White Collar Crimes Criminal Defense

White collar crime is a term that was first used in the 1930’s to describe nonviolent crimes that were often being pursued when more violent crimes could not be proven, involve dishonest or fraudulent business dealings. Essentially, they are financial crimes committed by individuals who may be wearing clothes with a “white collar,” hence the name. White collar crimes in California are dealt with by the Federal Government, the District Attorney’s office, and the local prosecutor’s office. There are many types of white collar crimes, such as:

  • Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Medicare Fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bribery
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Various types of fraud

Potential Punishments

Each crime caries in severity based on its specifics, but potential punishments are very severe. First time convictions for white collar crime in California may result in up to five years in prison as well as up to $150,000 in fines, not including paying back victims. Additional punishments may include:

  • Home detention
  • Community confinement
  • Forfeitures

Cooperating with authorities and obtaining expert legal support can make a big difference in the punishments that are agreed upon.

Common White Collar Crimes

Though there are many ways business people fraudulently acquire money, there are some that are more common than others.

Medicare Fraud

Medicare fraud is often accomplished by hospital personnel wishing to squeeze more money out of the insurance company. This often involves claiming more tests or medical procedures were done than what the doctor actually did and then asking Medicare to cover their portion. Doctors may also claim a more expensive procedure was done so they can receive higher reimbursement from the insurance company.

Another way Medicare fraud is accomplished is for medical product providers to offer kickbacks for patients who try a “free” product or go to a “free” exam. The product provider bills Medicare as if it were a sold product or exam and then gives a portion of this to the patient.

Yet another way people commit Medicare fraud is to allow other patients to use their Medicare ID numbers. This means people that don’t have Medicare are allowed to bill for services they receive. Sometimes Medicare ID numbers are actually stolen and used to bill for medical procedures that were never done.


This is the most common form of white collar crime, likely because its definition is so broad. Embezzlement is when a person in a position of power over someone else’s property takes it as their own. This is very similar to stealing but is nuanced because the property was legally in the embezzler’s possession, but then taken illegally.

Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud

Using misleading, false, or deceptive information in real estate and mortgage dealings have serious consequences on the victims, and potentially an entire country. America’s most significant economic turmoil since the Great Depression occurred due to improper housing loans being granted to individuals that couldn’t afford them.

Since this dramatic flop in the housing market occurred, the state and federal governments have initiated a major investigation into the details of what caused the disruption. It’s likely that these schemes involved many individuals at many companies, including mortgage brokers, lenders, real estate agents, attorneys, adjusters, etc.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is often perpetrated by a supposed victim of a car accident or faulty product. It’s a common trope in TV and movies that a person who is quite well puts on a neck brace and crutches to appear in court. With the internet allowing individuals to post dashcam videos, perhaps you have seen footage of a person purposefully jumping onto the hood of an oncoming car. These actions are an attempt to garner more money from an insurance company than they actually require for valid reasons, such as medical bills.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

There are several legal defenses for individuals that have been accused of white collar crimes. Individuals accused of white collar crimes go through the same processes and have the same rights as a person accused of any other crime. White collar crimes are often subject to much more complex laws. It’s important to have someone who understands the details of these laws and who is experienced in legal proceedings to walk you through the difficult and stressful event of legal action. Very often, white collar crimes are settled out of court. This means that the individual accused of committing a white collar crime does not have to go in front of a judge or sit through months of proceedings, but instead pays a fine and often doesn’t have to admit guilt.

This is a very delicate process that requires skilled negotiation and knowledge of the law, and thus any accused party would do well to hire a skilled attorney for these proceedings.

Rose Law APC

1500 Palma Drive
Ventura, CA 93003

Tel: (805) 512-9510
Fax: (805) 830-0443


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California Criminal Defense & DUI Defense Lawyers