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What Are the Penalties for White Collar Crime?

Being charged with a crime creates extensive fear about one’s future, particularly when they face penalties that can forever alter their life. In white collar crime cases, which can encompass a range of financially motivated offenses, defendants face a number of severe criminal penalties, exposure to civil liability, and other collateral consequences that can devastate the future of themselves and their families.

Criminal Penalties

Although many have been led to believe white collar defendants get an easy ride when charged with crimes, the reality is that these fraudulent offenses are punishable by what can be extensive prison sentences – especially at the federal level. Because every case is unique, there are a number of factors that will determine the severity of one’s penalties, including:

  • The nature and scope of the crime
  • The value of property or money involved
  • The number of victims
  • Prior criminal history

These elements play a critical factor in the number and types of charges prosecutors file, potential penalties, and whether or not a defendant will be prosecuted in state or federal court. When the federal government pursues charges against an individual, they will use extensive resources to gain convictions. One should also understand that federal crimes often draw heavier penalties and sentences than similar cases in state courts due to harsh federal sentencing guidelines. It is not uncommon to see severe prison sentences in seemingly “minor” white collar crime cases such as tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud, nor are multi-year sentences for crimes like money laundering, embezzlement, wire fraud, insurance fraud, and others out of the ordinary.

Whether a case is state or federal, criminal white collar defendants typically face extensive fines, imprisonment (or a combination or two), and the various repercussions associated with felony convictions, such as a loss of one’s civil rights and right to own a firearm. While every case is different, defense strategies are often centered on securing case dismissals or drastically mitigating potential penalties and imprisonment through probation, court supervision, or significantly reduced sentences.

Future Consequences

In addition to the most immediate and pressing concerns of convictions, fines, and imprisonment, individuals convicted of white collar crimes can face additional short- and long-term setbacks. Not only do these include potential civil actions sought by the government or victims, as well as civil asset forfeiture, but also the repercussions that impact one’s reputation. Social stigma surrounding crimes of deceit or dishonesty can make finding employment difficult.

Protect Yourself and Your Future

There is nothing “easy” about being charged with a white collar crime or being sentenced to serve a term of incarceration in a state or federal prison. White collar crimes, in many cases, are serious felony and federal offenses, and they pose life-changing penalties. To protect yourself and your rights as you navigate the process ahead and work toward the most positive outcome possible, you need proven lawyers by your side.

The Hammer Law Firm, LLC is owned and operated by two former prosecutors who have extensive experience protecting the rights of criminal defendants in both state and federal courts. With years of combined experience and a background on the “other side,” our St. Louis criminal defense attorneys are prepared to fight for your future. Contact us for a free consultation.


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