What Is White Collar Crime in South Carolina?

Most people associate crimes with violent actions, such as burglary or illegal gun use. However, many people who need a Greenville criminal defense lawyer did not commit a violent offense. Instead they are charged with a so-called white collar crime.

This article will explain what these crimes involve and the potential penalties you risk if you are convicted.

How is White Collar Crime Defined by the Law?

Although this is not an official legal classification, white collar is often used to define various criminal offenses which have the ultimate purpose of unlawful financial gain. The name refers to the typical image of a top level executive, wearing an impeccably starched white collar shirt.

Starting from this image – made popular by various television programs – you may imagine that only people handling a lot of money or business assets are charged with such crimes. In reality, anyone may be charged with a white collar crime even for small amounts, in the range of hundreds of dollars.

These are the most common forms of white collar crimes:

1. Credit Card Fraud

South Carolina law specifies various offenses which fall under the general term of credit card fraud. These offenses involve:

  • Theft of a card for financial transactions
  • Forgery of a card used for withdrawing cash or paying for purchases
  • Fraud involving the use of a financial transaction card
  • Possession of devices used to forge a financial transaction card
  • Receiving goods or services obtained by credit card fraud

The potential penalties for this offense range from one to five years in prison, depending on the facts of the case.

2. Forgery

In our state the term forgery covers a wide range of actions and types of conduct, such as:

  • Forging or counterfeiting any writing or instrument of writing
  • Publishing a forged document (which includes presenting a forged check to a store clerk)
  • Forging or altering a record or land plat
  • Causing another person to do all of the above
  • Helping another person to do all of the above

The penalties for forgery depend on the value:

  • No dollar value – misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison
  • Less than $10,000 – felony punishable by up to five years in prison
  • $10,000 or more – felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison

financial crimes are serious criminal offenses

3. Tax Evasion

Tax evasion is punished both by federal and state laws. The offenses and penalties are as follows:

  • Up to five years in prison for willfully trying to avoid state taxes or property assessments
  • Up to five years in prison for assisting someone in preparing a fraudulent tax return
  • Up to one year in prison for failing to pay an estimated tax, failing to file a tax return or supplying information required by law
  • Up to one year in prison for making false statements about taxes when required to make a statement under South Carolina law

If you were charged with tax evasion, talk to an experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyer to start fighting the charges.

4. Money Laundering

Money laundering charges are often tried in federal court, but they may also be tried under South Carolina criminal laws. This type of white collar crime involves:

  • Conducting financial transactions that involve proceeds from an unlawful activity
  • Transporting, transmitting or transferring a monetary instrument with the intent to commit an unlawful activity or with the intent to conceal proceeds from an unlawful activity

The penalties for this crime are based on the dollar amount, as follows:

  • More than $300 but less than $20,000 within 12 months: up to five years in prison
  • More than $20,000 but less than $100,000 within 12 months: up to 10 years in prison
  • $100,000 or more within 12 months: up to 20 years in prison

Consult with an Experienced Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer!

White collar crimes are treated very severely by South Carolina law and will result in many years in prison and a criminal record if you are convicted. For this reason, you cannot afford to underestimate the potential consequences of these charges.

At Baldwin Law, an experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyer will help you put up the best defense. We will push for the best outcome – from dropped charges to a lenient plea bargain.

Reach out to us as soon as possible after being charged and schedule a free case review at: 864-777-4615!

Read More Related Articles