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27 Nov 23

Understanding White Collar Crimes in Long Island and Available Defenses

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Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 11:03 pm

White Collar Crimes in Long Island: What You Need to Know

White collar crimes – nonviolent, financially-motivated crimes typically committed by business professionals or public officials – are on the rise in Long Island. Common charges include embezzlement, fraud, forgery, identity theft, and money laundering. While these crimes may seem harmless on the surface, they can destroy companies, ruin lives, and land people in prison for years.

If you or a loved one is facing white collar charges in Nassau or Suffolk County, it’s critical to understand the allegations, potential penalties, and legal defenses. This article breaks down everything you need to know about fighting white collar accusations in Long Island.

What Constitutes a White Collar Crime in New York?

New York law defines dozens of white collar offenses across various statutes. Some of the most commonly charged crimes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties include:

  • Embezzlement: Theft of money or property by someone entrusted with it. This includes employees stealing from employers.
  • Fraud: Deceiving someone for financial gain. Common types are insurance fraud, tax fraud, credit card fraud, and investment fraud.
  • Forgery: Creating or altering a document to defraud someone. Common examples are forged checks, contracts, titles, or IDs.
  • Identity Theft: Stealing personal information to access funds or credit.
  • Money Laundering: Hiding the source of illegally obtained money to make it appear legitimate.

Most white collar cases in Long Island fall under state law. However, federal charges may apply to large fraud schemes, interstate crimes, or offenses committed against government programs like Medicare. Federal crimes typically carry harsher punishments.

Penalties for White Collar Convictions in Long Island

In New York, most white collar convictions lead to felony charges with years behind bars. Even first-time offenders often face 1-5 years in state prison. Other potential penalties include:

  • Probation or parole
  • Fines up to $250,000
  • Restitution to victims
  • Asset forfeiture
  • Permanent criminal record

Those convicted of federal charges face 5+ years in federal prison or even decades for major frauds. Fines can exceed $1 million.

Defending Against White Collar Allegations

Fighting white collar accusations in Long Island requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. The most effective strategies include:

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Lack of Criminal Intent

For most white collar charges, prosecutors must prove you knowingly and intentionally meant to defraud or deceive the victim. Your attorney can argue you acted in good faith without criminal intent. Common examples include:

  • For embezzlement, you borrowed funds with intent to repay them.
  • For fraud, you did not realize the documents contained false statements.
  • For money laundering, you did not realize the money came from illegal sources.

Your lawyer may also deploy expert witnesses to demonstrate why you reasonably believed your conduct was lawful.

Improper or Insufficient Evidence

Prosecutors often move forward based on limited evidence that does not definitively prove criminal conduct. Skilled attorneys exploit sloppy investigations by challenging:

  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Hearsay statements
  • Incomplete documents
  • Faulty forensic analysis

By undermining the quality of evidence, your lawyer can show reasonable doubt regarding your guilt.

Procedural Violations

If police or investigators violated your rights when gathering evidence, your attorney can file a suppression motion to have that evidence excluded. Common examples include:

  • Violating your 5th amendment right against self-incrimination during questioning
  • Searching property without a valid warrant
  • Seizing devices or documents beyond the scope of a warrant

Suppressing illegally obtained evidence can collapse the prosecutor’s entire case.

Negotiating Alternatives to Conviction

Even if the evidence appears strong, experienced lawyers can often negotiate favorable plea bargains or pre-trial diversion programs as alternatives to conviction. Common options include:

  • Pleading to reduced misdemeanor charges
  • Entering pre-trial intervention programs with eventual dismissal of charges
  • Agreeing to probation and restitution while avoiding prison

By leveraging their relationships with judges and prosecutors, skilled attorneys can place many clients in second chance programs instead of behind bars.

Take Immediate Action

If you are dealing with white collar allegations in Long Island, meet with a defense lawyer today. An prompt response maximizes options for defending your case. Do not wait to get ahead of the charges.

The attorneys at Long Island White Collar Defense Firm have over 20 years successfully defending complex fraud accusations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Contact us 24/7 for a free case evaluation.