If you or someone you know has been charged with a white collar crime, contact Chicago white collar crimes attorney Gus Kostopoulos immediately to protect your rights. Gus is a former prosecutor with over 18 years experience. Gus and his team at Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC have in-depth knowledge of these intricate laws which, when paired with our years of legal experience, has allowed us to successfully defend clients charged with white collar crimes. To learn more about how our experienced white collar crime attorneys may be able to help you, contact us today.
What is White Collar Crime?
White collar crime is a general term which refers to a number of (typically) non-violent, financially motivated crimes. These crimes are generally committed by people in positions of power, who have access to sensitive financial accounts, or who have fiduciary responsibilities to others.
The term “white collar” is derived from the class of worker typically associated with these crimes, rather than “blue collar,” which is typically associated with other types of crime. White collar crimes are not victimless crimes and can have devastating consequences for those affected. As a result, Illinois imposes severe penalties for individuals convicted of white collar crimes. Conviction of a white collar crime in Illinois can have devastating effects on your ability to enjoy freedoms and privileges. Future employers, landlords, or lenders who run a background check will likely see your conviction and may choose not to work with you.
White Collar Crime Laws
Illinois has a host of laws on the books that can be categorized as “white collar.” Some of the most commonly charged white collar crimes include:
Bribery [720 ILCS 5/33-1]
Bribery is a charge many in Illinois are very familiar with, as two state governors have served jail time as punishment for the crime. Under Illinois law, it is unlawful to both provide and accept bribes. In Illinois, a person is guilty of bribery if he or she:
- Promises to give personal property or an advantage with the intent to influence the performance or function of a public officer, public employee, juror, or witness;
- Unlawfully receives, retains, or agrees to accept any property or advantage with the knowledge it is being received with the purpose of influencing or altering an act related to the employment or function of a public officer, public employee, juror, or witness; or
- Solicits receives, retains, or agrees to accept property or advantage with the understanding that he or she will improperly influence or attempt to influence the performance of any act or function of a public officer, public employee, juror, or witness.
Insurance Fraud [720 ILCS 5/17-10.5]
Insurance fraud is the act of knowingly, attempting, or causing to obtain control over the property of an insurance property by deception through false claims with the intent to deprive the insurance company of its property. Actually receiving insurance benefits is not required for a conviction of insurance fraud.
Forgery is a fairly well-known crime, perhaps because of its prevalence in movies and entertainment. The crime is, however, quite more extensive than many understand. In Illinois, a person may be charged with the crime of forgery if he or she knowingly, and with the intent to defraud:
- Makes a false document or alters a document to make it false;
- Issues or delivers such document knowing it to be false;
- Possesses, with the intent to deliver, such a document knowing it has been altered;
- Unlawfully uses the digital signature of another; or
- Unlawfully uses the signature device of another to create an electronic signature of that person.
Money Laundering [720 ILCS 5/29B-1]
It is illegal to knowingly filter illegally obtained money through a series of legitimate transactions in an attempt to hide the original “dirty” source.
Illinois criminalizes many behaviors which are simply variations of fraud or theft. These are crimes that are typically committed with the intent to deprive another person of intimate property or money. Some commonly charged white collar crimes of fraud and theft include:
Embezzlement [720 ILCS 5/16-1]
Embezzlement is a form of theft and charges can be pursued by both the state and federal governments, depending on the facts of the specific case. It is defined as the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person who is entrusted to protect it. Embezzlement is, therefore, slightly different than the traditional crime of theft because it requires an element of trust in protecting the property, whereas theft does not.
Identity Theft [720 ILCS 5/16-30]
Identity theft is a crime which affects thousands of people each year. In Illinois, a person may be charged with identity theft if they knowingly and purposefully obtains, sells, transfers, manufactures, or otherwise uses the personal data of another person without consent or knowledge of the other person. Personal data may include social security numbers, birth dates, bank account information, credit card numbers, and addresses.
Check Fraud [720 ILCS 5/17-1]
Check fraud is a broad term which refers to many financially-deceptive behaviors. Deceptive behavior is defined as:
- Forcing another – through deception or threat – to create a monetary obligation;
- Being an officer or other person in a position of trust at an insolvent financial institution while knowingly receiving or permitting to be received a deposit or investment; or
- Being an officer or other person in power at an insolvent financial institution and knowingly making a false or deceptive statement to the public to promote sales or services.
Common forms of check fraud include forging checks, passing bad checks, kiting checks, and floating checks.
A person may be convicted of writing or passing bad checks in Illinois if he or she:
- With the intent to obtain control over property or to pay for property or services, issues or delivers a check or depository slip knowing it will not be paid on two occasions at least 7 days apart; or
- Issues or delivers a check in an amount greater than $150 knowing it will not be paid and fails to provide funds to cover it within 7 days of receiving notice that it has ‘bounced.’
Penalties for White Collar Crimes in Chicago
The penalties stemming from a conviction of these crimes range from monetary fines to restitution to serious time behind bars. White collar crimes in Illinois may be misdemeanor or felony offenses. Sentences will vary for each crime, and often hinge on the amount of money involved and whether the crime occurred in more than one state.
- Class A Misdemeanors. Generally, those crimes involving financial theft or losses less than $500 may be punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
- Class 3 Felonies. Generally, those crimes involving between $500 and $10,000 and punishable by 2-5 years in prison.
- Class 2 Felonies Generally, those crimes involving theft or losses between $10,000 and $100,000 and punishable by 3-7 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
- Class 1 Felonies. Generally, those crimes involving theft or losses between $100,000 and $500,000 and punishable by 4-15 years in prison and fines of $25,000.
- Class 1 Felonies. Generally, those crimes involving theft or losses between $500,000 and $1,000,000 and punishable by 4-15 years in prison without parole and fines of $25,000.
- Class X Felonies. Generally, those crimes involving theft or losses greater than $1,000,000 and punishable by 6-30 years in prison without parole and fines of $25,000.
Penalties for property belonging to protected classes or from special premises – such as a government or school – may be heightened.
Defenses to White Collar Crimes in Illinois
White collar crimes generally require intent and knowledge of the perpetrator. If you have been charged with a white collar crime in Illinois your first call should be to an experienced white collar crime attorney. An attorney can help to develop a legal defense strategy to prove that you lacked the requisite intent and/or knowledge to commit these white collar crimes.
Experienced white collar crime attorneys understand the complicated Illinois and federal laws that may apply to your case as well as the best points of attack.
Contact an Experienced Chicago White Collar Crime Attorney
At Kostopolous Law Group, LLC, our attorneys are excellent investigators who have a history of building solid defenses based on the information they uncover. We work diligently to ensure our clients’ rights are protected and that no stone is left unturned in crafting a legal defense to white collar crime charges.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a white collar crime in Chicago, contact us today. We will review the details of your case, investigate the details and circumstances surrounding your arrest, and explain your legal rights. Our skilled Chicago white crime attorneys understand the negative effects white collar crime accusations and convictions can have on your future. We are ready to help you defend your rights and reputation. Contact us for a free, no-commitment consultation today.