New York Federal White-Collar Fraud Crimes

Santana Law Firm is a New York City-based criminal defense firm that helps people accused of federal fraud, financial crimes, and white-collar offenses. Our lawyers have secured numerous favorable plea bargains and not guilty verdicts, allowing people unfairly accused of crimes to return to their lives.

Receiving notice that you are under investigation by the FBI, Department of Justice, the SEC, or another federal agency is one of the most terrifying things you can ever experience. This is a serious situation that you cannot leave up to chance or put in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer. Federal felony cases are delicate and complex, and you should have skilled legal representation that can meet the challenge of defending you.

With decades of experience in criminal defense, the lawyers at Santana Law Firm have deep knowledge of every aspect of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions. Our objective is to provide every client with sound advice and an aggressive defense strategy. We work tirelessly to help our clients avoid the most serious penalties.

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What is Financial Fraud?

Federal fraud and financial crimes occur when one party takes another party’s property or money for personal gain. Fraud differs from theft or robbery because fraud involves some level of deception, subterfuge, or abuse of a position of power. A crime of this nature does not need to involve weapons or violence, but if it does, it may result in additional charges and sentencing.

When this type of crime is committed by business or government officials, it is often known as white-collar crime. At the federal level, white-collar and other financial fraud crimes are often investigated by the FBI. Other government agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the IRS, may also be involved.

Fraud and financial crimes can take many forms, including:

  • Bribery
  • Credit card fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Insurance fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Pyramid schemes
  • RICO/racketeering
  • Securities fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Wire fraud

Federal Offenses Are
More Serious Than State Crimes

Criminal investigations and prosecutions are handled much differently in federal court than in New York State. Federal law enforcement agencies are typically well-funded and staffed by the country’s toughest investigators, lawyers, and agents. US Attorneys have almost unlimited resources at their disposal, unlike NY state and county prosecutors and district attorneys.

Secondly, federal agencies typically focus their attention on high-stakes, far-reaching cases with a significant amount of evidence in their favor. This is why it is imperative that you work with a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer who has a record of success handling federal fraud cases.

Penalties for Federal Fraud Crimes

If you are convicted of a federal felony, you may face a significant prison sentence and thousands of dollars in fines and restitution. Federal penalties are typically much harsher than sentences for similar crimes in New York State court. Beyond any punishment you receive from the court, you may face lifelong secondary consequences, including losing your right to vote, becoming ineligible to receive a loan, and having difficulty buying a car or house.

Federal sentences are based on two factors: the defendant's criminal history and the offense level (with Level 1 being the least serious and Level 43 the most serious). These factors are used to determine the “Zone,” which then determines the sentence.

For a first-time offender, a federal
sentence may
look like:
Zone A

0 to 6 months in prison, with the opportunity for probation

Zone B

6 to 15 months in prison, with the opportunity for home detention or intermittent confinement

Zone C

15 to 18 months in prison, with the opportunity for a split sentence

Zone D

Any sentence above Zone C

Sentences typically increase for multiple-time offenders. For example, a Level 6 offense would trigger a Zone A sentence for a first-time offender, but it would trigger a Zone B sentence for someone with two or three prior convictions.

Federal judges must consider these sentencing guidelines, but they can choose to deviate from them with an “upward” or “downward departure.” For example, if the crime involved the use of a weapon, that might justify an upward departure. If the defendant was coerced to commit the crime, that may justify a downward departure.

Depending on the facts of your case, this flexibility in sentencing may benefit you, or it may make your potential sentence much more severe. An experienced lawyer who has successfully handled federal criminal cases will be more likely to achieve a downward departure for you.

Defenses to Fraud and White-Collar Crimes

In order to be convicted of fraud, the prosecutor must prove 5 things:

  • 1A fact was misrepresented.
  • 2That fact was misrepresented by a person who knew it was false.
  • 3That person intentionally used that misrepresentation to defraud someone else.
  • 4The alleged victim relied on that misrepresented fact.
  • 5The alleged victim suffered harm because they relied on the misrepresented fact.

If the prosecution cannot prove all of these items beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted. This gives you several opportunities to disprove the prosecutor’s argument and avoid conviction or significantly reduce your potential sentence.

A skilled fraud criminal defense lawyer may use one of these defenses:

  • Insufficient Evidence: There is not enough evidence to convict you
  • Lack of Intent: You did not intend to misrepresent anything or defraud anyone
  • Non-Fraudulent Statements: You made a statement you believed to be true
  • Good Faith: You sincerely believed you were acting lawfully and were entitled to any money received
  • Entrapment: Law enforcement or government officials manipulated you to commit a crime
  • Duress: You were forced to commit a crime due to threats of violence
  • Mistake of Identity: You are not the person who committed the crime
  • Consent: The alleged victim gave you permission to act

Santana Law Firm

helps people accused of fraud and financial crimes defend themselves and avoid serious federal charges and prison time.

NYC White-Collar Federal Fraud Defense Lawyers

If you are convicted of a federal fraud or financial crime, the consequences can be severe and long-lasting. You must act quickly to preserve your freedom and start building your defense. Without the help of a lawyer who has handled similar cases before, it is very likely that you will face serious jail time and fines.

At Santana Law Firm, we have helped hundreds of clients turn an extremely bad situation into a hopeful one. As former prosecutors ourselves, we know the tactics the prosecution will use to try to convict you. With our insight, investigative network, and detailed trial preparation, we can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact our NYC office today to discuss your case. We can begin working immediately to defend you.