The term white-collar crime came about in 1939 to describe any crime committed by persons of high social status during their course of business.
These days, the FBI uses white-collar crime to encompass illegal acts such as fraud, embezzlement and insider trading. If the FBI or other government agency arrests you for allegedly committing one of these crimes, you have defenses to help you prove you did not knowingly or willingly break the law.
1. Lack of intent
When accusing someone of a white-collar crime, prosecutors must show that person intended to carry out the crime of fraud or embezzlement. If you can prove you did not intend for the action to happen or there is another reason for you to commit the crime, you may have a valid defense of lack of intent.
Entrapment is the most common defense of white-collar crime and occurs when a government official coerces or harasses you into doing the crime. Entrapment is an affirmative defense in Texas. This means the burden is on you to bring evidence and to justify your reason for the offense.
Duress, or coercion, is a valid defense against the alleged commission of a white-collar crime. You must prove that a reasonable person in your position would have committed the crime. In addition, there are elements to show proof of duress. These include:
- Threat of death or serious bodily injury
- Fear that a person will carry out the threat
- No opportunity to get away except by committing the crime
Even though you may admit to the crime, you have defenses that may keep you from seeing prison time or paying thousands of dollars in fines.