Federal authorities dedicate significant resources to tracking down people accused of economic crimes, and defendants are often surprised by the sentences that courts hand down for white-collar crimes.
Often, defendants assume that their sentences would be more lenient because no one was physically harmed — but that’s not how the courts see things.
Why do courts penalize economic crimes heavily?
People who would never consider a violent crime may be more likely to engage in a so-called “victimless” one against a company through fraud or embezzlement. Deterring that kind of behavior is one reason for the harsh consequences. Another reason for the severe sentences you read about is there are often other crimes bundled with the original charge.
Here are some of the additional charges which could add to accusations against you if charged with a white-collar crime:
- Resisting arrest: If authorities try to arrest you, do you not do anything they may construe as trying to resist. Accept it and demand to speak to an attorney straight away.
- Perjury: Be careful what you say in any verbal or written statement. Consult with your attorney beforehand. If you give inaccurate information, a court may decide you did so on purpose.
- Obstruction of justice: If someone on the ground floor calls to say the police are on their way up to your office, do not try to hide or destroy any evidence. Doing so could result in extra charges. Even if a court clears you of other charges, they could still punish you for obstruction.
Remember, you do not need to wait until the police arrest you for a white-collar crime to seek help. If you suspect the authorities are investigating your company, you may fear you will get caught up in their investigation, speak to an attorney early. They can advise you on the best course of action and help you understand how to avoid making your situation worse.