People from all walks of life can wind up accused of a white collar crime, from a mom trying to make ends meet to an executive at a massive corporation. These offenses are legally complicated and often highly emotional, with the public quick to judge someone accused of embezzlement, fraud or money laundering.
There is a lot on the line in these cases, especially if they are charged as federal crimes.
State versus federal charges
State criminal charges include those that violate state laws; federal crimes violate the United States Code and could put the national interest at stake.
Other differences between state and federal crimes can include:
- Longer jail or prison sentences for federal offenses
- Prosecutions happen in U.S. district courts for federal charges
- Investigations by agencies like the FBI, CIA and DEA for federal offenses (who typically have more resources at their disposal than state agencies)
- Harsher mandatory minimums for many federal crimes
In other words, federal cases can be more aggressive and complicated than state cases. Individuals accused of a federal crime can be dealing with powerful prosecutors, national publicity and intimidating interactions with government agencies.
DOJ committed to being tougher on white collar crimes
Some of the most common federal offenses are white collar crimes. Thus, someone accused of tax evasion, embezzlement or another economic violation could very well be looking at going through the federal court system.
And according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Justice, the federal government is more determined than it has been in previous years when it comes to punishing individuals accused of corporate misconduct.
The department plans to focus its efforts on:
- Increasing its reporting requirements for corporations to get credit for cooperating in an investigation
- Reinstating corporate monitors
- Expanding the types of misconduct prosecutors take into account when considering settlements
What does this mean for individuals?
White collar crimes are already among the most complex federal offenses. This increased focus on holding parties accountable will likely only make prosecutors and government agencies more determined to build a case against someone accused of wrongdoing.
With so much at stake in these situations, individuals in Oklahoma should take every allegation of a financial crime seriously.