White Collar Defense Attorney

In the complex world of business and finance, the lines between legality and criminality can sometimes blur. Many cases associated with these two can fall under “white-collar crimes.”


White-collar crimes are predominantly non-violent and often involve deceit, breach of trust, or concealment rather than the use of force. 


Common examples include fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, and money laundering. While they might not cause physical harm, these crimes are aggressively prosecuted because of the financial and social impacts, affecting individuals, businesses, and society at large.

Federal and Arizona state laws define and prosecute white-collar crimes with severe penalties, resulting in complex legal intricacies that demand expert navigation.


Being charged with a white-collar crime can prove devastating, not just financially but personally and professionally too. The involvement of a skilled federal criminal defense attorney, like those at Kolsrud Law Offices, can be the key to ensuring a solid defense and the best possible outcome.


❗Interestingly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that white-collar crime costs the United States over $300 billion annually, a shocking statistic that underscores the significance and impact of these crimes.

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white-collar crime

What Does White Collar Crime Mean?

"White collar crime" is a term coined in the late 1930s, used to describe offenses committed by a person of respectability and high social status during their occupation.


Today, it broadly encompasses a variety of nonviolent crimes typically committed in commercial and/ or business situations for personal or financial gain.


The United States Code (U.S.C.), particularly in sections like 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (mail fraud), 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud), and 18 U.S.C. § 1344 (bank fraud), provides a legal framework for understanding and prosecuting these crimes at a federal level.


Similarly, the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), in sections such as ARS 13-2310 (fraudulent schemes and artifices) and ARS 13-2602 (bribery of a public servant), offer guidance at the state level.


It's crucial to note that these laws continually evolve to encompass the dynamic nature of white-collar crimes, particularly with the advent of digital technology.

Types of White Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes come in many shapes and sizes, but the underlying motive remains consistent – illegal gain.


Some of the most common types include:

  • Fraud

    Fraud includes a variety of crimes like securities fraud, healthcare fraud, tax fraud, and mortgage fraud. Federal and state laws like 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and ARS 13-2310 prosecute these offenses.

  • Embezzlement

    Embezzlement involves wrongly taking funds under one's care, often in a corporate setting. Both state and federal laws, like ARS 13-1802 and 18 U.S.C. § 656, define and penalize embezzlement.

  • Insider Trading

    Insider trading is trading a public company's stock or securities based on non-public, material information about the company. This crime is covered under federal laws like 15 U.S.C. § 78j and 17 CFR 240.10b-5.

  • Identity Theft

    Identity theft involves deliberately using another person's identity information, usually for monetary gain. It's addressed under 18 U.S.C. § 1028 and ARS 13-2008.

  • Money Laundering

    Money laundering makes illegally acquired money look legal and is often linked with organized crime. Laws addressing this include 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and ARS 13-2317.

  • Export/Import Violations

    These crimes involve illegal activities in importing or exporting goods, often related to avoiding customs duties or exporting restricted goods. They fall under laws like 19 U.S.C. § 1595a.

  • Forgery

    Forgery involves creating false documents or signatures intending to deceive. This is covered under 18 U.S.C. § 505 and ARS 13-2002.

  • U.S. False Claims Act

    Violations involve fraudulent claims made to the U.S. government, often related to federal contracts or programs.

  • U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

    Violations of the FCPA involve bribing foreign officials or failing to maintain accurate accounting records.

  • Antitrust

    Antitrust violations, such as price fixing or market monopolization, are illegal under laws like 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-7 and ARS 44-1401.

Understanding the variations and specifics of these crimes can be complex, which is where the expertise of a federal criminal defense attorney becomes invaluable.


How White Collar Crimes have Evolved Over the Last 10 Years

White-collar crimes have evolved significantly over the past decade, largely driven by technological advances and shifts in the finance arena.


One of the major changes has been the rise of cybercrime. As more businesses move their operations online and consumers increasingly engage in digital transactions, opportunities for crimes such as identity theft, online fraud, and data breaches have skyrocketed.


Cybercrimes are becoming more sophisticated, employing advanced techniques like phishing, ransomware, and crypto hijacking to exploit vulnerabilities in individuals' and organizations' digital footprints.


Another noticeable trend has been the growth in global financial crimes. The increasing interconnectivity of financial systems, coupled with the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and offshore banking, has provided fertile ground for money laundering, tax evasion, and securities fraud on an international scale.


Furthermore, as regulatory environments become more complex, there's been a rise in corporate crimes related to non-compliance, environmental violations, and antitrust practices. Businesses and executives are often under increased scrutiny to ensure they're adhering to a rapidly changing landscape of rules and regulations, both domestically and internationally.


Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in white-collar crimes, such as PPP Loan Fraud. The substantial financial relief efforts by governments and financial institutions have been exploited by criminals committing fraud, leading to an unprecedented rise in healthcare fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, and fraud related to stimulus funds.


Despite these challenges, advancements in investigative and predictive technologies, and improvements in international cooperation and legislation, are progressively aiding in the prevention and prosecution of these evolving white-collar crimes.

What is the Most Common White-Collar Crime?

White-collar crime is a broad category that encapsulates a variety of non-violent crimes typically committed in commercial situations for financial gain. Fraud is arguably the most common type of white-collar crime, and it appears in many different forms.


Fraud is a blanket term for a wide array of crimes aimed at financial or personal gain, typically involving some form of false representation. It includes securities fraud, insurance fraud, tax evasion, credit card fraud, etc.


Individuals or corporate entities can perpetrate these practices and often involve complex methods of concealing these illicit activities. The technological advancements of the digital age have further expanded the arena for these offenses, with cybercrime, online scams, and identity theft becoming increasingly prevalent.


Fraudulent schemes can vary significantly in their complexity and the damages they inflict. Still, they all involve some form of deception for illicit gain, so they hold the dubious honor of being the most common white-collar crime.

federal crime

How is Federal vs. State Jurisdiction in White Collar Crimes Determined?

Jurisdiction in white-collar crimes can sometimes be a complex matter, with potential for both federal and state prosecution. Generally, federal jurisdiction comes into play when criminal activity crosses state lines, involves a federal agency, or violates federal law.


On the other hand, state jurisdiction is typically invoked for crimes committed wholly within the state's borders and violating state laws.


In some cases, dual jurisdiction may exist, meaning both state and federal authorities could prosecute the crime.


The decision on who prosecutes can depend on various factors, including the nature and severity of the crime, the resources of the prosecuting agencies, and policy considerations.

Penalties for White-Collar Crimes

Though non-violent, white-collar crimes are considered serious offenses and carry substantial penalties under Arizona state and federal laws. Penalties may vary based on the nature and severity of the crime, prior convictions, and the amount of money involved.


Potential penalties for these crimes include but are not limited to, imprisonment, probation, fines, restitution to victims, forfeiture of assets, community service, and even the loss of specific professional licenses.


For example, under federal law, bank fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344) carries a potential penalty of up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1,000,000.


Arizona state penalties are also significant. For instance, under ARS 13-2310, a person of a fraudulent scheme faces class 2 felony charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 12.5 years for a first offense.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Defending Against White-Collar Crime Accusations

If you, your business, or your corporation is under investigation for a white-collar crime, it's crucial to seek legal representation immediately. The legal complexities involved in such cases require the skills and knowledge of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney, like those at Kolsrud Law Office.


Your defense attorney can assist you with the following: 


  • Protect your rights during the investigation and trial
  • Develop a robust defense strategy
  • Negotiate plea bargains where applicable
  • Advocate for the most favorable outcome


Attorney Josh Kolsrud will work diligently to review all the facts and evidence, challenge any procedural errors or questionable evidence, and examine whether law enforcement officials respected your constitutional rights throughout the investigation. They can also engage forensic accountants or other expert witnesses to challenge the prosecution's assertions about the financial aspects of the case.


Moreover, your defense may focus on demonstrating a lack of intent, which is often a critical element in white-collar crime prosecutions.


For example, to prove a fraud charge, the prosecution must establish that you intentionally deceived another person or entity for personal or financial gain.


Your attorney can construct a defense to challenge this element and potentially undermine the prosecution's case.

Regardless of Which White Collar Crime You Might Be Facing, Kolsrud Law Offices are Here to Help

The consequences of a white-collar crime conviction go beyond the legal penalties. The damage to your reputation, career, and personal life can be equally, if not more, devastating.


In the complex world of white-collar crime law, having a veteran defense lawyer on your side can make a significant difference.


Call Kolsrud Law Offices and speak with white-collar crimes defense attorney Josh Kolsrud today for a free consultation and to get the representation you deserve. 

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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006

Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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