Traditionally, “white collar” criminal defense has meant the defense of federal and state criminal charges involving potential criminal conduct other than traditional street crime.
While the definition is still accurate, in recent years, the scope, variety and seriousness of white collar crime has expanded radically. New statutes — or old statutes that have seen sudden, renewed vigor in their enforcement — such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), have been added to the mix of federal white collar crimes. At the same time, the penalties for white collar offenses have become much more severe.
Corporate fines imposed now are routinely in the millions of dollars and frequently exceed $100 million. Individual sentences can approach and even exceed the sentences imposed for violent crimes, if the financial loss to victims is substantial. Moreover, corporations are increasingly put in the position, as a practical matter, of having to assist the government in investigating and prosecuting their own executives. The securities laws, in some circumstances, now require actual disclosure to the government when potential criminal activity is discovered. But even if such reporting is not required, failure by a company to disclose known criminal conduct can have serious adverse consequences.
Today, it is difficult to predict which matters will draw the attention of the government and how those matters will be investigated and resolved — which will be dropped, which will be prosecuted civilly, which will be prosecuted criminally. Sometimes matters initiated as civil investigations are ultimately viewed as criminal by the government and prosecuted criminally. Further, many cases which years ago might have been resolved with a sentence of probation now require imprisonment. Thus, even a decision to respond to questions by federal investigators (or even in-house counsel) without separate representation is risky. Any person ensnared in a criminal investigation, whether as a subject. target or a witness, needs to have experienced counsel to provide appropriate advice and guidance.
The firm provides expert advice in the most complex of white collar criminal investigations to both individual and companies. This advice is is based on 250 years of combined experience.