Due to the technical aspects of piecing together a prosecution, white collar cases have the ability to move slower than other types of criminal cases. Sometimes, the identity of the perpetrator might not be immediately discernible, thus requiring the prosecution’s investigators and lawyers to sift through information and narrow down the suspect pool.
Below, a Fairfax white collar lawyer explains how white collar crimes are typically investigated and prosecuted in Fairfax, Virginia. To learn more about Fairfax white collar cases, call today and schedule a consultation.
Sometimes there are these “who done it” type of aspects of the case. The identity of the perpetrator possibly could take longer to figure out in a white collar case than a simple street robbery or a crime involving a face to face encounter with the victim which lends itself to an easier identification. Thus, in white collar cases it takes some putting the pieces together.
In fraud cases, law enforcement must determine how the fraud was conducted, who perpetrated it, and gather sufficient evidence to prove the case against the individual. In general terms, the investigation is slower and there is a lot more work as far as getting records, sorting through them, and putting the pieces together.
The case will commence with some form of a criminal complaint. A victim realizes they’ve been a victim of a fraud, forgery, or identity theft so it starts off with a report to the police that something has happened and then a case gets assigned to a detective. The detective has to sort of follow the trail on what type of case it is. If this is credit card fraud, then how did the perpetrator get a handle on this person’s credit card or this person’s credit card number?
Finding that out could require getting records from banks, video surveillance or credit card transaction records from the store, and then trying to figure out who actually used the credit card. So it depends on the case, but it’s generally pretty meticulous. It does take some time for the investigation to be thoroughly conducted ending in an arrest.
It depends on the type of crime and the scope, but it could be the FBI, IRS, local state detective bureaus, or it could be the Securities and Exchange Commission which is a federal agency. If it reaches internationally then the federal government would be involved with that. If it reaches across state lines, then the federal government will be involved in that as well. If it is just local or appears to be just local, then it would start out being investigated by the the local police department.
The investigation could transfer to federal authorities if the local investigators realize the fraud scheme reaches across multiple state jurisdictions. It would be appropriate for them to reach out to possibly the FBI for assistance and for prosecution in federal court.
As soon as someone feels like they might be under suspicion. If they are under suspicion, at some point law enforcement is going to reach out to them and so they’re going to want to be prepared with an experienced attorney representing them so they are not engaging with law enforcement by themselves. They could be potentially incriminating themselves by doing so. Therefore, as soon as they think that there might be a reason to believe that law enforcement is looking at them, it would be appropriate to seek legal counsel.
Well, it depends on the charge but they have to prove that a crime happened, that the person accused of it was the perpetrator of it, and they have to prove a criminal intent. It depends on what type of crime that they’re charged with whether it be identity theft, credit card theft, credit card fraud, or forgery.
Investigators look through various different types of evidence, through bank records, through the credit card records, store records, witness interviews, evidence obtained through a wiretap– a recording of individuals talking to each other, video evidence, or a confession.
Also, cooperation is something that you often see especially in federal court in these wider schemes. Cooperation means that federal prosecutors engage in agreements with co-defendants to cooperate to produce evidence against other people involved in the fraud scheme.
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