White Collar Defense

White Collar Defense

"White collar" is a generic term that refers to a variety of non-violent crimes, many of which are done on paper or digitally. White collar crimes include diverse areas like fraud and bribery to money laundering, forgery, embezzlement, and identity theft. In the past, white collar offenses received very little attention. At one time, law enforcement and prosecutors would even devote minimal attention to the investigations. That has changed, as today white collar crimes are among the most prosecuted.


Common White Collar Crimes

The following are some of the most common white collar crimes prosecuted.


Also known as petty theft or commercial burglary, shoplifting is by far one of the most commonly prosecuted crimes. law defines six specific scenarios that constitute shoplifting, including under-ringing merchandise, hiding merchandise, walking away with merchandise, and switching price tags.

White Collar Defense


An embezzlement charge is usually filed against someone who is held in trust in a business or organization, such as a payroll clerk, accountant, or bookkeeper, who steals money or property. law defines embezzlement as theft, by failing to make required disposition of received property. The law treats embezzlement as a theft offense. The penalty depends on the amount embezzled. Embezzlement of less than $200 is a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor), although embezzling more than $75,000 is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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Non-Violent Crimes

Money Laundering

Money laundering means hiding the source of property or money that is obtained illegally by channeling it through legitimate businesses. law specifies three types of conduct that constitute money laundering:

  • Possessing property a reasonable person would know was obtained illegally
  • Entering a transaction involving this property knowing the purpose was to hide the source of the property or avoid reporting requirements
  • Preventing a financial institution from filing a required report or causing an institution to file an erroneous or false report


Fraud is a general term that can apply to many offenses. Fraud is an intent to deceive or a false statement that is designed to harm someone for financial or personal gain. Some of the most common forms of fraud include embezzlement, bank fraud, insurance fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, and bankruptcy fraud.

Other examples of white collar crimes include:

  • Identity theft
  • Perjury
  • Income tax fraud
  • Extortion
  • Bribery
  • Forgery
  • Insurance fraud
  • Receiving stolen property

It is very important to seek legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney as fraud charges can mean a long prison sentence and life-long consequences.


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Being convicted of a white collar crime can carry many penalties. Along with potential jail or prison time and fines, your professional reputation may be damaged and you may have difficulty finding employment. If you are facing a charge for a white collar crime, contact the Law Office of Mark A. Bernstein today at (609) 665-3338 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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