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White Collar Crimes

White Collar Crime Charges are Challenging

The term "white collar crime" typically refers to acts committed by professionals using deception, usually for financial gain. This differs from many other crimes that involve violence or direct force. Among the crimes for which we defend accused clients are accounting fraud, bribery, extortion, conspiracy, counterfeiting, forgery, embezzlement, health care and insurance fraud, Medicare fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, mail fraud, lottery fraud, money laundering, securities and tax fraud, and wire fraud.

The San Antonio, Texas, white collar crime lawyers at Rush & Gransee, L.C., are particularly suited to defend claims that are often described as white collar crime, including embezzlement. Often, white collar crimes involve allegations of either state or federal criminal statutes as well as civil forfeiture of any funds seized by the government. With extensive experience in both criminal and civil law Rush & Gransee, L.C., can defend the criminal matter while pursuing the return of the forfeited money or other items seized as well as taking whatever civil actions are necessary to protect your rights and property.

In a recent case, the lawyers at Rush & Gransee successfully defended a large international money transfer business against various allegations of impropriety, including money laundering. In that particular case over $310,000 was seized by the government and various allegations, including money laundering were asserted by the government. Through quick and in-depth legal work the government was forced to give back all of the seized money to the client and all criminal proceedings were dropped.

Money laundering is often alleged if there are proceeds from the alleged criminal activity or if the funds were intended to be used in the pursuit of a criminal activity. The money laundering statute is as follows:

(1) "Criminal activity" means any offense, including any preparatory offense, that is:

(A) Classified as a felony under the laws of this state or the United States

(B) Punishable by confinement for more than one year under the laws of another state

(2) "Funds" includes:

(A) Coin or paper money of the United States or any other country that is designated as legal tender and that circulates and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issue

(B) United States silver certificates, United States Treasury notes, and Federal Reserve System notes

(C) An official foreign bank note that is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in a foreign country and a foreign bank draft

(D) Currency or its equivalent, including an electronic fund, personal check, bank check, traveler's check, money order, bearer negotiable instrument, bearer investment security, bearer security, or certificate of stock in a form that allows title to pass on delivery

(3) Financial institution is a bank, trust company, insurance company, or any other organization held out to the public as a place to deposit funds.

(4) "Proceeds" means funds acquired or derived directly or indirectly from, produced through, or realized through an act.

Money Laundering

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:

(1) Acquires or maintains an interest in, conceals, possesses, transfers, or transports the proceeds of criminal activity

(2) Conducts, supervises, or facilitates a transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity

(3) Invests, expends, or receives, or offers to invest, expend, or receive, the proceeds of criminal activity or funds that the person believes are the proceeds of criminal activity

(4) Finances or invests or intends to finance or invest funds that the person believes are intended to further the commission of criminal activity.

(a) Knowledge of the specific nature of the criminal activity giving rise to the proceeds is not required to establish a culpable mental state under this section.

(b) For purposes of this section, a person is presumed to believe that funds are the proceeds of or are intended to further the commission of criminal activity if a peace officer or a person acting at the direction of a peace officer represents to the person that the funds are proceeds of or are intended to further the commission of criminal activity, as applicable, regardless of whether the peace officer or person acting at the peace officer's direction discloses the person's status as a peace officer or that the person is acting at the direction of a peace officer.

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person acted with intent to facilitate the lawful seizure, forfeiture, or disposition of funds or other legitimate law enforcement purpose pursuant to the laws of this state or the United States.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the transaction was necessary to preserve a person's right to representation as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and by the Texas Constitution and that the funds were received as bona fide legal fees by a licensed attorney and at the time of their receipt, the attorney did not have actual knowledge that the funds were derived from criminal activity.

(e) An offense under this section is:

(1) A state jail felony if the value of the funds is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000

(2) A felony of the third degree if the value of the funds is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000

(3) A felony of the second degree if the value of the funds is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000

(4) A felony of the first degree if the value of the funds is $200,000 or more

(f) For purposes of this section, if proceeds of criminal activity are related to one scheme or continuing course of conduct, whether from the same or several sources, the conduct may be considered as one offense and the value of the proceeds aggregated in determining the classification of the offense.

(g) For purposes of this section, funds on deposit at a branch of a financial institution are considered the property of that branch and any other branch of the financial institution.

(h) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

Another common white collar crime allegation is misapplication of fiduciary property. This is sometimes thought of as a common fraud. A summary of the statute follows:

Misapplication of Fiduciary Property

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Fiduciary" includes:

(A) A trustee, guardian, administrator, executor, conservator, and receiver

(B) An attorney in fact or agent appointed under a durable power of attorney as provided by Chapter XII, Texas Probate Code

(C) Any other person acting in a fiduciary capacity, but not a commercial bailee unless the commercial bailee is a party in a motor fuel sales agreement with a distributor or supplier

(D) An officer, manager, employee, or agent carrying on fiduciary functions on behalf of a fiduciary

(2) "Misapply" means deal with property contrary to:

(A) An agreement under which the fiduciary holds the property

(B) A law prescribing the custody or disposition of the property

(b) A person commits an offense if he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misapplies property he holds as a fiduciary or property of a financial institution in a manner that involves substantial risk of loss to the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property is held.

(c) An offense under this section is:

(1) A class C misdemeanor if the value of the property misapplied is less than $20

(2) A class B misdemeanor if the value of the property misapplied is $20 or more but less than $500

(3) A class A misdemeanor if the value of the property misapplied is $500 or more but less than $1,500

(4) A state jail felony if the value of the property misapplied is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000

(5) A felony of the third degree if the value of the property misapplied is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000

(6) A felony of the second degree if the value of the property misapplied is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000

(7) A felony of the first degree if the value of the property misapplied is $200,000 or more

(d) An offense described for purposes of punishment by Subsections (c)(1)-(6) is increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the offense was committed against an elderly individual.

(e) With the consent of the appropriate local county or district attorney, the attorney general has concurrent jurisdiction with that consenting local prosecutor to prosecute an offense under this section that involves the state Medicaid program.

If you are charged with a white collar crime, it is of extreme importance that an experienced attorney advocates on your behalf as soon as possible. Criminal law attorneys at Rush & Gransee, L.C., in San Antonio, Texas, will work proactively with you and with authorities early in the process to resolve your case as effectively as possible, and limit or eliminate your legal exposure.

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If you have been charged with a white collar crime, contact us at once to learn how we can help you to protect your legal rights and represent your legal interests.