemeanor, it could result in a fine of up to $4,000 and a one year in prison maximum penalty.
- If your crime is considered a first-degree felony, you can get a $10,000 fine and up to 99 years of prison time.
If you face federal or state charges of public corruption, insurance fraud, embezzlement or another type of white collar crime, our criminal defense attorney firm in Georgetown, TX, Morales & Sparks can help you. We will investigate your case, get the facts, engage early on with prosecution, help with plea negotiations and resolve your legal case in other rigorous ways.
The goal of our criminal defense law firm in Texas is to provide you with the best outcome possible. We have years of experience going to trial and representing white collar crime cases. We know what the judges look for when it comes to evidence and the strategies that prosecutors typically use to build up this evidence against you.
As we are criminal defense lawyers, we’ll help you get the minimal charges possible or avoid conviction altogether.
If you are facing accusations of a white collar crime, seek the help of an experienced white collar defense attorney in Texas today to defend your case. Call us at (512) 930-5511 or complete our form to schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys here at Morales & Sparks.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general information and is not to be constituted as legal advice. If you need help with a specific issue, please seek the advice of an attorney.