Raleigh Financial Crimes Attorney and Embezzlement Lawyer
While financial crimes are more subtle than violent crimes and don’t often make the front page of the paper, they nevertheless can hit victims in one of the places where it hurts most – in the wallet. This is one reason why the prosecution can be fierce and the penalties harsh. If you’ve been charged with a financial or “white collar” crime anywhere in or around Raleigh, it’s imperative that you retain an experienced and aggressive financial crimes attorney or embezzlement lawyer, if necessary, to fight for your rights in the courtroom. At the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, we have experience in defending all types of financial crimes, from tax evasion to large-scale embezzlement, and we will make sure your rights are protected and your actions are represented fairly.
What Is a Financial Crime?
Not all crimes with money as their end-goal are considered financial crimes. Offenses that have a violent or forceful element, such as robbery and burglary, or which involve the sale of illegal substances are not considered white collar crimes, even though a large payoff may be the result.
These offenses may be any one of a number of nonviolent, financially-motivated crimes that can be committed by a person with high status in place of trust. Because they are often (although not always) committed by successful businessmen, executives, or government officials working in and around Raleigh, they are often called “white collar” crimes and may include:
- Obtaining Property by False Pretenses
- Forgery and Uttering
- Credit Card Fraud
- Willful Failure to File or Pay State Income Tax
Financial Crime Classifications and Penalties
Most financial crimes are felonies, which usually are penalized according to their class (severity) and the number of points on the defendant’s record at the time of conviction. Points are awarded for prior offenses, beginning with 1 point for a misdemeanor and moving up to 10 points for a Class A felony (the most serious possible offense).
The penalties for a person with no criminal record or only one prior misdemeanor (0-1 points) for some common financial crimes are the following.
Obtaining Property by False Pretenses
This type of crime is commonly known as “fraud,” although North Carolina only uses the term for civil cases. You can be charged with obtaining property by false pretenses if you obtain ownership of something of value by intentionally misrepresenting the facts of the situation (e.g. who you are, your qualifications, what the person who pays you will be receiving, etc.). The penalties for this type of crime range from 5-6 months of community service, probation, or incarceration for amounts less than $100,000 (a Class H felony) to up to 6 years and 1 month in prison for amounts exceeding $100,000 (a Class C felony).
Embezzlement involves the intentional misappropriation of corporate or state funds for private use. Taking less than $100,000 is a Class H felony, punishable by 5-6 months of community service, probation or incarceration if you are a corporate employee, or a Class F felony, punishable by up to 1 year and 4 months of prison or probation for embezzlement of taxes by tax officers, trust funds by public officers or trustees, or state property by government employees. Embezzlement of more than $100,000 is a class C felony, punishable by up to 6 years and 1 month incarceration, regardless of your position.
Both offering and accepting a bribe are felonies under North Carolina law. Offering a bribe is a Class F felony, punishable by 13-16 months of prison or probation. Accepting a bribe is a Class I felony for bank examiners, sports officials and players, or building inspectors and a Class F felony for government officials in the Department of Administration or the Alcohol Beverage Control committee members. Class I felonies are punishable by 4-6 months of community service, probation, or prison, while Class F felonies are punishable by 13-16 of probation or prison, plus removal from office in the case of government employees.
Forgery, Counterfeiting & Uttering
Forgery is the act of producing an exact copy of something in such a manner so as to pass it off as genuine. Many things can be forged, including signatures, currency, legal documents, credit & debit cards, works of art, etc. When the forged instrument is legal currency, the act is called counterfeiting.
North Carolina law specifically prohibits forging a signature on an absentee ballot or petitin, and forging all or part of a certificate of title, registration card, application or motor vehicle inspection sticker (Class I felony); forging a check, stock bond, mutual fund, or other security (Class G felony); a will, deed, or similar legal instrument (Class H felony), a credit or debit card (Class I felony), and of possessing tools used in making a forgeries.
The act of presenting something forged as the original is called “uttering” and is a Class I felony punishable by 4-6 months of community service.
Note that forgery and uttering may also be federal offenses (as in the case of valuable works of art, historically important documents, etc.) and place you in danger of receiving a much harsher sentence under U.S. law. It is also possible to be charged with obtaining property by false pretenses if you forge something that you sell to another person as genuine.
Credit & Debit Card Fraud
Commonly called “credit card fraud,” regardless of whether the instrument is credit or debit, this kind of offense may be a misdemeanor or a Class I felony, depending on the amount misappropriated. Stealing more than $500 is an automatic felony, as is the act of stealing, forging, or possessing the tools needed steal or forge the card itself.
Credit card fraud may also lead to a charge of financial identity fraud (identity theft), which is a Class G felony punishable by 10-13 months of probation or imprisonment or a Class F felony (13-16 months) if the victim is arrested, detained, or convicted of a crime as a result of the theft or if you possess the identity of three or more people.
Willful Failure to File or Pay State Income Tax
Even Al Capone was caught because of tax evasion. Not only is this a Class H felony, which can get you 5-6 months of community service, probation, or incarceration, but the investigation can also reveal other criminal activities for which you may also be charged.
Call Financial Crimes Attorney Dewey Brinkley Today
If you’ve been accused of a financial crime, don’t settle for an attorney with minimal experience handling financial crimes. The world of finances and digital transactions can be complex and requires a great deal of experience to be able to understand and communicate to a jury effectively. Dewey Brinkley has years of experience defending people accused of these offenses in Raleigh and the surrounding area. Call to discuss your case today at (919) 832-0307.