White collar crime means an act took place. It doesn’t always mean it was a crime.
The first reaction a lot of people have when they read that someone was indicted for a crime is that they are guilty – otherwise they would not have been indicted. Therein lies the conundrum of the criminal justice system. “Just because a person was indicted for an act, doesn’t mean it was a crime. White collar crime is not like your typical street crime. The issue you’re dealing with for street crimes is whether or not the person charged is the person who committed the crime,” noted Miller Leonard, a Denver federal criminal defense lawyer and Denver state criminal defense attorney.
Let’s take a look at an interesting case about to make its way through the Denver courts. It deals with three men suspected of running a $5.7 million investment fraud scheme. The gist of the case is that the three allegedly defrauded 70 investors with promises that their investments in certain companies would be risk-free and pay off handsomely. “It appears, from the indictment, that they may have also neglected to tell their customers precisely how the money would be invested and used,” noted Leonard.
The government also alleges that the main perpetrator in this scam didn’t mention the investments were used to fund unsecured promissory notes and to pay legal fees when the notes went into default. The individual further, according to the indictment, did not disclose personal loans made directly to himself or commissions paid. The other two members are suspected of not telling investors how their funds would be used.
“There are seven counts involved in this case: five counts of securities fraud – material fact, one count of securities fraud – course of business and one count of theft, all of which are class 3 felonies. Now on the surface, this case sounds pretty much like a done deal. However, the question, again, is whether or not those actions are crimes,” Denver federal criminal defense lawyer and Denver state criminal defense attorney Leonard remarked.
In cases like this, the defense may make a case that the defendant’s actions were legitimate business ventures; ones that carried a significant risk for a large reward. “They may argue that there was no crime that took place, that the whole affair was nothing more than a case of buyer’s remorse when people lost money. Put another way, it is best to remember that there are two sides to every story or case, and that the person charged has the right to a vigorous defense,” stated Leonard.
To learn more, visit http://www.fedcrimdef.com or call 303.623.2721.