In cases of alleged white-collar crime, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit a crime for financial gain.
White-collar crimes include embezzlement, insider trading, money laundering, tax evasion, and many types of fraud including credit card, healthcare, insurance, computer, wire, and securities.
Government agencies, including the FBI, prosecute white-collar crimes. Defending against these assertions can be very complex, involving strategies such as the following.
This defense asserts that the defendant experienced coercion. He had no intention of committing a crime, but government or law enforcement representatives interfered in such a way that a normally law-abiding person would have committed the crime.
Absence of intent
The defendant did not intend to break the law. For instance, in a charge of tax fraud, he may have made an error in filing his taxes but did it unintentionally.
Lack of knowledge
Ignorance of the law is not a defense, but if the defendant acted in a plan with others and was not aware a crime was being committed, this defense may be useful.
Mistake of fact
The defendant reasonably believed facts that were not correct, causing him to commit a crime unawares. For instance, he thought the bottles contained water, not drugs.
The defendant received threats of immediate death or serious harm that he could not escape, and thus he chose to participate in the crime as a less-harmful alternative.
Amid the complexities of defending cases of alleged white-collar crimes, attorneys who formerly worked for the government but who now work to help the accused may bring useful insights.