White-Collar Crime

Man in business suit handcuffed while holding cash

If you are facing charges for white-collar crime, it is essential to contact a tough and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. White collar crime encompasses fraud, identity theft, bribery, writing bad checks, and other nonviolent crimes with a financial component.

The phrase “white collar” is often associated with easy punishments or less harsh sentences. Don’t let this phrase fool you. The state prosecutor will prepare their case against you with the same amount of vigor as applied to violent criminal offenses.

If you have been charged with a white-collar offense, your future hangs in the balance. You could potentially face very serious penalties and punishments for both misdemeanor and felony white-collar offenses, including a criminal record, jail or prison sentence and/or steep fines.

Whether you face state or federal white-collar crime charges, the prosecutor must prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will help present the best possible defense and ensure the prosecution does not satisfy their burden of proof.

Dallas White-Collar Crime Lawyer

If you have been charged with a white-collar crime in Dallas or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. We represent clients in communities such as Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie, Decatur, Terrell, Mesquite, and Richardson.

Attorney Richard McConathy will work to fight the allegations against you and help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged crime. Call Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700.


Dallas White-Collar Crime Information Center


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White-Collar Crime Offenses in Dallas

White collar crimes are usually considered nonviolent and illegal activities that involve deceit, manipulation, breach of trust, or concealment. Often the victims of white-collar crimes have been so minimally affected, they don’t even realize a crime has been committed against them. Some of the most common white-collar crimes are listed below:

According to section 32.21 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with forgery if they alter, make, complete, execute, or authenticate a writing with the intent to defraud or harm another person. This offense is generally punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, state jail felony, or felony of the third degree.

Insurance fraud is defined by Texas Penal Code Section 35.02. An individual can be charged with insurance fraud if they commit an act in support of a claim for payment under an insurance policy with the intent to defraud or deceive an insurer. This offense can result in a conviction ranging from a Class C misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree.

An individual can be charged with credit card fraud under Texas Penal Code Section 32.31 if they:

  • Present a credit card or debit card with the intent to obtain some benefit knowing the card was not his and without the consent of the owner,
  • Present a credit or debit card with the intent to obtain some benefit knowing the card was expired, revoked or cancelled,
  • Use a fake credit or debit card or fake credit or debit card number with the intent to obtain a benefit,
  • Knowingly receives a benefit from credit card fraud,
  • Steal a credit or debit card,
  • Knowingly receive a stolen credit card with the intent to use it, sell it, or give it to another person who is not the rightful owner,
  • Buy a credit or debit card from a person he knows is not the issuer of the credit card,
  • Sell a credit or debit card and is not the issuer of the card,
  • Use a credit or debit card for his own benefit the rightful cardholder is financially unable to pay,
  • Possess a credit or debit card with the intent to use it when he is not the rightful owner and does not have the rightful owner’s consent, and/or
  • Possess two or more incomplete credit or debit cards that have not been issued to him with the intent to complete the cards without the owner’s consent.

This offense is generally punishable as a state jail felony or a felony of the third degree.

According to Tex. Penal Code § 32.51, an individual can be charged with identity theft if they obtain, possess, transfer, or use any of the following with the intent to harm or defraud another person:

  • Identifying information of another person without their consent,
  • A deceased person’s information that would be identifying if they were alive, and/or
  • Identifying information of a person who is younger than 18 years old.

This offense is generally punishable as a state jail felony, felony of the third degree, felony of the second degree, or felony of the first degree.

An individual can be charged with money laundering under section 34.02 of the Texas Penal Code if they knowingly:

  • Acquire or maintain an interest in, conceal, possess, transfer, or transport the proceeds of criminal activity;
  • Conduct, supervise, or facilitate a transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity;
  • Invest, expend, receive, or offer to invest, expend, or receive the proceeds of criminal activity or funds they believe are the proceeds of criminal activity; or
  • Finance or invest, or intend to finance or invest funds they believe are intended to further the commission of criminal activity.

This offense is generally punishable as a state jail felony, felony of the third degree, felony of the second degree, or felony of the first degree.


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Is There a Difference Between White-Collar and Corporate Crime?

So far, we’ve only focused on individuals who commit crimes to benefit themselves. But what if the individual is acting illegally on behalf of a corporation? What if a corporation is itself engaging in criminal activity?

Because white-collar crime is often committed by businessmen, much of corporate crime is also white-collar crime. But the reverse is not true – not all white-collar crime is corporate crime. A few of the more common examples of the overlap between white-collar and corporate crime include:

  • Manipulating the stock market
  • Embezzling company money and misappropriating corporate funds
  • Bribing public officials

Both white-collar and corporate crimes are almost always non-violent crimes of fraud and deception. Because these crimes are often committed privately, they lack the visceral shock value of street crimes like murder or armed robbery.

The main difference between white-collar and corporate crime is who benefits from the illegal activity. White-collar crime is almost always profitable for the individual engaging in such crime. On the other hand, corporate crime ultimately proves profitable for the corporation, regardless of who is committing the crime.

Penalties in Dallas for White-Collar Crime

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the penalties associated with white-collar offenses in Texas. Although these are the basic statutory penalties, several factors determine whether an individual may receive greater punishments. These factors include the type of offense committed, criminal history, if the offense was committed against an elderly person, the number of individuals affected by the offense, and the value stolen or used during the commission of the criminal act.

  • A conviction for a Class C misdemeanor can result in a fine up to $500.
  • A conviction for a Class B misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $2,000.
  • A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine up to $4,000.
  • A conviction for a state jail felony can result in a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • A conviction for a felony of the third degree can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • A conviction for a felony of the second degree can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • A conviction for a felony of the first degree can result in a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.

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Federal White-Collar Crime Charges

Many white-collar crime offenses can be prosecuted as either Texas state crimes or federal crimes. Generally white-collar crimes involving interstate commerce are specifically federal crimes.

Some of the most commonly prosecuted white-collar federal crimes are listed below.

  • RICO, or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, is a federal law defined under title 18 of the United States Code §§ 1961-1968. RICO was enacted to punish an individual or group for committing two racketeering criminal acts within a ten-year period.
  • Another common federal crime is mail fraud, which is codified in 18 USC § 1341. This offense requires a scheme to defraud someone of money or property through the use of the United States Postal Service or a private mail carrier, such as UPS or Fed Ex.
  • Wire fraud is similar to mail fraud, but generally involves any type of fraud through the use of a wire, such as internet, radio, or telephone that crosses state lines. This crime is very broad and is usually easy for prosecutors to make a case against an alleged offender.
  • An individual can be accused of bankruptcy fraud if they hide assets or other information in a federal bankruptcy action.
  • Securities fraud generally occurs when a securities agency or company fails to disclose all of their activities to investors or analysts. This type of fraud is also known as insider trading.
  • Ponzi schemes often occur when an investment manager takes money from new investors to pay old ones, as opposed to investing the money as promised.

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Dallas Resources for White-Collar Crime

The FBI White Collar Crime Division – The Federal Bureau of Investigation White Collar Crime Division’s website lists many white-collar crime scams. Visit this link to learn how to prevent being a victim of white-collar crime. You can also review current white-collar initiatives and the Most Wanted white-collar crime offender list.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a federal government agency that aims to protect investors from white-collar offenses. The SEC also regulates the nation’s financial markets.

Texas Penal Code – Fraud – Chapter 32 of Title 7 of the Texas Penal Code defines many white-collar offenses. Here you can read the laws defining fraud, forgery, credit card fraud, identity theft, and writing bad checks. You may also review the penalties for committing such offenses.


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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Fort Worth White-Collar Offense Attorney

Portrait of Dallas criminal defense attorney Richard McConathy in his officeContact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged white-collar crime throughout Dallas County in Texas. Richard McConathy is an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney who will make every effort to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your particular situation.

Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (972) 233-5700 for a consultation about your alleged white-collar offense. We represent clients throughout DFW and the surrounding counties of Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, and Rockwall.


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This article was last updated on Monday, January 28, 2019.

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