White-collar crimes are considered non-violent, but they are major crimes nonetheless and can carry severe penalties. It’s important to understand your options If you’re facing such a situation, and that means speaking with legal experts who have experience in this specialized field. Let’s take a look at some situations where it’s a good idea to hire a white-collar crime lawyer.

6 Situations Where You Might Need a White Collar Crime Lawyer 

1. You’re Concerned Your Company Is Doing Something Wrong

A large portion of white-collar crime is carried out at the corporate level, both by companies and the individuals who work for them. Corporations and employees can both be guilty of committing white-collar crimes, and in some cases, the employees end up going to prison simply because they followed their boss’s orders.

As with any potential crime, whether you had criminal intent or not, the key to protecting yourself is seeking legal advice as early as possible. If you have any suspicion that your company might be doing something illegal, it’s best to seek advice from a lawyer with experience in this field. White-collar crimes can be very technical in nature, and it’s often difficult to understand how the law is interpreted without professional counsel.

2. Your Company Is Being Investigated

Generally speaking, one of the first things investigators do once they’ve uncovered a potential corporate crime is to speak with employees at the company in question. This fact-finding mission often occurs before any accusations or arrests are made, but the information they obtain from employees at this stage can and does lead to arrests.

If investigators ask to speak with you in such a situation, it is highly advisable that you have an attorney present to avoid incriminating yourself. Just one small mistake can lead to disaster, and in addition to being present and offering guidance during the investigation, an attorney will prepare you beforehand on what to say and how to say it.

3. You Are Accused of Corporate Fraud

Corporate fraud is a broad term that refers to illegal activities undertaken by a company or individual, typically designed to enrich or give an advantage to the company or individual in addition to causing harm to investors or other outside parties. Some examples of corporate fraud include accounting schemes, insider trading, and the falsification of financial information.

If you are in the Houston area and are accused of any type of corporate fraud, whether as an individual or as part of a company, it’s important to speak with a Houston white-collar crimes lawyer as soon as possible. Corporate fraud is a very broad category, and you’ll want to seek expert advice on whether your involvement constitutes criminal activity.

4. You Are Accused of Embezzlement

Embezzlement refers to a person or entity who was entrusted with managing assets but then uses them for something other than what they were intended (i.e. transferring the assets to their own personal account). This is a serious offense, and it carries heavy legal penalties including fines and significant jail time.

If you are accused of embezzlement, no matter how much money or property was involved, it’s a good idea to protect yourself by consulting with a lawyer who has experience with this sort of crime.

5. You Were Part of a Ponzi Scheme

A Ponzi scheme is a type of fraud where investors are promised high returns on the funds they invest. These returns are in fact paid to early investors using the money obtained from new investors, but eventually, the supply of new investors dries up, leaving existing investors with significant losses.

Ponzi schemes tend to have certain characteristics in common. If you were involved in any business or activity that fits these characteristics, you would be wise to seek a white-collar lawyer to aid in your defense.

6. You Are Accused of Money Laundering

Simply put, money laundering is a crime that involves taking “dirty” money that was obtained from illegal activities and filtering it through a legal entity so it eventually becomes “clean” and looks like it came from legitimate financial activity.

Accountants and other employees with responsibility for managing a company’s funds can be found guilty of money laundering even if they didn’t realize they were doing anything illegal. If you are accused of this crime, your best defense is to seek professional counsel so you fully understand the case against you and how to avoid or minimize your legal exposure.

These are a few instances of potential white-collar crimes where you would benefit from hiring an attorney. With expert professional advice, you’ll be better prepared when speaking to investigators in addition to having a clearer understanding of what criminal liability you may be facing. If consulted early enough, a good lawyer can help minimize your sentence if you are found guilty, or may help avoid your liability altogether.