White Collar CrimesYour Case Is Our Mission
Goldsboro White Collar Crime Lawyer
Assertive and Highly Experienced Representation to Protect Your Rights
White collar crimes are some of the most serious criminal offenses governed by both state law and federal law. Financial crimes like embezzlement, money laundering, and wire fraud could lead to consequences that last long into the future. Our lawyers at Strickland Agner Pittman are deeply informed of state and federal white collar crime laws and can help you strategize a strong defense against your accusations. We will take all the aggression out on the other side and make sure your rights as a defendant are being respected and that your hard-earned assets remain with you. If you are being investigated for a white collar crime, do not hesitate to contact our firm immediately.
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What Is a White Collar Crime?
White collar crimes are non-violent criminal offenses involving financial deception or gain, primarily benefiting financially at the expense of someone else. White collar offenses are serious crimes in North Carolina and can also be charged under federal laws, depending on the severity of the crime and the parties involved. For instance, financial fraud against a government agency may be charged at the federal level.
Most white collar crimes are felonies. Some common examples include:
- Tax fraud or tax evasion
- Money laundering
- Wire fraud
- Mail fraud
- Identity theft
Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion in North Carolina
Tax fraud is when an individual or business entity willfully and intentionally falsifies information on a tax return to limit their tax liability. For example, tax fraud could be claiming false deductions, marking personal expenses as business expenses, and not reporting your true income. Similarly, tax evasion is illegally and deliberately avoiding payment of the taxes you owe.
Willfully failing to pay taxes is a federal offense according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code. States also implement their own state tax codes and penalties, and in North Carolina, tax evasion and tax fraud are penalized by the following amounts:
- 50% of your unpaid tax bill if you fail to pay your taxes entirely
- A monthly penalty of 5% of your unpaid taxes for not filing by the original due date
- 10% late payment penalty
- A 20% collection assistance fee on any tax, penalty, and interest you have not paid within 90 days of your debt becoming collectible
While tax crimes are severely punished, the IRS also recognizes that mistakes happen. If you have performed a simple error on your tax return by accident, you are not liable for tax evasion. In order for a crime to have been committed, the IRS must find that you deliberately or intentionally underpaid your taxes. An innocent mistake will not subject you to criminal penalties, though you may face administrative late fees.
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Another common white collar crime is embezzlement, which occurs when you take money or property that belongs to someone else with the intention of depriving that person of the use of that property. North Carolina penalizes embezzlement based on the value of the funds or property allegedly embezzled and the relationship between the embezzler and the original owner of the property:
- Embezzlement by employees, clerks, officers or agents of a corporation, etc. is a Class H felony if the value embezzled is less than $100,000 and a Class C felony if it is $100,000 or more.
- Embezzlement by treasurers of charitable organizations is a Class H felony if the value embezzled is less than $100,000 and a Class C felony if it is equal to $100,000 or more.
- Embezzlement by railroad officers is a Class F felony if the value embezzled is under $100,000 and a Class C felony if it is $100,000 or more.
- Embezzlement by public employees, such as city and state government workers, and public officials is a Class F felony if the value embezzled is under $100,000 and a Class C felony if the value is $100,000 or more.
A Class H felony is punishable by 5-6 months in prison or community punishment; a Class C felony is punishable by 58-73 months in prison; and a Class F felony is punishable by 13-16 months in prison. Upon conviction, you may also be required to pay “restitution,” or the value of the funds you allegedly embezzled.
Embezzlement may also be charged at the federal level if the offense involves the embezzlement of government funds or property by a government employee. Federal embezzlement charges similarly depend on the circumstances of the offense and the value of the funds or property embezzled. If more than $1,000 is embezzled, the federal felony is punishable by a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison; if $1,000 or less is embezzled, the federal misdemeanor is punishable by a $100,000 fine and up to one year in prison. In both cases, you will also be required to pay restitution for the amount embezzled.
If you are under investigation for a white collar crime of any degree, it is critical that you consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Our legal team at Strickland Agner Pittman can take a closer look at your case and explain your defense options, whether your case goes to state court or federal court.