White-collar crimes take many forms, and such illegal activities could inflict financial devastation on victims. Someone targeted in a phishing scheme may lose thousands of dollars, while a Texas resident targeted by an investment fraudster might lose all their life savings. A recent statement from the Department of Justice indicates the agency intends to step up prosecutions of white-collar criminals.
A statement from the DOJ
As noted by attorney general Merrick Garland, the Biden administration intends to direct efforts toward prosecuting various white-collar crime cases. Garland spoke at the ABA Institute on White Collar Crime and revealed a new directive to address criminal prosecutions of individuals and corporations guilty of corporate and environmental-related crimes. Environmental crimes could include companies involved in poor regulation compliance, illegal dumping, and more.
Corporate crime reflects an umbrella term that may refer to fraud, false advertising, and more. The penalties might range on various offenses based on their severity.
Facing charges for white-collar crimes
While the DOJ might seek to serve the public good by prosecuting white-collar crimes, an aggressive attitude could lead to overzealous charging. Someone may face an indictment on weak evidence or even a misunderstanding. Sometimes, civil negligence could be mistaken for criminal fraud.
Overzealous investigations may lead to violations of a suspect’s constitutional rights. Not procuring necessary warrants or acquiring evidence illegally would be examples of violations. Coercing witnesses to make false statements is another.
Criminal cases require the prosecutor to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. When unable to do so, the prosecutor may find the jury acquits. In some cases, the evidence could lead the defendant to enter into a plea bargain and avoid a risky jury trial.