Commentators frequently lament the fact that Mississippi is at or near the bottom of most statistical lists when compared to other states. Guess what? We finally topped one. A recent article shows that the District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi is one of the most active federal district courts in terms of per capita white collar criminal convictions. Federal District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., based in Hattiesburg, was ranked second on the list of federal judges in terms of number of white collar convictions. So there is no shortage of white collar crime in Mississippi. In fact it is on the rise.
A white collar crime is a non-violent illegal activity, usually some type of theft, that involves deceit. White collar crimes are typically committed by business people or public officials, but depending on the crime, there is no stereotypical white collar criminal. We’ve been going through some difficult financial times lately, and Mississippi has been hit hard like everywhere else.
Does this mean there is more white collar crime in these bad times than in good times, when everyone is making money? Probably not. Check out this post from a former white collar criminal-turned authority on the subject. The analogy of “bodies floating to the surface” is colorful, to say the least.
White collar crimes include:
- Antitrust violations
- Economic espionage
- Extortion (blackmail)
- Falsifying business records
- Environmental law violations
- Money Laundering
- Corruption of Public Officials
- RICO violations
- Tax evasion
- Fraud, in all of its various forms, including:
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Financial fraud
- Government fraud
- Healthcare fraud – including Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
- Mail fraud
- Securities fraud
- Computer fraud
If you’ve been notified by the government that you are the target of an investigation, or your business gets an unfriendly visit from people bearing warrants, get a lawyer involved immediately. Never underestimate the power of the government when they want something. Once the prosecutor’s attention is focused on you, you are going to need help. White collar crime investigations can be long, drawn out, and devastating to their target. More than just jail time and fines are on the line. Your business reputation and career are at stake.
The goal of any representation in a white collar investigation or indictment should be “holistic” in nature, keeping your stress level down, and to minimizing the impact that the investigation or charges may have on you. These cases are sophisticated in nature, require lots of attention, and are always complex. Some free advice on the house - choose your lawyer wisely.