White Collar Crime - FindLaw Blotter

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Four more public officials are facing criminal charges due to the scandal over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, discovered in mid-2014. These four new defendants bring the number of people charged with a crime in a relation to the scandal up to 13. The four officials include two former state emergency managers, Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose, and two Flint city water plant officials, Howard Croft and Daugherty Johnson.

The two state employees are facing felony charges that could land them each 20-year prison sentences. The state level employees are the highest level officials charged thus far in the scandal. Both Earley and Ambrose reported directly to the state governor. The charges stem from knowingly endangering the public and failing to protect the public from the health hazard. The two water plant officials also face serious felony charges as well for conspiring with Earley and Ambrose.

Since the recent Wall Street bailout of 2008, the public's trust still has not fully recovered in the banking establishment. The recent Wells Fargo scandal has lawmakers and the public demanding justice. However, justice in this case is not just restitution of the ill-gotten bank fees paid by victimized customers; the justice being demanded includes criminal charges against the bank's CEO.

Lawmakers have been pressing for a criminal investigation and for criminal charges against CEO John Stumpf. To date, no charges have been filed, but many people, lawmakers included, want the CEO to be held criminally liable for the actions of his company.

Remember when your parents told you you would get in less trouble if you just told the truth? Or the phrase, "the cover-up is worse than the crime?" There are many instances where lying makes a bad situation worse, and the criminal justice system is no different.

Take theft, for instance -- taking someone else's property without permission. Theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how much you stole. What about if you get their permission, but you lie to get it? In most states, that's called obtaining property by false pretense, and almost always a felony. Let's look at some state laws as an example.

Using a stolen credit card is a serious crime that carries serious penalties. Even if the card was not stolen, per se, but rather found on the sidewalk, using the card is still illegal in all 50 states. Unlike using stolen or found cash, using a stolen credit card involves an act of fraud on top of theft, on top of the underlying theft of the card potentially.

Like most criminal statutes, the laws prohibiting using a stolen credit card vary from state to state. Some states have stricter penalties than others. Most states however do differentiate between when using a stolen credit card is a misdemeanor or felony. Sometimes, if the value of the goods or services purchased were below a certain threshold, a prosecutor can opt to charge a lesser crime, such as petty larceny or petty theft, which typically are misdemeanors. However, if the value exceeds the state’s misdemeanor threshold, or there were multiple cards involved, it is likely that felony charges will be brought.

The CEO of a popular classified ads website, Backpage.com, was arrested on Thursday on felony pimping of a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping, charges. CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested in Texas based upon the charges that California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed in California. The complaint alleges that Ferrer and Backpage.com have profited from the escort advertisements that get posted on Backpage.com by individual prostitutes, as well as escort services that are engaged in human trafficking.

Currently, Ferrer is being held on a $500,000 bond and will soon be extradited to California to face criminal chrages. Law enforcement is also currently investigating Ferrer and Backpage.com's offices in Texas. At this point, it is unclear whether Ferrer will also faces charges in a Texas court. If should also be noted, the two controlling shareholders of the site, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, currently have warrants issued for their arrest on similar charges.

White-collar criminals might not look like the typical gangster in TV or movies, but they are breaking the law nonetheless, and often doing serious financial damage in the process. Whether bilking your grandmother out of her retirement funds or embezzling from your retirement fund, white-collar crime can take many forms and is often perpetrated by people trusted with access and authority.

Here are seven of the biggest white-collar crime concerns right now:

Feds Indict 11 Polygamous Church Leaders for Food Stamp Fraud

Federal prosecutors this week indicted 11 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) for conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. They are accused of swindling millions of dollars from the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is intended to help low-income individuals and families buy food.

The accused are part of a polygamous sect living in Utah and South Dakota. Those already arrested on the fraud charges pled not guilty. But the church's founder, Warren Jeffs, is serving a sentence of life in prison on child sex abuse convictions and, NPR reports, many church members believe this latest move proves the federal government is persecuting them for their religious beliefs.

Things are going from bad to worse for price gouging pharma bro Martin Shkreli. Just days after he gained Internet infamy for jacking up the price of life-saving drugs some 5,000 percent, it was revealed that federal prosecutors are investigating Shkreli on criminal charges related to his former biotech company.

Shkreli allegedly admitted to owing his former company profits from insider information stock trading and is accused of misappropriation of company funds and defrauding shareholders.

What Happens When a Company Gets Indicted?

Like individuals, companies can be indicted if they violate criminal laws. So what happens when a corporation is criminally charged?

This has just happened to California's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric. The company is facing 12 federal criminal charges stemming from a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and leveled a suburban neighborhood. Prosecutors allege that the company didn't conduct required inspections that may have prevented the massive blast, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

So when a company like PG&E is criminally charged, what happens next? The answer will vary by case, but here are a few common questions and answers:

Banker Who Faked Own Death Busted by Window Tint

A Georgia banker who allegedly faked his own death in 2012 to escape massive wire and security fraud charges was caught and arrested on New Year's Eve.

To clarify, 47-year-old Aubrey Lee Price was apprehended during a routine traffic stop, not an existential one.

Will Price face criminal repercussions (on Earth) for faking his death?