Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending Charges of White Collar Crimes
Scrutiny of corporate conduct continues to grow exponentially as government regulators are more likely than not to exercise their investigative powers in search of “wrongdoers.” The news is flush with examples of businesses whose directors, officers, employees and contractors have committed acts contrary to the law and public perception. It is absolutely critical that businesses “get in front” of these problems to avoid greater scrutiny from regulators and the public if they find those problems before you do. The ability to successfully negotiate a favorable resolution with government regulators is two-fold: ensuring thorough compliance programs are in place prior to finding the issue, and retaining independent counsel to conduct a parallel internal investigation.
As a Pennsylvania firm with Washington capabilities, Crisp and Associates can provide world-class assistance establishing and managing internal compliance, ethics, personnel, employee training, and corporate government programs unique to your business that should help prevent matters that could initiate a government investigation, and help mitigate consequences if the government does knock on your door. In many instances, we have attorneys who have been in your shoes. Our attorneys have established and monitored ethics programs; conducted hundreds of personnel misconduct investigations; established, monitored and executed securities compliance programs; reviewed budgets and programs to find billions of dollars in excess spending; and represented clients whose names, faces, and actions were the lead story at the top of every hour in the 24-hour news cycle and the butt of jokes on the late-night talk shows. In addition, we have represented individuals who were facing numerous indictments related to white collar crimes. Some of the more common are discussed below.
Fraud involves the use of false or misleading statements to obtain something of value, usually cash, from a victim. People from all walks of life and organizations from investment firms to charities fall victim to fraud. Fraud may be perpetrated by individuals or organizations located in the United States or throughout the world. Fraud may occur in the context of what otherwise appear to be normal and common business transactions from mergers and acquisitions to contracts for the sale of real property and commercial goods.
In the context of business transactions, there are often changing circumstances that render potentially profitable business ventures valueless. The difference between fraud and bad business decision is often hard to detect. These situations require skilled and knowledgeable professionals who understand fraud and can assess whether it has occurred.
Fraud has both civil and criminal consequence and is a commonly charged white collar criminal offense. There are dozens of types of fraud offenses in the Federal Criminal Code: False Claims Act, Medicare and Healthcare Fraud, Securities Fraud. Banking Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Mail and Wire Fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to name but a few. We have the skill necessary to represent individuals and organizations under investigation for and/or charged under these laws. Frequently, activities that may appear fraudulent at the outset may be perfectly legal. Understanding the distinction between a fraud and a legitimate business practices can be a difficult but essential part of an investigation. Distinguishing between fraud and legitimate business practices may mean the difference between a successful business and the loss of reputation, lost revenue, and even imprisonment.
Whether wrongfully accused of fraud or the victim of fraud, we can help. Please contact us below to set up an appointment.
Tax crimes cases usually begin when a referral is made to the Criminal Investigation Division within the Internal Revenue Service an IRS agent within a Civil unit. Civil agents refer cases they deem as potentially fraudulent cases Special Agents. Interestingly, there is not a uniform standard within the IRS to provide guidance on when to refer a cause or even what should be considered potentially fraudulent activity.
If you or your organization is facing an audit, and previously filed tax returns contain either significant understatements of income or substantial overstatements of deductions, you should consider consulting counsel immediately.
IRS audits in this situation are commonly known as an “egg shell audits” because the accountant-client privilege does not apply to criminal investigations. They can be questioned regarding conversations they had with you or a member of your organization and any work they have performed for you may have to be turned over to investigators. An accountant can be subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury or at trial.
If you have concerns about an audit or there are changes in your dealings with the IRS such as, the sudden removal and replacement of the agents, previously aggressive agents stop contacting you, or an IRS Special Agent becomes involved you should seek legal counsel immediately. If you are approached by an IRS Special Agent, let the Agent know that you are obtaining legal counsel before answering questions.
If you are under investigation by the IRS or believe that an investigation is possible, contact Crisp and Associates today.
SEC Enforcement and Financial Fraud
The securities industry is regulated by two entities, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The SEC is the government agency responsible for overseeing the financial integrity of the markets. FINRA is a self-regulating, member based organization that oversees member firms, stock brokers and other investment advisors. Either the SEC or FINRA can bring enforcement actions.
If you or your organization is involved in a matter that may result in accusations related to money laundering, the structuring of financial transactions to avoid legal reporting requirements, or with any other crime related to investment or banking transactions you should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Crisp and Associates has a team of experienced attorneys with the skills necessary to defend your rights.
Our attorneys are former government attorneys, prosecutors, and regulators who have conducted or overseen hundreds of investigations, and have the background and experience to effectively respond to any government investigation, criminal or administrative subpoena, search warrants, or grand jury investigations. With experience at the highest echelons of the federal government and in business, we pride ourselves on our innovative approaches to tackling, digesting and understanding the unique problems of every business operation. We work efficiently and discretely, familiarizing themselves with the issues, the players, and most importantly, the internal work structure so they can minimize, to the extent possible, the impact on the daily operations of the client’s business.
In the end, Crisp & Associates’ goal is to provide world-class advice, counsel and assistance so that Pennsylvania businesses do not have to face government regulators bent on punishing “wrongdoers.”
Contact our offices today to find out how we can help defend you against white collar crime charges.