White Collar Crime
If you have been charged in Houston with theft, writing bad checks, fraud, identity theft, money laundering, bribery, illegal gambling, embezzlement or any other kind of white collar crime, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. White collar crimes usually involve criminal activities committed by people in the regular course of their business. While these crimes may seem less serious than violent criminal offenses and their respective punishment less severe, do not take the criminal charges lightly. The district attorney’s office will work just as hard to prosecute you for a white collar offense.
If you are facing charges in Harris County for a white collar crime, your future depends on the decisions you make today. If convicted, you could face severe punishments and penalties for both felony and misdemeanor white collar crimes, including a criminal record, prison or jail sentence and large fines.
Whether you are charged with a white collar crime in Harris County or a surrounding county, the prosecutor still has the burden to prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the criminal defense attorney’s job to craft your best defense and work hard to prevent the prosecution from meeting their burden of proof.
Houston White Collar Crime Lawyer
If you have been charged with a white collar crime in Harris County or the surrounding counties of Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Brazoria County and Waller County, contact the law offices of James G. Sullivan and Associates for a free consultation at (281) 546-6428.
White Collar Criminal Offenses in Texas
White collar crime refers to financially motivated nonviolent crime usually committed by business and government professionals. These crimes involve deception, manipulation, concealment or breach of trust. The victims of white collar crimes frequently do not realize a crime has been committed against them until months and sometimes even years later.
White collar crimes are usually considered nonviolent and illegal activities that involve deceit, manipulation, breach of trust or concealment. Often the victims of white collar crimes have been so minimally affected they don’t even realize a crime has been committed against them. The following are some of the more common white collar crimes–
FORGERY – a person can be charged with forgery under Texas Penal Code § 32.21 if he alters, makes, completes, executes or authenticates a writing with the intent to defraud or harm another person. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, this offense is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, state jail felony or felony of the third degree.
CREDIT CARD ABUSE – a person can be charged with credit card abuse under Texas Penal Code § 32.31 if he:
- Presents a credit or debit card with the intent to obtain some benefit fraudulently, knowing the card was not his and without the consent of the owner,
- Presents a credit or debit card with the intent to obtain some benefit knowing the card was expired or had been revoked or cancelled,
- Uses a fake credit or debit card or fake credit or debit card number with the intent to obtain a benefit,
- Receives a benefit he knows was from credit card fraud,
- Steals a credit or debit card,
- Receives knowingly a stolen credit or debit card with the intent to use it, sell it, or give it to another person who is not the actual owner,
- Buys a credit or debit card from a person he knows is not the issuer of the card,
- Sells a credit or debit card and is not the issuer of the card,Uses or induces the cardholder to use the cardholder’s credit or debit card to obtain property or service for his own benefit which the cardholder is financially unable to pay,
- Possesses a credit or debit card with the intent to use it when he is not the owner and does not have the owner’s consent, and/or
- Possesses two or more incomplete credit or debit cards that have not been issued to him with the intent to complete the cards without the issuer’s consent.
This offense is usually punishable as a state jail felony; however, it is punishable as a third degree felony when it is committed against an elderly individual.
IDENTITY THEFT – a person can be charged with identity theft under Texas Penal Code § 32.51 if he obtains, possesses, transfers or uses an item of the following with the intent to harm or defraud another person–
- Identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent,
- A deceased person’s information that would be identifying information if that person were alive, and/or
- Identifying information of a child younger than 18 years of age.
Based on the items of information obtained, possessed, transferred or used, this offense ranges from a state jail felony to a first degree felony.
MONEY LAUNDERING — A person can be charged with money laundering under Texas Penal Code § 34.02 if he knowingly:
- Acquires or maintains an interest in, conceals, possesses, transfers or transports the proceeds of criminal activity;
- Conducts, supervises or facilitates a transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity;
- Invests, expends, receives, or offers to invest, expend or receive the proceeds of criminal activity or funds the person believes are the proceeds of criminal activity; or
- Finances or invests, or intends to finance or invest funds the person believes are intended to further the commission of criminal activity.
Based on the value of the funds, this offense ranges from a state jail felony to a first degree felony.
INSURANCE FRAUD – a person can be charged with insurance fraud under Texas Penal Code § 35.02 if he commits an act in support of a claim for payment under an insurance policy with the intent to defraud or deceive an insurer. Depending on the value of the claim, the punishment range for this offense is from a Class C misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree.
BRIBERY – a person can be charged with bribery under Texas Penal Code § 36.02 if he offers, gives, or agrees to give to another, or requests, accepts, or agrees to accept from another:
- Any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official, or voter;
- Any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, vote, recommendation, or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding;
- Any benefit as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed by law on a public servant or party official; or
- Any benefit that is a political contribution or expenditure if the benefit was offered, given, requested, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit.
The offense is punishable as a second degree felony.
Punishment for White Collar Crime in Texas
The punishments and penalties associated with white collar crimes are listed in Texas Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. However, a person may receive a more severe punishment depending on the type of white collar crime he committed and whether he has a criminal record.
A class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine up to $500.
A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000, a jail sentence of up to 180 days, or both.
A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000, a jail sentence of up to one year, or both.
A state jail felony is punishable by a state jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
A felony of the third degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
A felony of the second degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
A felony of the first degree is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 99 years or life and a fine up to $10,000.
Contact the law office of James G. Sullivan and Associates at (281) 546-6428 for a free phone consultation about your white collar crime charges in the Greater Houston area. James Sullivan is an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer who will work hard and strive to get you the best result.
James Sullivan graduated from the Trial Lawyers College founded by legendary lawyer Gerry Spence and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers, an organization composed of reputable trial lawyers. Sullivan has a proven record of defending people from all walks of life, faiths and countries in courts throughout Texas.
Contact Attorney James Sullivan if you have been charged with a white collar crime in Houston, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Cypress, Katy, Spring, Pasadena, Conroe, The Woodlands, Richmond, Sugar Land, Hempstead, Liberty, Pearland or Angleton.