White-collar crime in Oklahoma mainly includes offenses that have to do with financial and business matters and can range from simple offenses like writing a hot check to bank fraud totaling upwards of millions of dollars. The non-violent nature of these offenses may lead some to believe the punishments are not as severe as others, but this is certainly not the case. Depending on the offense and situation, white-collar crimes can also carry harsh jail and prison sentences—and that’s before the financial restitution aspect is even considered.
Understanding White-Collar Crime in Oklahoma
One of the most prevalent types of white-collar crime in Oklahoma is fraud—a deceitful practice or willful device, resorted to with the intent to deprive another of his right, or in some manner to do him an injury. Victims of fraud can include individuals, groups, companies, banks, and even governments, and the majority of offenses are prosecuted as felonies in state and federal court systems.
Although fraud is often a financial form of offense, other examples can include:
- Computer Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Bank fraud
- Mail Fraud
- Tax fraud
- Securities fraud
Theft is another common type of white-collar crime. While theft often involves money in white-collar cases, threats of violence may also occur.
Examples of white-collar theft include:
- Money laundering
- Tax evasion
- Identity theft
White-Collar Crimes in the Workplace
White-collar crimes are not restricted to individuals—businesses and corporations can also commit them. Unfortunately, when business entities commit such offenses, employees may end up being involved without knowing the severity of their actions, as they assume they are merely doing as an employer tells them. These scenarios can be made even worse if the employees talk with investigators without an attorney present—even if they think they are not liable and are merely trying to help clear the situation up.
White-Collar Crime Punishments in Oklahoma
Although some may see white-collar crimes as less severe and “victimless” when compared to violent crimes and property theft, prosecutors do not share these views. It’s common to see stiff sentences handed down in some cases.
For example, consider the punishments for embezzlement in Oklahoma, which is defined as the “fraudulent appropriation of another’s property which was legally obtained, to a purpose not intended or authorized by its owner, or hiding the property with the fraudulent intent to appropriate it under any one of a number of circumstances.”
- Value of property embezzled is less than $1,000.00: misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1000, up to one year in the county jail, or both.
- Value of property embezzled is between $1,000.00 and $2,499.00: felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison or one year in the county jail, a fine of up to $5,000.00, or both. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution (more on that below.)
- Value of property embezzled is between $2,500.00 and $14,999.00: felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $5000, plus any restitution.
- Value of property embezzled is over $15,000: felony, punishable by up to 8 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, plus restitution.
Furthermore, small amounts embezzled over time in accordance with a scheme can be aggregated into one crime, enabling prosecutors to seek stuff sentences.
Restitution is defined as the amount of money needed to restore what the victim lost as a result of the crime. Oklahoma is among a handful of states that allow restitution up to three times of what the victim initially lost. This means someone convicted of a crime requiring restitution will be ordered by the court to pay that money out-of-pocket either via lump sum or monthly payments—in addition to any other punishments such as incarceration. While tripled restitution payments are rare, judges are well within their rights to order them. Still, these decisions can be appealed before the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Don’t Face Your Charges Without Dedicated, Legal Expertise in Your Corner
First and foremost, if authorities are seeking to question you about white-collar-related crimes—even if it concerns your workplace and you feel as if you’ve done nothing wrong—do not answer any questions without an attorney present. However, if you have already been questioned, arrested, or charged, it is not too late to get expert legal help.
The lawyers at Overman Legal Group have years of experience in defending clients in both criminal and regulatory investigations. Our white-collar crime experts can swiftly piece together the facts and advise you on the nature of the immediate investigation and a long-term approach to appropriately navigate any and all related issues, supporting you every step of the way—both during and after any investigations.
Our dedicated, award-winning attorneys will always exhaust every resource on your behalf to secure a favorable outcome in your case.