White collar crime often goes unreported by the mainstream media. There is little exciting or attention-grabbing in stories about someone altering their business records to avoid certain taxes or engaging in fraudulent billing practices intended to defraud government insurance programs. News programs will focus on “exciting” stories, such as violent crimes or celebrity divorces.
Because these crimes receive less coverage than violent crimes, many people may mistakenly believe that they won’t face criminal consequences for fraud and various white collar crimes. In reality, everything from tax evasion to Medicare and Medicaid fraud can and does result in criminal prosecutions across Texas every month.
Know the critical difference between fraud and negligence
One of the most important considerations for business owners and executives worried about poor financial records or tax obligations is whether there is evidence of intentional fraud. Mistakes in accounting happen every day. Placing a decimal in the wrong spot could be enough to mess up a company’s tax calculations.
Although your business can’t expect a free pass for accounting mistakes that results from underpayment of taxes, you likely won’t have to face criminal charges if you can prove it was an honest oversight or mistake. However, there could be substantial financial penalties on top of the taxes or other costs you previously failed to pay, including penalties, fees and interest.
On the other hand, if the financial records make it clear that you have manipulated your invoices, billed government insurance programs in a questionable manner or otherwise intentionally used misdirection, deception and lying for the financial gain of your business, you and people who work for you could face fraud charges.
Fraud is a serious crime in Texas
Just because you don’t hear much about fraud prosecutions in Texas doesn’t mean that they don’t happen. People from all kinds of professional backgrounds can wind up facing allegations of fraud for everything from misleading contracts to highly questionable and unreliable accounting practices.
Texas can and will bring criminal charges related to fraud in white collar cases. The charges someone will face will reflect the amount of money involved in the fraud allegations. Some people can find themselves facing felony charges due to fraud allegations in Texas.
It is possible to defend against allegations of white collar crimes
People may despair of proving their innocence when facing charges related to various white collar crimes. After all, there is probably a paper trail that implicates you.
The good news is that that same paper trails can actually help prove your innocence or at least establish that the issue was the result of a mistake and not intentional fraud. Consulting with an attorney who understands white collar crimes can help you established a strategy for defending yourself from fraud charges.