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What Makes A White-Collar Crime A Federal Offense?

October 25, 2022

White-collar crimes are offenses against the law that involve non-violent crimes. These offenses usually involve financial transactions by those in a position of trust. The term ‘white collar’ came about because the accused usually were well-dressed people with white collars.

If you have been accused of a white-collar crime in Chicago, you should know that these offenses are aggressively pursued by Illinois state and federal prosecutors. Many white-collar crimes are charged as federal crimes with long prison sentences. Find out in this article what makes a white-collar crime a federal offense. If you have questions, the white-collar crime attorneys at Glozman Law can help you.

What Are White Collar Crimes Under Illinois Law?

All white-collar crime investigations are detailed, lengthy, and complex. Many white-collar crime investigations start with one suspect under the microscope. But as facts are collected, the focus of the investigation may shift. These crimes often have many moving parts and several people can be involved.

Illinois State Statute 720 ILCS 5/33 lays out what white-collar crimes are in Illinois. They include:

When Is A White-Collar Crime A Federal Offense?

If you have violated the laws of Illinois with a white-collar crime, you will be tried in state court. However, if you break a federal statute, you could face federal charges. State and federal charges can overlap, and it is critical to call in a Chicago white-collar crime attorney right away to safeguard your rights.

Example Of A Federal White-Collar Crime

Commissions fraud is a perfect example of a white-collar crime that can be a federal offense. Several federal laws dictate how you can buy or sell financial commodities. So, if you engage in fraud that causes others to experience commodities loss, this would be a federal crime.

Another good example of a federal white-collar crime is embezzlement by a stockbroker. This would be a federal crime because the US government regulates broker crimes. Brokers usually must hold a certificate or license issued by the US government to be a broker. So if you are in this job classification and embezzle funds from your client, it is probably a federal crime.

Ponzi schemes also may be considered a federal offense. A Ponzi scheme is where you get victims to invest funds for a large, often guaranteed, financial return. However, the financial returns are usually unrealistic. The schemer usually takes the money from one investor and pays the other investor the money, making them think they are making significant gains. Then, the entire scheme collapses if the scammer cannot keep enough new money coming in.

One of the most famous Ponzi schemes was run by Bernie Madoff, an American financier. He defrauded thousands of billions of dollars over at least 17 years. Madoff’s scheme had unrealistically high returns in down markets, but he was highly respected on Wall Street, so people did not ask questions.

Madoff would deposit millions of investor dollars in a Manhattan bank and let it sit there. When clients wanted to cash out, he funded the payouts with new investment dollars. Unfortunately, many investors cashed in their investments during the financial panic, and Madoff could no longer pay.

Being Charged With State And Federal Crimes

You could be charged with state and federal white-collar crimes simultaneously. This can happen if your crimes violate state and federal laws. To be charged at the state and federal level, you must have committed a specific violation of state and federal statutes. For example, money laundering and embezzlement can be charged at both the state and federal levels.

However, even if you violate state and federal statutes, you may not be charged for both. For instance, if the Illinois State Police find out you are committing a white-collar crime in their area, the district attorney may call a federal investigator. If the district attorney’s contact in the federal government believes the offense is federal and state, the US government may prosecute. Also, a federal crime can be prosecuted if the alleged illegal activity crossed state lines.

Furthermore, white-collar criminal cases may involve complex financial schemes. It can cost a lot of money for the state to investigate these complex crimes. The US government usually as more resources at its disposal with the FBI and other federal departments. So, the US government may take the case if it thinks the Illinois state government does not have the money to prosecute the accused effectively.

Federal prosecutors are often more selective in the white-collar crime cases they choose. There are fewer US prosecutors than state prosecutors. So, the US government tends to focus on crimes involving money or notoriety.

Possible Penalties For White-Collar Crimes

Penalties for white-collar crime convictions are brutal. This is especially true if you were convicted of a similar crime before, or you defrauded a government agency or a person out of large amounts of money.

Penalties depend on whether you were convicted at the state or federal level. Federal sentences are usually more severe. For example, if you are convicted of a white-collar crime, you can be imprisoned for six months to 30 years. Fines can be from the thousands to $1 million.

Contact Chicago White Collar Crime Attorneys Today

Being convicted of a federal white-collar crime can have a devastating impact on your life. Not only are you looking at years in federal prison. In addition, you will have a permanent felony record. This makes it difficult to get a job, obtain a mortgage, travel abroad, vote, attend school, and much more.  That is why you need an aggressive and skilled white-collar crime tirelessly advocating for your rights from day one.

The Law Offices of Vadim Glozman represent people accused of white-collar crimes in Chicago, Aurora, Naperville, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Evanston, Oak Brook, and Palatine. Our attorneys will work hard to fight your white-collar crime charge and protect your civil rights. Contact our Chicago white-collar crime attorneys now at (312) 726-9015.