How to Protect Your Business From Fraud Allegations

Business organizations must be able to protect themselves from fraud allegations and other accusations of criminal conduct. Human resources departments, legal affairs divisions, and information technology centers can help businesses protect themselves from fraud, malware, and other issues that can cause companies to lose productivity and revenue. 

Retaining a Seattle criminal defense attorney will help you learn about the scope of your legal rights as well as what you can do to protect your business. You have worked hard to develop your business, and you need to take the time to protect your business from fraud allegations. 

Understanding Fraud Allegations in Business 

One of the most important things to understand is how many different types of conduct are covered under Business Fraud. In essence, business fraud refers to a number of illegal activities performed with the intent to deceive a business or its stakeholders. The following are some common forms of business fraud: 

  • Insider trading 
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Misrepresentation of financial information
  • Falsifying financial records
  • Embezzlement 

These activities involve the intent to deceive, also known as scienter. Officers, boards of directors, and shareholders of corporations all need to understand the potential risks of being accused of fraudulent conduct. Every employee of a business organization is invested in that company’s reputation. Fraud allegations can tarnish a business’s reputation in a short amount of time. 

Executing Corporate Policies to Prevent Fraud

Specific internal policies can help protect the board of directors, officers, and shareholders by reducing fraudulent conduct from occurring inside the corporation. Specific procedural controls can help both upper-level management and lower-level management oversee fraud detection. Specific software applications and oversight controls can help the leaders of a corporation or other business organization stop fraud before it damages the business itself. 

Implementing Robust Internal Controls

Internal control procedures ensure that data is protected, employees are supervised, and fraudulent conduct is detected as early as possible. Data audits, quality control mechanisms, and oversight committees can regularly determine the nature and extent of fraudulent conduct. If you are interested in learning more about internal controls for businesses of all sizes, you can conduct research on security protocols and fraud detection in different industries. 

Training and Education of Staff

As the saying goes,  any system is only as good as the people who use it. Employees in a corporation or other business organization need to understand that they are responsible for exhibiting ethical behavior for the benefit of others. Consistent training modules and education for all sectors of an organization can make it more efficient and productive. 

Hire a Compliance Officer

A compliance officer will assess different factors to determine if it is possible that business owners are colluding and engaging in fraudulent behavior. Different industries have distinct compliance standards, but in general, compliance officers investigate businesses and public entities to ensure they are code-compliant. Business owners may violate municipal codes or zoning codes in their attempt to commit fraud. 

If you are searching for legal representation regarding any type of business litigation, contact Jennifer today to schedule a consultation.

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Accused of a White Collar Crime

White-collar crime is often misunderstood as a less severe or dangerous form of criminal behavior. However, this is a false assumption. Those who violate laws related to the buying and selling of securities often face lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. Typically, white-collar crimes involve violations of the Securities Exchange Act

It is vital that those who are accused of white-collar crimes avoid making mistakes that can increase their risk of facing criminal liability. Some of the most common mistakes can be avoided. Once you obtain legal representation, you can ask your Seattle white collar crimes attorney more questions about what you can do to enforce your legal rights. 

 Defining White Collar Crime

The term white-collar crime covers a broad array of criminal conduct. The legal concept of fraud is involved in many white-collar crimes. Essentially, white-collar crimes are those that occur when an individual or business organization acts fraudulently to achieve personal or financial gain. 

The following are some of the most common white-collar crimes prosecuted in the United States: 

  • Money laundering 
  • Bribery 
  • Embezzlement 
  • Corporate fraud 

These offenses are related to a range of behaviors. Corporate fraud occurs when an individual or business entity transgresses trade regulations or securities regulations. Embezzlement is a crime involving a person in a position of trust who converts that money for their own use. An individual is charged with bribery when they attempt to influence a government official by providing them with gifts. Lastly, money laundering is the act of transferring money from a criminal organization to a legitimate business. 

 Mistake #1: Ignoring the Seriousness of the Accusations

Those who are charged with white-collar crimes are often unfamiliar with criminal law. However, any person charged with a white-collar crime must comprehend the gravity of the situation. Individuals who are convicted of white-collar crimes face a diverse range of consequences, including substantial fines, prison time, loss of a professional license, and the loss of their reputation in the community in which they live. 

These consequences may affect a convict for the rest of their life. It is absolutely essential that you take any accusation of a white-collar offense seriously and that you do not think you will be given leniency due to your education or status in your field. 

Mistake #2: Overlooking the Impact of Evidence

Accused individuals often overlook the significance of documentary and digital evidence in white-collar crime cases. Financial transactions and communications leave extensive trails that can be used against you in court. Modern forensic technologies can uncover and analyze data you might think is hidden or deleted. Attempting to destroy or tamper with evidence can lead to further charges. It’s crucial to understand that all forms of communication and transaction are subject to scrutiny and to be transparent with your legal team about all potential evidence.

Mistake #3: Ignoring the Threat of Whistleblowers and Informants

Many do not fully appreciate the role that whistleblowers and informants can play in white-collar crime investigations. Insider information, often provided by employees or former employees, can be a key factor in initiating or advancing legal actions against you. Programs like the SEC’s whistleblower initiative offer incentives for individuals to report illegal activities, increasing the risk of being reported. Underestimating the impact of such informants can leave you unprepared for the evidence and testimonies they may bring forward.

Mistake #4: Volunteering Information Without Legal Counsel

You do not have to inform law enforcement officers of any details regarding your conduct. The case of Miranda v. Arizona created the rule that criminal defendants must be informed of their constitutional rights before being interrogated, or their oral statements could not be admitted as evidence at trial. Therefore, you do not have to volunteer information to any law enforcement official or any other person regarding the accusations you are facing. 

Mistake #5: Failing to Engage Legal Counsel

Any person accused of a white-collar crime needs to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. Attempting to face criminal charges without the assistance of counsel is a self-destructive act. An experienced white-collar criminal lawyer will be able to help you navigate the complexities of the system while doing everything in their power to enforce your legal rights. 

Do not hesitate to reach out to a white-collar criminal attorney in Seattle. You do not have to face the daunting task of defending yourself without a lawyer by your side. The sooner you retain legal counsel, the sooner you will be able to develop a sound case strategy. Although you may not have been charged with a criminal offense, you should not proceed with any action that may affect your legal rights until you speak to a criminal defense attorney in Seattle.

What to Do First When Faced With a Federal Criminal Charge

When you are charged with a federal offense, you may not understand what steps you need to take next. If you are seeking legal representation, you need to ensure that you retain a criminal defense lawyer who has tried federal cases in the past. 

Federal law is distinct from state law, and representing a criminal defendant in federal court is a highly specialized activity. Therefore, to ensure that your legal rights are enforced and protected, it is imperative that you search for a Seattle criminal defense attorney who possesses experience representing clients in federal court. 

1. Understanding the Seriousness of Federal Criminal Charges

Any indictment by the federal government must be taken seriously. You may have been arrested on a federal warrant and charged with a federal crime. You are not being prosecuted by a single state but by the United States of America. The federal government’s economic and political power is massive, and it is in your best interest to do everything within your power to defend yourself in federal court. 

The sentencing phase of a federal criminal trial can be intimidating for many criminal defendants. The sentencing guidelines used by judges in federal courts have a wide range of sentences. If you are convicted of a federal crime, you will face serious consequences, including multiple years of imprisonment, fines, and the loss of your right to vote. If you want to learn more about the possible repercussions of being convicted of violating federal law, then you should seek out a Seattle criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

2. Knowing Your Rights as an Accused

Miranda v. Arizona is one of the most important Supreme Court cases in the American judicial system. Individuals who are arrested or placed in custodial interrogation have the following rights available to them: 

  • The right to remain silent 
  • The right to an attorney

If an arrestee is not Mirandized then the statements they make cannot be admitted as evidence against them at trial. Essentially, it is important for you to know that you are not required by law to speak to federal officers or state officers if you have been accused of a crime or placed in custodial interrogation. You can invoke your right to remain silent and you can invoke your right to an attorney. You can ask for an attorney at any time during the investigation. Therefore, you should remember that these rights are available to any person who is arrested, accused of a crime, or placed in custodial interrogation by state officials or federal officials.

3. What Not to Do When Faced With Federal Charges

Many criminal defendants make mistakes when they are first arrested or placed in custodial interrogation by federal officers. Do not make these same mistakes, which can put you at risk of being convicted of a federal offense: 

  • Speaking to a federal officer without an attorney present 
  • Not obtaining legal representation for your defense 
  • Using social media to post information about your case 
  • Failing to understand the charges being brought against you 

The two most important things you can do to protect yourself during any criminal investigation are to remain silent and to seek out legal representation. Once you have a lawyer who can give you legal advice you will be in a better position to understand your own legal rights and to invoke those rights to be able to protect yourself. 

4. The Role of an Attorney in Your Defense

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you enforce your legal rights. Also, a criminal defense attorney will be able to negotiate with prosecutors to help you possibly enter a plea deal which can help you avoid harsher punishments. However, the effect a lawyer can have on your case depends on the facts associated with the criminal offenses related to the case. 

5. Preparing Your Defense

Individuals who are accused of a federal offense need a criminal defense attorney by their side. A good criminal defense lawyer will do the following: 

  • Investigate the facts of your case and the evidence used to support your arrest or detainment 
  • Interview witnesses, obtain copies of police reports and investigative reports 
  • Cross-examine witnesses 
  • File motions to have evidence suppressed so it cannot be used against you 
  • Represent you during trial and voice objections which will be reserved on appeal 

It is imperative to understand how important it is to seek out and speak to a criminal defense attorney about the options available to you for your defense. You do not want to stand up to the power of the federal government without a lawyer to protect your legal rights. If you want to learn more about the powerful influence a skilled lawyer can have on your case, then contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney today.

Understanding Federal vs State Crime in Washington

One of the most important components of the American legal system is the idea of dual sovereignty. Essentially, the federal government wields power and the state governments wield power simultaneously. A criminal defendant can be tried and convicted for a crime by the federal government and then tried and convicted for the same crime by a state government. It is necessary for criminal defendants to understand this aspect of the criminal justice system so they can prepare the best defense available to them, which is why having a Seattle criminal defense attorney is critical.

Understanding the Legal Framework: State and Federal Jurisdictions

Federal jurisdiction is distinct from state jurisdiction in the American legal system. Jurisdiction refers to the power the court has to hear specific matters. Personal jurisdiction, for example, refers to the court’s power over the individual defendant in the case. Subject matter jurisdiction refers to the power the court has to hear a specific kind of case. 

Federal jurisdiction and state jurisdiction are both operative in some criminal matters. Bankruptcy law and immigration law are two areas that are exclusively federal, but this is not the case with criminal law. State statutes and federal statutes may both be relevant in a criminal prosecution. A state may assert jurisdiction in a federal case. However, the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over Washington, D.C., national parks, and tribal territories. Criminal acts which occur in these areas are prosecuted exclusively by the federal government. 

 Differences in Law Enforcement: State Police vs. Federal Agencies

Federal agencies such as the FBI, the DEA, and the ATF often assist state and local agencies with criminal investigations in cases that cross state boundaries. Also, organized crime investigations typically involve federal agencies because these enterprises are international in scope. State agencies may investigate local crimes without the assistance of the federal agencies. 

Federal agencies work closely with other administrative agencies and divisions of the federal government, including the Department of Justice. Many federal agencies collaborate on multi-dimensional cases that involve numerous jurisdictions and criminal offenses. Often, these cases take years to prosecute. 

The Prosecution Process: State vs. Federal Courts

The most important difference between state and federal prosecutions for criminal offenses is the presence of the grand jury. Grand juries are conducted in secret, and many of the rights and privileges available to witnesses do not apply in the federal grand jury. Once a grand jury hears evidence presented by the prosecutor the grand jurors will issue a true bill and this is an indictment that is then used to initiate the federal prosecution of a criminal defendant or criminal enterprise. 

Prosecution in the state court typically begins with either an arrest in a public place for a criminal offense, or an arrest made with a warrant. For an arrest warrant to be valid it must be signed by a neutral and detached magistrate, and be attested to by a law enforcement agent or other official that probable cause exists to arrest the individual named in the arrest warrant. 

Applicable Laws: State Laws vs. Federal Statutes 

State laws are typically statutory. However, the Model Penal Code is a model used by many state legislatures to revise and update their individual criminal codes. Federal law is codified in the United States Code. Specific statutory provisions in this code are used to prosecute criminals in federal court. The federal government can preempt state law in a specific area, so typically offenses involving terrorism are prosecuted exclusively by the federal government. 

State laws are more focused on the unique geographical, cultural, and sociological differences between the states. For example, rural areas and urban areas may contain different types of criminal activity which demand that state law enforcement officers be trained in a specialized manner. 

Double Jeopardy: Understanding the Dual Sovereignty Doctrine

Dual sovereignty permits both the federal and state governments to prosecute one criminal defendant for the same offense. Double jeopardy is a constitutional protection that only applies when a criminal defendant is prosecuted twice by the same sovereign for the same offense. 

Power in the United States legal system is diluted, separated, and spread out among innumerable entities and individuals. A clear example of this is the separation of powers in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. This same principle applies to state sovereignty and federal sovereignty. 

Each state has its own constitutional provisions and rights that coexist with the federal constitution. All jurisdictions also have their own criminal codes. Both the states and the federal government have the legal right to prosecute an individual for the same offense because the criminal defendant may have violated state and federal statutes by committing a single offense. 

Protect Your Rights with Expert Legal Guidance

Facing criminal charges in state and federal jurisdictions requires experienced guidance. Jennifer Horowitz, a seasoned Seattle criminal defense attorney, is ready to navigate these complexities on your behalf. Her expertise in both state and federal courts ensures a robust defense tailored to protect your rights and achieve the best outcome. Schedule a consult with Jennifer Horowitz and safeguard your future.