At Hilder & Associates P.C., our white collar crime defense attorneys are dedicated to providing individually tailored legal solutions in the areas of white collar criminal defense litigation, internal investigations, and corporate compliance.
Every company is different. Every client is unique. Every case or investigation requires attention to the specific facts and circumstances involved. We work closely with you, one-on-one, to develop a strategy designed to deliver the legal services and legal solutions that are right for your situation. With a focus in white collar criminal defense, our clients include individuals, companies, and corporate officers.
White collar crimes are serious matters. These cases are often complex and difficult to maneuver. In addition, due to high-profile white collar cases in recent years, offenders are often judged harshly by the courts and the media. As a result, individuals charged with white collar crimes often face severe sentencing with very little leniency.
If you are facing any type of white collar charge, skilled legal representation is a crucial component of your defense. An experienced, specialized white collar crime attorney at your side, can assist in a possible reduction or elimination of your charges.
Elite White Collar Crime Attorneys in Houston, TX
Our Houston white collar crime attorneys have broad and diverse backgrounds with extensive experience in nation-wide white collar criminal law and corporate governance, including compliance. If you become the target of government investigators for alleged administrative or legal violations, including financial, import-export, record-keeping, or environmental violations, the government will enlist enormous resources to build a case against you.
Hilder and Associates, P.C is a Houston, TX based white collar crime firm that has been representing individuals charged with white collar crimes for over 30 years. Our team has a wealth of experience in this area of law because we know the impact white collar charges have on the individuals who face them and how difficult these charges can be to defend.
Attorney Philip H. Hilder is a prominent authority in this area of law and other white collar crime attorneys turn to him for advice and counsel. He has appeared on national television programs, news segments, and documentaries, sharing his extensive knowledge in the area of white collar crime.
Our law firm will provide you with a team of professionals, including attorneys, investigators, forensic accountants, former government investigators, and support staff dedicated to making sure you have the information and advice you need, and to making sure your rights are always safeguarded.
What Are White Collar Crimes?
White collar crimes encompass a wide range of offenses that are typically non-violent in nature but involve fraudulent activities, deceit, or abuse of authority within professional or business settings. These crimes are commonly committed by individuals such as executives, government officials, professionals in finance or accounting, or employees in positions of trust.
The motivation behind white collar crimes often revolves around financial gain. Individuals may engage in activities such as embezzlement, insider trading, money laundering, securities fraud, tax evasion, bribery, or corporate fraud. These offenses can have far-reaching consequences, impacting not only the individuals involved but also businesses, investors, and the overall economy.
Unlike the depiction of criminal activities in popular TV shows, white collar crimes do not always involve dramatic confrontations or physical violence. Instead, they require a deep understanding of complex laws, regulations, financial systems, and legal procedures. This complexity can often leave those accused of white collar crimes feeling confused, overwhelmed, and unsure of how to navigate the legal process effectively.
Safeguarding Your Reputation and Liberty
At Hilder and Associates, our team of experienced white collar defense attorneys recognizes the challenges and stress faced by individuals confronting white collar charges. We work to demystify the intricate legal processes associated with white collar crimes, ensuring that our clients fully comprehend the nature of the charges against them, the potential consequences, and the available defense strategies.
With our extensive knowledge and expertise, we provide personalized and dedicated representation to clients facing a variety of white collar charges. Whether it’s defending against allegations of fraud, conducting thorough investigations, negotiating with prosecutors, or crafting a strong defense strategy, our attorneys are committed to safeguarding our clients’ rights, reputations, and liberties.
At Hilder and Associates, we strive to alleviate the confusion and stress often associated with white collar crimes. By guiding our clients through the legal complexities, providing clear explanations, and offering strategic counsel, we empower them to make informed decisions and confidently navigate their legal proceedings. Our goal is to walk clients through this nerve-wracking process, protect their interests, and restore their peace of mind during challenging times.
Embezzlement occurs when an employee or individual in a place of power or trust has withheld money, property, or other assets for their own purposes. Embezzlement often occurs in corporate settings but can appear in lower level employment sectors as well. Many times, embezzlement cases originate with bank tellers, payroll clerks, managers, and other such employees who have access to money and company resources.
Embezzlement also commonly occurs at the hands of accountants. Accounting embezzlement involves changing or manipulating financial records to cover up illegal withdrawals or misuse of funds.
Money laundering is a criminal offense involving the process of making illegally obtained proceeds appear legitimate and “clean” by disguising their true origin. It is a critical component of various white collar crimes, including fraud, drug trafficking, corruption, and organized crime activities.
For example, drug suppliers often open small, unassuming businesses to create fake records and tax accounts. This way, it appears that the money is legitimately earned rather than acquired through illegal drug trafficking.
The process of money laundering typically involves three stages: placement, layering, and integration.
Money laundering poses a significant threat to the integrity of financial systems, as it allows criminals to enjoy the proceeds of their illegal activities while maintaining the appearance of legitimacy. Consequently, governments and law enforcement agencies worldwide have implemented stringent regulations and laws to combat money laundering.
If you or your business are facing allegations of money laundering, it is essential to seek the assistance of experienced white collar crime defense attorneys. They can analyze the specific circumstances of your case, evaluate the evidence against you, and develop a robust defense strategy. Whether challenging the legality of the investigation, scrutinizing the evidence, or negotiating with prosecutors, skilled defense attorneys can protect your rights in a money laundering case.
Federal Mortgage Fraud
Federal mortgage fraud describes a situation in which either a mortgage lender or borrower lies, omits information, misrepresents information, or otherwise falsifies records regarding mortgage loans. For example, a borrower might commit federal mortgage fraud by filing a falsified W-2 form to prove their income. This results in a mortgage loan that is not supported by the borrower’s true income. In many cases, the borrower may not have received a mortgage loan at all if they had provided the correct information.Alternatively, a mortgage lender may create a home appraisal form that shows a value much higher than the actual worth of the home in order to justify a more substantial loan.
Bank fraud often occurs when an individual attempts to obtain money from a bank or its patrons with incorrect or inaccurate information. These false pretenses vary from situation to situation. Sometimes criminals will pose as an official from a bank or financial institution. Other times, they may try to contact bankers or patrons to obtain account information from them.
Health Care Fraud
Healthcare fraud is a type of white collar crime that involves intentionally deceiving or defrauding healthcare systems, insurers, or government healthcare programs for personal financial gain. This form of fraud encompasses a range of illegal activities committed by individuals or organizations within the healthcare industry.
Healthcare fraud often revolves around the falsification or manipulation of medical information or billing records in order to obtain financial reimbursement or benefits to which one is not entitled. It can occur in various areas of the healthcare system, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers, laboratories, and even individual healthcare practitioners.
There are several common forms of healthcare fraud, including:
Billing Fraud: This occurs when healthcare providers submit false or inflated claims to insurers or government healthcare programs. It may involve charging for services not provided, exaggerating the severity of a condition, or unbundling services to maximize reimbursement.
Prescription Fraud: This involves the illegal distribution or sale of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. It may include forging prescriptions, “doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions for the same medication, or operating pill mills where prescriptions are issued without a legitimate medical purpose.
False Documentation: Healthcare fraud can involve creating or altering medical records, test results, or patient information to support fraudulent claims. This may include fabricating diagnoses, exaggerating symptoms, or forging signatures.
Kickbacks and Referral Fraud: In some cases, healthcare providers may receive illegal kickbacks or inducements in exchange for referring patients or purchasing certain medical products or services. This practice compromises the integrity of medical decision-making and can lead to unnecessary treatments or services.
Medicare or Medicaid Fraud: These government healthcare programs are frequent targets of fraud due to the vast amount of money involved. Fraudulent schemes may include submitting false claims, billing for services not rendered, or identity theft to access healthcare benefits.
Healthcare fraud is taken seriously by law enforcement agencies, and the penalties for conviction can be severe, including fines, restitution, and imprisonment.
If you are facing allegations of healthcare fraud, it is crucial to seek the assistance of our experienced white collar crime defense attorneys. They can assess the specific details of your case, challenge the evidence against you, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your circumstances. By protecting your rights and advocating on your behalf, our skilled fraud defense attorneys can help you navigate your best options for legal proceedings.
Other White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes make up a large area of law, and there are many other examples of these offenses. White collar crimes may include:
- Mail and wire fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Securities fraud
- Tax evasion
- Cyber fraud
- Theft of intellectual property
- Bribery and corruption
- Trafficking of illegal goods or humans
If you are charged with any of the above crimes, it is critical to contact the experienced white collar crime defense lawyers at Hilder & Associates, P.C.
Why Do I Need A Houston, TX White Collar Crime Attorney?
Though there are no medical bills or property damage to account for, white collar crimes can inflict financial damages on persons, businesses, and even the government itself. For this reason, the court takes white collar crimes seriously and prosecutes them accordingly.
You need a Houston, TX white collar crime attorney at your side to help minimize the damage these charges can have on your life. Without an attorney, you will stand little chance of arguing against the court, government entities, and their teams of seasoned attorneys. You will likely struggle to identify oversights, procedural errors, and other flaws in the prosecution’s case against you—as a result, you are more likely to experience the full extent of the associated penalties.
To prevent this outcome, you need an experienced white collar crime attorney to represent you. Having representation who has a deep understanding of the laws surrounding white collar crimes is your best hope at avoiding or minimizing charges.
Potential Penalties For White Collar Crimes
Individuals who are convicted of white collar crimes can expect one or more of the following penalties:
- House arrest or community confinement
Because most white collar crimes are charged as felonies, imprisonment is a standard penalty. In fact, most individuals convicted of a white collar crime will go to prison, followed by or in conjunction with one of the other listed options.
Texas state-wide has instituted general penalty guidelines for white collar crimes involving embezzlement. These guidelines may be applied to other white collar cases as well, if the amount stolen involves:
Theft of $1,500-$20,000
This range is the lowest tier eligible for felony charges. Texas categorizes this as a “state jail felony.” This means a conviction will result in 180 days to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Theft of $20,000-$100,000
This tier is classified as a third degree felony. Individuals charged in this category can expect 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Theft of $100,000-$200,000
Theft of up to $200,000 is considered a second degree felony. Individuals charged in this tier can expect up to $10,000 in fines along with 2-20 years in prison.
Theft Amounting To More Than $200,000
At this level, the state may charge you with a first degree felony. The fine remains up to $10,000 and comes with a prison sentence of 5-99 years.
It is also important to note that reparations may be part of the final sentencing. If convicted, you must repay the money that you obtained in addition to any fines assessed by the court. Though the fines for each of these amounts remain at $10,000, you will owe much more if the court demands reparations.
Potential Defenses Against White Collar Crimes in Texas
Many people facing white-collar charges feel as though there is no hope in their case. It is easy to feel this way when the FBI or other federal government organizations arrive at your home or business with a subpoena. However, Hilder & Associates believes there is more hope in these situations than you may expect. Our Houston white-collar crime attorneys have been defending clients against these charges for many years, with a significant level of success for our clients.
When we are crafting your defense, we consider many potential angles depending on the details of your case. Some potential defenses for white-collar crimes include:
- Coercion. If you were forced or manipulated into committing your crimes, we can counter your charges with the defense of duress or coercion. You may not be held responsible if you were being abused or manipulated to commit the crime.
- Incapacity. Sometimes, individuals are charged with a crime that they could not possibly have been mentally or physically capable of committing. For example, if you are charged with embezzlement but do not understand what embezzlement is—or are somehow mentally inhibited—we may be able to argue your case on the basis of incapacity.
- Intoxication. If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you committed the crime, the court may reduce your sentence.
- Insanity. If you were suffering from a mental illness episode during the time of your crime, you may be able to plead insanity.
- Entrapment. Law enforcement, even federal organizations like the FBI, must follow certain protocols while gathering evidence and information. If a law enforcement agent coerced you to commit the crime before arresting you, or if they came about your confession unlawfully, we will plead entrapment on your behalf.
There may be other elements of defense available in your case, depending on its circumstances. The best way to develop a strong defense is to hire a trustworthy white collar crime attorney.
What To Expect From A White Collar Crime Attorney
Of course, your white collar crime attorney will be responsible for researching the circumstances of your case, assembling evidence, and drafting and creating your defense. This is the job of most attorneys, regardless of the subject of the case. However, when it comes to white collar crimes, an internal investigation may result as well, which can take significant time and effort.
Aside from the elements of your defense, there are a few things you should expect from a working relationship with your attorney:
Counsel Should Listen To You
Though many white collar crime defense attorneys are tasked with arguing multiple cases during their time in the industry, you should feel as if you have their full attention. White collar charges are serious, and it is important for your attorney to be sympathetic to your position. They must also understand that your case is unique, even though they have faced many similar cases.
Counsel Should Communicate
In some scenarios, individuals who are charged with crimes are held in jail or prison until their trial. Whether you are being held by the government or are released on bail, your attorney should effectively and regularly communicate with you. They should keep you informed regarding their work on your case and any progress that may be occurring. If you don’t feel like you can speak openly with your attorney, or if you feel as though they have failed to give you sufficient updates, you may need to search for different legal representation.
Counsel Should Have A Strong Background
White collar crimes are extremely serious and involve a complex set of laws. Most attorneys cannot successfully navigate these cases without proper training and significant exposure. Thus, it is important to ensure that your attorney has a strong background in white collar crime law. Ask about their case record—especially regarding cases similar to your own—and whether those cases ended positively for their clients. They may have references for you to contact as well, and it is a good idea to do so. You must feel reassured that your attorney is capable of winning your case.
Counsel Should Have A Positive Reputation
Though attorneys regularly argue against one another in court, most show respect and admiration when it is due. Thus, your attorney’s peers should respect them, both inside and outside the courtroom. Take the time to contact other white collar crime attorneys in Houston and Texas state-wide. Ask if they have heard of your attorney and for any impressions, they may have developed. This can give you incredible insight into your attorney’s character and level of professionalism and allow you to determine whether they’re someone you want to work with in such a high-stakes environment.
They Should Be Within Your Budget
Of course, you want to invest in an attorney who can help you win your case. However, it is important to ensure that your attorney fits within your financial situation. Remember, you may be facing reparations and fines. In addition, the government may seize your home and some of your assets, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. Discuss finances with your white collar crime attorney before you agree to work with them.
How To Appeal A Conviction For White Collar Crimes
If your defense has failed and you were convicted of a white collar crime, you may still have hope. Appeals for federal crimes like white collar crimes can occur.
It is essential to understand that appeals are not retrials. In order to appeal, you must show the court that something went fundamentally wrong with the court proceedings during your initial case. The best way to appeal your case is to consult with your attorney and determine if any of these issues occurred. If something went wrong, your white collar crime attorney will help construct your appeal.
Unfortunately, federal appeals take a significant amount of time to initiate and argue and do not always work. Your attorney can guide you regarding your best opportunity for returning to a normal life.
Contact Hilder and Associates, P.C.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, it is natural to feel stressed, frustrated, and even helpless. However, the team here at Hilder & Associates has been advocating for those charged with white collar crimes for many years. Our experienced white collar crime attorneys can give you the best chance of a positive future, We serve clients all over the country and can assist you wherever you may need legal aid.
At Hilder & Associates, P.C., our accomplished attorneys will assist you in performing your own investigation, protecting your rights, and defending you against the overwhelming power of the state and federal governments. We will work tirelessly to investigate your case and advocate for you.
For more information about white collar crime defense or to schedule a consultation, please contact us via email or at 713-881-9876.