Prosecutors are often under a lot of pressure to convict people of financial crimes, particularly when investors were defrauded of significant funds. Public outcry is a powerful motivator, as is the ire of rich investors who don’t want to lose their money.
If you find out that you’re being investigated for financial crimes of any kind, you should talk to a lawyer right away. Even if you’re not sure you’re the target of an investigation, talking to a lawyer is important. The cases might take anywhere from several months to several years to be investigated well enough to bring charges against you.
Talking to a lawyer early in the process is the best thing you can do. That way, you have someone to turn to when it comes to speaking to law enforcement. Your lawyer will be able to do an audit of your financial records and any alleged criminal activity so that they can prepare a defense strategy. In addition, they will make sure that you understand your rights.
Some people have been sentenced to decades in prison because of the financial crimes they committed. In addition, it’s common for people to be ordered to pay restitution to the victims for millions of dollars. Being convicted of a financial crime can ruin your security, happiness, and future.
Types of Charges
There are a number of federal acts that define different federal financial crimes. In addition, states all have their own penal codes with their own criminal definitions. Some of the relevant legislation includes the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Securities Act of 1934.
If you are accused of investment fraud, typically that means you have used the money of your clients for your own gain. There are a lot of different charges that can cover this area. Some include accounting fraud, breach of contract, embezzlement, financing fraud, misrepresentation, insider training, and failure to supervise.
Crimes can range from things like negligence to things like willful scamming. You might not intend to commit a crime when you start out, but if you misuse the money of your clients, you could be charged with a crime regardless.
It’s also common for people to face multiple criminal charges for the same acts. In the case of financial crimes, you might be charged with things like conspiracy and mail fraud. The charges will depend on things like how you committed the crime, whether you worked with anyone else, and who you defrauded.
There are serious penalties for being convicted of a financial crime. Some people might be sentenced to 20 or more years in prison, especially if your crime was hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, you can expect to need to pay restitution. You will have to give back all of the money that you stole from the victims, even if you don’t actually have enough funds to pay up.
On top of the restitution costs, you could be charged thousands of dollars in fines. If you had any license to practice as a financial professional, you’re likely to lose it. Once you get out of prison, you will be on probation for a long period of time. That means that if you commit any other crimes or violate the specific terms of your parole, you can be sent back to prison.
Defending Against Charges
The federal government has created a Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. This is a group of agents from over twenty different agencies who work with state law enforcement to investigate and prosecute fraud. The task force indicates that maximum resources are being expended in order to obtain fraud convictions.
Your lawyer is your best defense against an investigation and potential charges. They will help you speak to law enforcement so that you don’t incriminate yourself. They will also advise you on how serious the case against you is, and on what you can do to fight the potential charges.
If you’re being prosecuted in federal court, you will want a federal defense attorney. For those being prosecuted at the state level, a California defense lawyer will help you navigate the complexities of the court.
The most prolific financial crimes have involved celebrity investors and sums of millions of dollars. But even if your actions aren’t that prolific, you should still consult with a lawyer for the best defense.