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Understanding White-Collar Crimes in Tennessee

White-collar crime, often masked by its nonviolent nature and committed within the confines of legitimate business operations, is a significant concern for law enforcement authorities and legal systems across the United States, including the State of Tennessee. Defined by deception, manipulation, and financial gain, these crimes inflict substantial economic and social damage, affecting individuals, businesses, and communities alike. While people often view white collar crimes as less serious offenses, they carry very real and very serious potential penalties for anyone convicted of committing these crimes, as explained by a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby.

What Is a White-Collar Crime?

White-collar crime encompasses a range of illicit activities carried out by individuals or organizations holding positions of trust and authority. WhileSmyrna probation violations attorney victims may not suffer physical harm, the financial repercussions can be severe. Common examples of white-collar crime include embezzlement, insider trading, securities fraud, money laundering, Ponzi schemes, and corporate fraud. These offenses often require sophisticated planning and execution, exploiting gaps in regulatory oversight and preying on unsuspecting victims.

In the United States, white collar crimes can be investigated and prosecuted by both state and federal authorities, although the federal government is responsible for investigating/prosecuting the majority of serious white collar crimes. At the federal level, law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigate white collar crimes which are then prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). When pursued at the state level, law enforcement agencies often collaborate with regulatory bodies, such as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to investigate and prosecute offenders.

White Collar Crimes in Tennessee

Even though the federal government is more likely to pursue white collar criminals, Tennessee is far from immune from white-collar crimes. In recent years, the state has witnessed numerous high-profile cases, highlighting the pervasive nature of financial fraud. From embezzlement scandals in corporate settings to investment schemes targeting vulnerable retirees, the spectrum of white-collar crime in Tennessee is diverse and evolving. Moreover, the rise of digital technology has opened new avenues for cybercrime, including identity theft, phishing scams, and ransomware attacks, posing additional challenges for law enforcement agencies and making the prosecution of white collar crimes more of a priority and, therefore, more likely.

Can I Go to Prison for a White Collar Crime?

Because people frequently think of white collar crimes as non-violent, financially motivated crimes, they are often under the misconception that these offenses do not carry serious potential penalties for a conviction. It is crucial to understand that many white collar crimes are charged as felonies. At the federal level, many white collar crimes carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years if you are convicted, dispelling the myth that these are not serious crimes.

What Is a Target Letter?

If the federal government is investigating criminal conduct that may amount to a white collar crime, you may receive a “target letter” if you are a potential suspect. A target letter is sent by the U.S. Attorney’s Office or by a related regulatory agency. A target letter will notify you that you are a target in the investigation, identify the crime(s) being investigated, inform you of your rights, and may include a request for documents or for you to contact someone to discuss the investigation.

Do not ignore a target letter! Conversely, do not respond to any requests included in the letter without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you receive a target letter, the investigation is likely still at the stage where the involvement of an experienced attorney can potentially prevent you from being charged with a crime. 

Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If you have been charged with a  white collar crime by the state or federal government in Tennessee, or you have received a target letter related to a white collar crime, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.


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