People who are in positions of public trust have a significant responsibility to care for the finances of those under their control. This includes both private citizens who are empowered to control the money of others, as well as public figures and elected officials. In every situation, these parties must only use the money under their control for the intended purpose and must act in good faith to protect the interests of others.
Sadly, law enforcement and prosecutors may not believe that you have adhered to this obligation. This could result in criminal charges that allege many forms of white-collar crimes. These are serious allegations that could have a profound impact on your freedom and professional life. Your best option is to connect with a skilled attorney. A Greenville white-collar defense lawyer could help you mount effective defenses against these charges and protect your rights in court.
In general, a white-collar crime describes an incident that affects the public welfare or finances of others. Perhaps the simplest example is that of embezzlement of public funds under South Carolina Code § 16-13-210. Under this statute, police officers and prosecutors may allege that a person who had authority to hold public money used that money in an improper manner. This can include elected officials and public employees who have access to accounts. It is also possible for private citizens to face accusations of similar conduct. S.C. Code § 16-13-230 creates the offense of breach of trust with fraudulent intent. Under this law, prosecutors may attempt to hold an accountant, money manager, or attorney liable for the apparent misuse of client funds.
White-collar accusations can also involve behavior that appears to breach the public trust, which applies mainly to elected officials. A classic example is the acceptance of a bribe under S.C. Code § 16-9-220. Because elected officials should be free to represent the interests of the constituents on an even playing field, accepting cash or anything of value with the understanding that it will change a person’s vote or opinion is a violation of the law. A Greenville white-collar defense attorney could provide more information about the specific criminal accusations that an individual is facing.
White-collar crimes are exactly like every other criminal accusation in Greenville. This means that they fall into two main categories. Many of them are misdemeanors, which means that a conviction can result in a jail sentence of no more than three years and the issuance of a fine of up to $5,000. More serious accusations are felonies. With felonies, the court is likely to impose a prison sentence upon conviction and has the broad authority to issue fines of higher values.
Where white-collar crimes can differ from other criminal cases is in the concept of restitution. If an offense involves the alleged theft of client funds or public money, part of a sentence may involve paying back these funds with interest.
The potential penalties for a white-collar crime conviction will vary on a case-by-case basis. A Greenville white-collar defense lawyer could help individuals determine the possible consequences in their specific cases and formulate defenses to help avoid these outcomes.
Every moment following an arrest for a white-collar crime is critical. Not only do these cases come with the potential for harsh penalties upon conviction but they may also affect your image in the public eye. It is important that you act quickly to regain control of the situation.
A Greenville white-collar defense lawyer could provide this assistance. We work by your side to defeat the prosecutor’s case while taking the necessary steps to protect your reputation in the community. Give us a call now to get started.