Federal and Texas Securities Fraud Attorney
If you’ve been charged with securities fraud, you are likely very anxious about your future. The term “security” is a broad term including many different investments like bank notes, municipal bonds, corporate stocks, etc. When someone involved with these types of investments steals, lies, or cheats as a means of gaining a financial advantage, securities fraud charges could be filed. While securities brokers or corporations are often the targets of securities fraud investigations, individuals can also be charged with the offense.
While the federal government usually prosecutes securities fraud, every state has its own laws regarding this criminal offense as well. Charges of securities fraud require a highly experienced federal defense firm like Whalen Law Office. We will carefully analyze your charges and any evidence against you, then look for every hole or flaw in the prosecutor’s case. When you need a respected, knowledgeable securities fraud attorney, you need Whalen Law Office.
What is a White-Collar Crime?
White-collar crimes are usually those committed by those in the business world who are able to gain access to other people’s money as a result of their job position. Some examples of white-collar crimes include tax evasion, securities fraud, bank and wire fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, bribery, money laundering, identity theft, and embezzlement. Many people think white-collar crimes are not actually criminal offenses, but they absolutely are criminal offenses.
A white-collar criminal conviction can result in jail or prison time, along with extremely high fines. Beyond the criminal penalties of a white-collar conviction are the collateral damages. Your reputation can be damaged, along with your ability to obtain employment, or even rent a home. It is imperative that you have a strong securities fraud attorney whether you have been charged, or you believe you are under investigation. The sooner you have a criminal defense attorney from Whalen Law Office on your side, defending your rights, the better outcome you can expect.
What Does a White-Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?
If you are facing a securities fraud investigation or have already been charged with securities fraud, you must be extremely careful about what you say and do. The smallest mistake can have drastic consequences. Talking to investigators without legal representation could put you in a very precarious position that could have been avoided.
White-collar cases—including securities fraud cases—are very complex, requiring an effective defense strategy by someone with extensive knowledge of the laws and procedures of federal investigators and prosecutors. Whalen Law Office will provide aggressive legal representation during your investigation and prosecution, taking a strategic, proactive approach to your defense. We offer you the following:
- A comprehensive criminal defense for your white-collar crime
- A wide-ranging federal defense background
- Significant trial experience
- Knowledge of the laws pertaining to every criminal offense
- A personal commitment to each and every client
Securities Fraud Crime Facts and Statistics
According to the United States Sentencing Commission, 2021 securities and investment fraud cases actually decreased by 38.7 percent since 2017. Additional statistics regarding securities fraud include:
- Securities fraud is overwhelmingly committed by men (96.5 percent)
- About 70 percent of those charged with securities fraud are white
- 87.2 percent of those charged with securities fraud had little or no prior criminal history
- Sentences for those convicted of securities fraud tended to be minimal for those with only fringe amounts of participation in the offense
- 87.9 percent of those convicted of securities fraud were sentenced to prison, with an average sentence of 51 months
What is the Process for a Securities Fraud Defense Case?
An SEC investigation can be formal or informal—and an informal inquiry can quickly turn into a formal investigation. The SEC Enforcement Division will identify possible securities law violations using a wide variety of methods. They will then interview investors, co-workers, employees, and even employees of other companies. Brokerage records and trading data will be examined and analyzed, then the evidence will be comprehensively evaluated, and the “target” of the investigation will be interviewed.
The target’s (your) defenses will be considered, then the decision as to whether to formally file charges will be made. The best time to consult a securities fraud attorney from Whalen Law Office is as early in the process as possible. If you have even an inkling of the idea that you are being investigated for securities fraud, you need a skilled attorney who can step into the informal investigation early on, perhaps keeping it from becoming a formal investigation with charges filed against you. Your attorney can intervene, working with the Enforcement Division’s personnel, seeking a quick, positive outcome that does not include a trial or prison time.
What Are Federal Securities Fraud Penalties?
If you are charged with federal securities fraud, you are facing a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to twenty years in prison, three years of supervised release, and up to $5 million in fines. Any property obtained from the proceeds of the securities fraud offense can potentially be confiscated. The United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines assign a person convicted of securities fraud a “base offense level” between 6-36, which carries a guideline range of probation, of up to 33 months in prison. Any potential aggravating—or mitigating—factors will be taken into account during this sentencing. Unfortunately, probation is rarely given in federal cases, and a securities fraud conviction can potentially result in a higher sentence than 33 months, depending on the amount of the fraud.
What Are Potential Defenses to Securities Fraud?
While your defense to charges of securities fraud will be carefully crafted by your attorney, based on the specific facts and circumstances associated with your case, some of the more common defenses to securities fraud charges include:
- You had a good faith belief that any statements or promises you made were true
- You had no knowledge of a particular rule or regulation that you are alleged to have violated
- Substantial assistance can be claimed when you have provided assistance in the identification, arrest, or conviction of others engaged in securities fraud—i.e, you gave the prosecutors a “bigger fish” than yourself, therefore, you could receive probation rather than prison time.
- Law enforcement exceeded the scope of their authority by searching your vehicle, home, or property without your permission, and without a valid search warrant. If you were arrested without probable cause, your attorney may be able to have the charges against you dismissed.
What Are Some Securities Fraud “Red Flags”?
You may wonder what investigators of security fraud are looking for. Common violations that may lead to SEC investigations include:
- Manipulation of securities market prices
- Misrepresentation of securities information
- Theft of customers’ funds or securities
- Insider trading
- Sales of unregistered securities
- Violations of broker-dealers’ responsibility to treat customers fairly
If the specific misconduct warrants it, the federal government could bring civil and criminal actions.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for a Securities Fraud Case?
Securities fraud is an umbrella term that refers to crimes investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Since securities fraud is a federal crime with substantial penalties, having a knowledgeable securities fraud attorney is not an option, it is an absolute necessity. Investigators rarely reveal all the information they know, rather will use every tactic in their arsenal to extract information from those they are interviewing. You may not even realize you are the target of the investigation until it’s too late and you have already answered questions you should not have answered.
Having an experienced federal securities fraud attorney by your side, advocating for you at every turn, can make a significant difference in the outcome of the investigation. Whether you were involved in fraudulent activities or not, if you are approached by federal investigators, clearly tell them you have to speak to your attorney before you answer questions. Your attorney can help you prepare for your interview, investigate your charges, evaluate the evidence, and represent you against charges of securities fraud.
How Can a White-Collar Criminal Defense Attorney from Whalen Law Office Help?
When you are facing charges of securities fraud, you need someone in your corner who will strongly defend you throughout the process. When your freedom and personal reputation are on the line, your choice of legal representation really matters. At Whalen Law Office, we offer you an exceptional level of experience along with knowledge, skill, and concern for your well-being. We want you to have peace of mind concerning your future, knowing we will do everything in our power to defend you against these charges. With our comprehensive understanding of federal policies and criminal procedure, we will carefully guide you through the federal criminal process.
At Whalen Law Office we have the resources necessary to prepare a solid defense. Yet while we have the resources and networking of a large law firm, we offer you the compassion, personalized service, and consideration of a smaller law firm. Federal criminal charges are significantly different from state criminal charges and attorneys James Whalen and Ryne Sandel are ready to zealously defend you against charges of securities fraud. Contact Whalen Law Office today.