There are two main ways crimes can be categorized in Texas: as a misdemeanor or a felony. Financial crimes can be categorized as either one depending on the amount stolen. Contact a white collar crime lawyer for advice specific to your case.
Ask a White Collar Crime Lawyer: Are Financial Crimes Typically Misdemeanors?
Misdemeanor financial crimes are those where less than $1,500 was stolen. If an individual stole or otherwise unlawfully acquired this amount or higher, then the crime will be classed as a felony. Usually, these types of crimes are felony white collar offenses.
What’s the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
The main difference between a misdemeanor offense and a felony offense is how serious the conviction is. However, both types of crimes can lead to a permanent criminal record. Penalties for both types of crimes include fines and jail or prison time.
Types of Misdemeanors
Class C misdemeanors are the least serious type of misdemeanor. They result in no jail time and fines that don’t exceed $500.
Class B misdemeanors have jail sentences of up to 180 days. The maximum fine for this type of crime is $2,000. You may receive both a jail sentence and a fine.
Class A misdemeanors can put you in jail for up to a year and can require you to pay a fine up to a maximum of $4,000. You may receive both jail time and a fine for this type of misdemeanor.
Types of Felonies
State Jail Felony
State jail felony fines can be up to $10,000 and have jail time of up to 2 years. You’ll be kept in a state jail rather than a federal prison.
Those who commit third-degree felonies can be fined up to $10,000 and be sentenced to prison time of up to 10 years.
Like third-degree felonies, secondary-degree felonies can carry a fine of up to $10,000. The maximum jail time for second-degree felonies is 20 years.
First-degree felonies typically have no fines involved, but they do have a penalty of being imprisoned for life or up to 99 years.
White-collar crimes will never be classed as capital felonies. Capital felonies are punished by imprisonment for life and even the death penalty.
What Dictates What Type of Misdemeanor or Felony My Crime Is Classed As?
The type of misdemeanor or felony your crime is classed as depends on:
- The amount stolen
- The amount someone was scammed out of
- The amount embezzled
- The value of stolen goods
- The overall circumstances
What Crimes Are Considered Financial Crimes?
1. Wage Theft
Wage theft is committed by employers who refuse or neglect to pay their employees benefits and wages the employees are entitled to. These types of crimes are unfortunately very common, and some years, over 20% of American employees report this happening to them.
Those who commit fraud trick victims into sending them money. This is often done using fake websites, fraudulent emails, and false marketing phone calls. It can also be committed by those who neglect to file income tax returns, falsely claiming they have no taxable income.
3. Ponzi Scheme
Ponzi schemes create environments designed to lure investors in. Investors are paid using cash from other investors that have gotten involved. It’s a cycle that repeats, with each investor paid using the investment from the last.
Stealing funds or assets that belong to a company or government is embezzlement. Records show embezzlement is done by managers 85% of the time. It’s not always money that’s stolen; stealing equipment such as computers, software, and even simple office gear is considered embezzlement.
Find out more about embezzlement by contacting an attorney for advice if you’ve been accused of this crime.
5. Money Laundering
People who engage in money laundering obtain funds from illegal sources. They then launder this money through fake businesses, casinos, and investments. In some cases, the initial sum that’s laundered has been stolen.
6. Forging Art
Art forgery is extremely common. With this crime, famous artworks are forged and sold for substantial sums. The person who purchased the forged art has been scammed and robbed of what they paid.
7. Wine Fraud
Similar to forgery, selling cheap wine masquerading as expensive pedigree wine or rare wine is one way people make large amounts of money. People selling fake high-pedigree wine can make thousands of dollars on a single bottle.
There are numerous ways to steal money and embezzle company funds or assets. These financial crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount of money or the value of the property stolen. Both felonies and misdemeanors can be punished by large fines and jail time/imprisonment.