Types of White Collar Crime
Some of the most common white collar crime charges our Charlotte criminal lawyers see include:
- Embezzlement (NCGS 14-90 – 99): Embezzlement occurs when someone who is in a position of trust misappropriates the funds or property of an individual or business through the advantages of their position. You may be charged with embezzlement if you hold public office, if you are a fiduciary, if you are an officer or agent of a corporation, or if you are an officer in a religious or charitable organization. The value of the money or property you allegedly embezzled will determine the felony charge against you.
- Fraud: North Carolina law includes several fraud offenses. These rely on the fact that you lied, deceived, or utilized misrepresentations to obtain a benefit you did not lawfully earn or deserve. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with Medicaid or Medicare fraud, mortgage fraud (NCGS 14-118.12), financial identity fraud (NCGS 14-113.20 – 113.29), credit card fraud (NCGS 14-113.13), or another crime based on the intent to defraud. Fraud offenses are typically charged as felonies.
- Identity Theft (NCGS 14-113.20): You may be charged with identity theft, which is a felony, if you knowingly obtain, possess, or use another person’s identifying information, whether that person is alive or dead, with the intent to defraud and obtain something of value, benefit, or advantage. Identifying information includes but is not limited to another person’s Social Security Number, driver’s license, passport number, bank account numbers, credit or debit card numbers, PINs, fingerprints, and passwords.
- Extortion (NCGS 14-118.4): Extortion is the crime of threatening or communicating threats to another person with the intention of wrongfully obtaining anything of value or of gaining advantage or immunity. Extortion is a Class F felony.
- Forgery (NCGS 14-119 – 125): There are various forgery crimes under North Carolina law, including forgery of notes, checks, and other securities; forgeries of deeds and wills; forgery of a financial transaction card; forging stock certificates; and forging names. A forged document or monetary instrument may be completely counterfeit or unlawfully and inaccurately completed. Forgery is typically charged as a felony, the class of which depends on the exact offense.
- Money Laundering (NCGS 75D-1 – 14): You may be charged with money laundering under North Carolina’s Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Money laundering can include a wide range of activity, from falsifying transactions to make illegally obtained money look legitimate to actions taken to prevent declaring illegally obtained funds under state or federal reporting requirements.
White Collar Crime Punishments
White collar crimes are typically charged as felonies in North Carolina, which uses a complex grid to determine criminal penalties. The rows of the grid are based on the class of the felony, including classes A, B1, B2, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I. A Class I felony is the least serious while a Class A felony is the most serious. The columns of the grid are your prior record level, including levels I through VI, which are determined by points assigned based on your criminal record:
- Level I: 0-1 points
- Level II: 2-5 points
- Level III: 6-9 points
- Level IV: 10-13 points
- Level V: 14-17 points
- Level VI: 18 or more points
You should speak with a white collar crime attorney to determine the class of the felony and your prior record level. The higher the record level, the greater your potential punishment. For example, extortion is a Class F felony. If this is a first-time offense, you are in Level I. You may be sentenced to between 10 and 20 months of incarceration. Your presumptive sentence is between 13 and 16 months. However, if you have a moderate criminal record that places you in Level III, then you face between 13 and 27 months in prison, with a presumptive sentence of 17 to 21 months. If you are placed in the highest Level VI, then your term of incarceration may be between 20 and 41 months, with a presumptive range of 26 to 33 months. You will face a penalty higher than the maximum of the presumptive range when there are aggravating factors present in your case.
The presumptive range for all felonies, including all prior record levels, are:
- Class A Felony: Life without parole or death
- Class B1 Felony: 192-483 months
- Class B2 Felony: 125-314 months
- Class C Felony: 58-146 months
- Class D Felony: 51-128 months
- Class E Felony: 20-50 months
- Class F Felony: 13-33 months
- Class G Felony: 10-25 months
- Class H Felony: 5-20 months
- Class I Felony: 4-10 months
Defending Against White Collar Crimes
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we offer highly experienced and aggressive white collar criminal defense. No matter the specific offense or the felony class, we are here to help. We will independently investigate the accusations against you. We will review countless documents and other materials to gauge the evidence against you and gather evidence to support your defense. We will also advise you on what we believe to be the best course of action and your strongest defense.
Potential defenses to white collar crimes include:
- Lack of necessary criminal intent
- Mistake of identity
- Legitimate business transactions
- Insufficient evidence
- Coercion or duress
Let a White Collar Crime Attorney Help You
If you’re facing the criminal justice process, hiring an experienced defense attorney from Randall & Stump, PLLC benefits you in many ways. Before charges are filed, a lawyer is essential in protecting your rights. With a lawyer by your side, you will not be pressured into answering questions by the police. There is less of a risk of you saying the wrong thing and accidentally incriminating yourself. If charges are brought, your lawyer may strive to have them dropped, dismissed, or reduced.
If prosecutors move forward with the case, then your attorney will strategize the best ways to fight for an acquittal in court, and if necessary, mitigate the consequences of a conviction. This strategy may include fighting against the admittance of certain evidence. Limiting the prosecution’s evidence can support a defense based on insufficient evidence to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Our goal will always be to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Depending on the circumstances, we may recommend fighting at trial or negotiating a plea agreement. Whatever the situation, we will effectively guide you through the criminal court process from start to finish.