Is Imprisonment Possible for Federal White-Collar Crimes?

 Posted on April 25, 2024 in Fraud

Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyCharacterized as crimes committed by businesspersons and politicians, a white-collar crime is a non-violent offense that generally has a financial motive. Although white-collar crimes account for only 3% of federal prosecutions, a conviction carries severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, or potentially both. 

If you are facing accusations of a white-collar crime, you need to speak with our Chicago white-collar crime defense attorney immediately.

Wire Fraud

The offense of using electronic communications to defraud someone else is known as wire fraud. To be charged at the federal level, the following elements must be satisfied:

  1. The defendant voluntarily and intentionally participated in the illegal act

  2. The defendant intended to defraud another person

  3. It was foreseeable that an interstate wire transaction would be involved

  4. Interstate wire transactions were used

If a defendant is found guilty of wire fraud, he or she could be sentenced to prison for 20 years, fined $250,000, or potentially both. Organizations can be fined as much as $500,000.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the act of making illicit money look like it came from a legitimate source. To cover up the scheme, the perpetrator will often transfer money between offshore bank accounts. 

A prime example of money laundering is seen in the popular U.S. television show Breaking Bad. The main protagonist, Walter White, starts cooking methamphetamine to cover his medical expenses following a cancer diagnosis. In an effort to make the money appear “clean,” he and his wife buy a car wash and begin integrating the drug money with the car wash’s revenue.

Money laundering can be charged under 18 U.S.C. §1956 or §1957, which both carry significant penalties. An individual may be charged under §1956 if he or she takes part in a financial transaction knowing that the funds are from an illegal source. If prosecuted, you could be sentenced to 20 years in prison, fined $500 or twice the amount of the laundered funds (whichever is greater), or both. 

If the laundered money is more than $10,000 in value, a defendant may be charged under §1957. If prosecuted, he or she may be sentenced to 10 years in prison, fined, or both.

Identity Theft

Obtaining a person’s financial information without permission to use for your own financial benefit is identity theft. Even though many cases of identity theft are prosecuted at the state level, if you are found stealing large sums of money or are targeting multiple victims, you can expect a federal charge. 

Identity theft is punishable by up to 15 years in jail and a fine, although there are circumstances in which a defendant could receive a longer sentence. For example, if the theft were committed in connection with a violent offense or drug trafficking, the defendant could receive 20 years in jail. If the theft is related to an act of terrorism, then the defendant could be imprisoned for 30 years.

No matter the specific offense you have been accused of, a Chicago white-collar crime defense attorney will work to protect your reputation. 

Speak with a Chicago, IL, White-Collar Criminal Defense Attorney

Investigated primarily by the FBI, an individual prosecuted for a federal white-collar crime will endure harsher penalties than a state-level offense. If you are up against federal charges, you need a Chicago, IL, white-collar crime defense attorney to defend your rights. To schedule your complimentary consultation, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today online or by 312-629-0669.

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