White Collar Offenses

The rise of the Internet Age has made it possible to conduct practically any aspect of daily business activity by using a home computer, a laptop, tablet computer or even a smart phone. While there is no doubt that the convenience of using such devices is an important part of the modern business world, the rise of electronic commerce has led to an increase in what is commonly identified as a white collar crime.

What is a White Collar Crime?

White collar crimes can be defined as a non-violent criminal act that is usually committed during the course of financial transactions. It can also be any exchange of money for the purpose of inducing one party to grant some unlawful consideration to another party. In Texas, the more frequently encountered white collar crimes include:

  • Embezzlement
  • Identity theft for purposes of credit card fraud
  • Bribery
  • Forgery
  • Bank and/or wire fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion
  • Deceptive tactics in multi-level marketing
  • Conspiracy to commit any of the above crimes

As mentioned, the majority of white collar crimes involve the alleged misuse or misdirection of money or other financial instruments such as promissory notes, common and preferred stocks, certificates of deposit and money orders. In response to the upsurge in white collar crimes, state and federal authorities have enacted an almost literal mountain of laws and regulations governing financial transactions. Most of these laws and regulations are defined as felonies and are so complex that a white collar lawyer is needed to translate them to a suspect.

Defending White Collar Crimes

Although there are many instances in which a white collar crime is a deliberate, planned act, there are also many cases in which innocent mistakes or simple lapses in judgment have led to people being charged with crimes of this type. When such charges are made, it is vitally important that the accused contact a defense attorney with considerable experience in defending against these charges


Embezzlement is when an employee withholds or steals money from their employer. This can be done in a variety of ways, including:

  • Taking money from the cash register
  • Forging financial documents
  • Transferring money from the empl-oyer to one’s personal account
  • Concealing important information

Any time that a person works to financially gain from their employer by illegal means, it is considered embezzlement. If a business owner suspects one of his employees, he will often initiate an investigation to find out who is responsible.

Embezzlement Penalties

Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code covers all charges and sentences associated with this type of crime. Some of the charges the accused could be facing include:

  • Misdemeanor: Any amount stolen up to $1,499.99 will be charged in this way. Penalties for this charge include up to one year in jail.
  • State jail felony: Any amount between $1,500 and $19,999.99 can earn a defendant a sentence of up to two years in a state jail.
  • Third-degree felony: This covers thefts of $20,000 to $99,999.99. The sentencing for this charge is two to 10 years in prison.
  • Second-degree felony: Embezzlement of $100,000 to $199,999.99 is charged this way. This can bring a sentence of two to 20 years in state prison.
  • First-degree felony: This is the most serious charge associated with this crime and covers amounts over $200,000. A person who is convicted of this charge can spend five to 99 years in prison.
  • Those whose employment is considered to be in a public servant capacity will face stronger charges. This is because those placed in the public’s trust are held to a higher standard than those in the private sector.

Proving Intent

There are certain scenarios that must be proven for a case to be charged as embezzlement. Many employees may simply make mistakes, but this does not prove guilt. The prosecution must show that the defendant had the intent to actually steal from their employer. They also must show how the defendant gained or intended to gain financially from their activities. A skilled embezzlement defense attorney will examine the details of the case and show that this is not always the case. This can lead to a reduction in the charges or a dismissal of the case.

Identity Theft

Recently, the crime of identity theft has rapidly evolved into one of most aggressively prosecuted offenses in Texas. The potential for this type of offense grows with every change in technology, along with the population’s reliance on credit cards and the internet. For anyone charged with identity theft, the accusations can cause permanent damage to both their private and professional lives. In these situations, it is important to take quick and decisive legal action in order to protect your rights and liberties.

Experienced Identity Theft Defense

In the event that you are facing accusations of identity theft, a seasoned Houston Identity Theft attorney may be your best hope in protecting your future. The staff at the Gilligan Law Firm is experienced in Texas identity theft law and is prepared to help you at this critical time in your life.

There are several different methods of identity theft with differing consequences for each type. The repercussions vary drastically, depending on factors such as:

  • The manner in which the offense occurred and if it was carried out in an aggravated fashion.
  • If the money or merchandise that were acquire were used to perpetuate additional criminal acts or terrorism.
  • How much money or the value of property that was acquired.
  • The specific involvement of every party involved if it was a group theft.

Those who have been convicted of an identity theft offense could face incarceration, probation, fines, victim reimbursement, and a permanent criminal record. Any of these punishments have the potential to have a negative effect on a person’s personal and professional reputation. A conviction could also affect your ability to obtain a post-secondary education or a place to live.


In a society where a person’s identity bears extraordinary weight, the prosecutions of Texas forgeries are on the rise. Forgery can take on many forms including false signatures on checks or credit cards, fake money, or false identification documents. Prosecutors take these crimes very seriously and they can result in harsh penalties such as prison time, probation, and restitution.

If you are facing forgery allegations, be sure to act quickly to find a knowledgeable Houston forgery defense attorney who can protect your rights. At the Gilligan Law Firm we provide vigorous and experienced defense against Forgery cases in the Houston area. We aim to keep our clients informed and involved to ensure an effective defense against charges such as:

  • Check fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Forged currency
  • Welfare fraud
  • Forged Identification or other legal documents

The penalties for a forgery conviction are severe, even for a first offender. A conviction can result in extensive jail time, steep fines, and restitution. A permanent criminal record can also have negative effects on your employment, educational opportunities, and residence. With these penalties in mind, anyone accused of this type of offense needs an aggressive Houston defense attorney on their side to ensure that they are protected.

Our staff is determined to provide premium services based on our Houston client’s individual needs. We strive to find every option which will lead to a successful resolution of your case. The Gilligan Law Firm has investigators and analysts on staff that will examine your case and find important discrepancies that may exonerate you. If a conviction is inevitable, we can negotiate a sentence with minimum jail time.

Please contact the Gilligan Law Firm to schedule a FREE consultation at (713) 529-9200