White collar crimes encompass a variety of offenses, all of which have a financial component and many of which carry extremely serious penalties in Tennessee.
Often, individuals accused of fraud and white-collar crimes work in positions with access to sensitive financial information, such as management and accounting. The circumstances involved in these matters are often complex and must be thoroughly investigated.
At Houston & Alexander, PLLC, we have extensive experience of successfully defending against a broad range of fraud and white-collar criminal charges, related to:
- Fraud – including health care, Medicare, banking records, investments and mortgages
- Embezzlement – involving financial assets and property
- Money laundering – involving other criminal acts and tax evasion
- Racketeering – involving profiting from dishonest business practices
- Identity theft – involving Social Security numbers, financial and healthcare records
Fraud-related crimes generally relate to financial gain from illegal and/or dishonest business practices.
People occupying roles within a business setting are often entrusted with certain information that, if used inappropriately, can lead to a white-collar crime occurring.
Typical examples that we encounter in Chattanooga include:
- Tax evasion/fraud
- Bank or securities fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Mail or wire fraud
- Making false statements
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Computer or identity theft fraud
- Money laundering
- Insurance fraud
Fraud is treated seriously in Tennessee. A conviction for any white-collar crime in the state can lead to jail time, fines, and restitution.
If you are accused of engaging in certain types of fraud, you may also be liable for federal charges. Penalties in these cases are higher than in state-prosecuted cases.
Within the wide scope of fraud crimes, there are many different “levels”, depending on the amounts of money involved, who was defrauded, the position of trust held by the fraudster, the number of victims involved, and the location(s) of the crime. Past criminal history is also a major factor in determining the severity of the penalty.
For a conviction for federal fraud, you could face the following penalties:
- From six months in jail to up to 30 years in federal prison
- Fines from $2,500 to $25,000 per violation
- Payment of restitution to victims of the fraudulent activity
With state-level convictions, there is also a wide variety of possible sentences open to the Tennessee justice system, depending on the level of fraud. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines may be used to determine the penalty.
If the amount involved is under $1,000, this is generally prosecuted as a Class A fraud misdemeanor, which can mean a sentence of 11 months and 29 days or less in jail and total fines of no more than $2,500. Probation is possible for state-level offenses.
Other white-collar crimes in Tennessee may be charged as felonies. For instance,
- A Class E felony for $1,000-$2,500: a prison term of one to six years and a $3,000 fine
- A Class B felony for $60,000 or more: a prison sentence of 8-30 years and a fine of up to $25,000
Restitution may also be payable to the victims of such crimes.
As always, the skills and persuasive powers of your lawyer will be important for making sentencing options available to you if you are convicted.