There was a time when white collar offenses – economic crimes – were treated relatively leniently, at least compared with street crimes. Those days have long since passed. With corporate greed in the headlines, and scandals involving Enron, Waste Management, Worldcom, Tyco, AIG and others getting major news coverage, judges and juries are often reluctant to go easy on defendants in white collar cases.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, help is available. At Castañeda Law, our attorneys understand computer fraud, internet crimes, accounting fraud, bribery, credit card fraud and other white collar crimes. We will analyze the evidence in your case and present you with a viable game plan for your defense. Call us for a consultation.
White Collar Crimes in Arizona
The following are some of the many white collar crimes in Arizona:
- Credit Card Fraud. This includes a number of offenses involving credit cards. They include theft of or fraudulently obtaining a credit card; fraudulent use of a credit card; receiving anything of value as the result of fraudulent use of a card; unlawful possession of credit card machinery or blank credit cards; making a false statement as to one’s financial condition in order to obtain the issuance of a credit card; possession or use of a device to obtain, store or alter credit card information; and theft of credit card receipts. These offenses generally require proof of intent to defraud. Most of them are felonies.
- Bribery and Public Corruption. Bribery of a public official or (political) party officer is a felony. Other public corruption offenses include trading in a public office, and violation of the Arizona conflict of interest laws (A.R.S. 38-510) applicable to public employees. These are also felonies.
- Commercial Bribery. You do not have to be a public employee, or be dealing with a public employee, in order to commit bribery. A.R.S. 13-2605 defines commercial bribery as corruptly conferring or accepting a benefit to influence an employee’s conduct in connection with his business, without the consent of the employer. If the amount of the benefit is less than $100, it is a class 1 misdemeanor. For benefits in higher amounts, it is a felony.
- Forgery is the false creation, completion or alteration of a written instrument with intent to defraud. It is also illegal to knowingly possess a forged instrument, or to present such an instrument or any instrument that contains false information. While intent to defraud is a necessary element of the offense of forgery, that intent may be inferred in the case of possession of five or more forged instruments. Forgery is generally a felony. Related offenses include obtaining a signature by deception, and criminal impersonation.
- Identity Theft. Taking someone’s personal identifying information without consent and with intent to defraud is a class 4 felony. Using another person’s personal identifying information in order to obtain a job, or being in possession of such information for at least three people, or identity theft that causes a loss of at least $1,000, constitutes aggravated identity theft, a class 3 felony. Trafficking in the identity of another person is a class 2 felony.
- Embezzlement is not a distinct offense in Arizona. Rather, it is one of the many theft offenses defined in A.R.S. 13-1802. Specifically, embezzlement is the conversion of property entrusted to that that person for a limited time, or for a limited purpose. The difference between embezzlement and other types of theft is that the property came into the possession of the defendant lawfully. While this gave him legal possession, it did not give him legal ownership. As with most other theft offenses, the classification and potential penalty for embezzlement is generally a function of the amount of money or the value of the property involved.
In addition to those already mentioned, white collar crimes include insurance fraud, tax fraud, and numerous other offenses in Arizona. Many of them are felonies, and therefore carry heavy penalties.
Defending Economic Crimes in Phoenix, AZ
Being arrested for a white collar crime is a serious matter. It is essential that you contact an experienced Phoenix white collar defense lawyer. At Castañeda Law, our attorneys can help. The earlier you contact us, the better the chances are that we can speak to the prosecutor about dropping or reducing the charges against you. And if your case does go forward, an early start can only help with our investigation of the facts, and the development of a sound defense.
Call us at (602) 560-3131 for a consultation