White Collar Crimes

Perhaps more than any other areas of criminal law in the past five years, white collar crimes have become politically fashionable for state and federal prosecutors to pursue. Because of the severe economic downturn in our economy, many more business-related, or white collar crimes, have been filed. They are often charged as thefts, frauds or criminal conspiracies. Frequently these are paper-intensive cases that may involve many transactions, multiple defendants and complex laws such as the Colorado Organized Crime Acts (COCA) or the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

While some of these cases are truly thefts, frauds or criminal conspiracies, many others are no more than failed business efforts, after-the-fact blaming of legitimate business risks, or cases which are more properly civil matters but which have been pursued for political reasons by a government prosecutor. From mortgage fraud to investment fraud, to business racketeering cases, there has been a spike in white collar prosecutions in this economic environment.

Due to the aggressive nature in the pursuit of the prosecution of these crimes, if you are charged with a white-collar crime, you need an experienced defense attorney who can handle a lengthy and complex case. Mr. Decker and Mr. Jones have represented numerous white collar crime cases over the years, negotiating favorable settlements and eliminating the risk of a trial where possible. In cases where a settlement is not possible, both have also successfully tried cases in front of a judge and jury, winning several cases in the process.

With attention to detail and a thorough knowledge of the law, Mr. Decker and Mr. Jones are both ready to assist you if and when you need a superior defense mounted on your behalf.

If you are charged with a white-collar crime in Colorado

Depending on the circumstances of the case, a person can be charged with theft of trade secrets if the individual, deprives or withholds the trade secret from its owner, steals or discloses to an unauthorized person the trade secret, or, without authority, replicates a trade secret.

Theft of a trade secret is a class 1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense within five years after the date of a prior conviction is a class 5 felony.

Forgery

A person can be charged with forgery if they intend to defraud, complete, or alter a written instrument that may be represented as:

  • Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities, or other valuable instruments issued by a government or government agency
  • Part of an issue of stock, bonds, or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property
  • A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, promissory note, check, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate, or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation, or status
  • A public record or an instrument filed or required by law to be filed with a public office or public servant
  • A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant, or government agency
  • Part of an issue of tokens, transfers, certificates, or other articles manufactured and designed for use in transportation fees upon public conveyances, or as symbols of value usable in place of money for the purchase of property or services available to the public for compensation
  • Part of an issue of lottery tickets
  • A document-making implement that may be used or is used in the production of a false identification document or in the production of another document-making implement to produce false identification documents

Forgery is a class 5 felony.

2nd Degree Forgery

A person can be charged with forgery if they intend to defraud, complete, or alter a written instrument that is not:

  • Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities, or other valuable instruments issued by a government or government agency
  • Part of an issue of stock, bonds, or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property
  • A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, promissory note, check, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate, or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation, or status
  • A public record or an instrument filed or required by law to be filed with a public office or public servant
  • A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant, or government agency
  • Part of an issue of tokens, transfers, certificates, or other articles manufactured and designed for use in transportation fees upon public conveyances, or as symbols of value usable in place of money for the purchase of property or services available to the public for compensation
  • Part of an issue of lottery tickets
  • A document-making implement that may be used or is used in the production of a false identification document or in the production of another document-making implement to produce false identification documents
  • An academic record

Second-degree forgery is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Use of a Forged Academic Record

A person can be charged with use of a forged academic record if theyuse the document to seek employment, admission to an institution of higher education, financial assistance from the institution itself or from other public or private sources of financial assistance. They may also be charged if they falsely make, complete, or alter a written instrument that purports to be, or will be represented if completed, a bona fide academic record of an institution of secondary or higher education.

Use of a forged academic record is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Criminal Simulation

A person can be charged with criminal simulation if they intend to defraud by making, altering, or representing any object so that it appears to have an antiquity, rarity, source or authorship, ingredient, or composition which it does not in fact have.

Criminal simulation is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Obtaining a Signature by Deception

A person can be charged with obtaining a signature by deception if they intend to defrauda person to gain a benefit for themselves or another by causing a person to sign or execute a written document.

Obtaining signatures by deception is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Offering a False Instrument for Recording

A person can be charged with offering a false instrument for recording if they intend to defraud someone, knowing that a written instrument relating to or affecting a property or a contractual relationship contains a material false information, and presents it to a public office or employee for public recording.

Offering a false instrument for recording can be a class 5 felony or a class 1 misdemeanor.

Fraud by Check

A person can be charged with offering a false instrument for recording if they knowingly have insufficient funds and intend to defraud a person or financial institution and issues a check for the payment of services, wages, salary, commissions, labor, rent, money, property, or other thing of value. A person can also be charged with fraud by check if the individual opens a checking account, negotiable order of withdrawal account, or share draft account using false identification or an assumed name for the purpose of issuing fraudulent checks.

Fraud by check can be a class 6 felony, or a class 1 or 2 misdemeanor.

Purchase on Credit to Defraud

A person can be charged with offering a false instrument for recording if they purchase any personal property on credit and before paying for it, they sell, pledge, or dispose of it with intent to defraud the seller or vendor.

Purchase on credit to defraud is a class 2 misdemeanor.

False Financial Statement Offenses

A person can be charged with false financial statement offenses if they intend to defraud by:

  • Making or uttering a written instrument that purports to describe the financial condition or ability to pay of himself or another which is false in some material respect and reasonably relied upon
  • Represents in writing that a written instrument purporting to describe another person’s financial condition or ability to pay as of a prior date is accurate regarding that person’s current financial condition or ability to pay, knowing the instrument to be materially false in that respect and reasonably relied upon
  • Upon filing an application for a financial transaction device with an issuer, knowingly makes a false statement or report, which is false in some material respect and reasonably relied upon. This can include a person’s name, occupation, financial condition, assets, or liabilities. It may also willfully and substantially overvalue any assets or omit or substantially undervalue any indebtedness for the purpose of influencing the issuer to issue a financial transaction device.

A false financial statement offense can be a class 6 felony, a class 1 or 2 misdemeanor.

Receiving Deposits in a Failing Financial Institution

A person can be charged with receiving deposits in a failing financial institution if they are an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a financial institution and receive or permit the receipt of a deposit or investment, with knowledge that the institution is insolvent. A financial institution is insolvent when it is unable to pay its obligations in the ordinary or usual course of business or if its liabilities exceed its assets.

Receiving deposits in a failing financial institution is a class 6 felony.

Fraud in Effecting Sales

A person can be charged with fraud in effecting sales if they, in the course of business:

  • Use or possess any device for falsely determining or recording any quality or quantity
  • Sell, offer, or deliver less than the represented quantity of any commodity or service
  • Take or attempt to take more than the represented quantity of any commodity or service when as buyer he furnishes the weight or measure
  • Sell, offer, or expose for sale an adulterated or mislabeled commodity
  • Make a false or misleading statement in any advertisement regarding items or services to be sold

Fraud in effecting sales is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Unlawful Activity in the Selling of Land

A person can be charged with unlawful activity concerning the selling of land if, after selling, bartering, or disposing of any real property, or executing any bond or agreement for sale of any real property, they again sell, barter, or dispose of the same real property, or execute any bond or agreement to sell, barter or dispose of the same real property to another person.

Selling land twice is a class 5 felony.

A person can also be charged with unlawful activity concerning the selling of land if the individual makes a false representation as to his ownership interest in land.

They can also be charged if they sign a lien waiver for a construction loan and knowingly fail to pay any debts resulting from a construction agreement covered by the waiver, unless there is a bona fide dispute as to the existence or amount of the debt.

Unlawful activity concerning the selling of land can be a class 5 or 6 felony, or a class 1 misdemeanor.

Bait Advertising

A person can be charged with bait advertising if they offer property or services as part of a plan not to sell or provide the advertised property or services, or not at the price at which they were offered, or not in a sufficient quantity to meet a reasonably expected public demand, unless the quantity is specifically stated in the advertisement.
Bait advertising is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Money Laundering

A person can be charged with money laundering if:

  • They conduct or attempt to conduct a financial transaction that involves money the individual knows or believes to be the proceeds of a criminal offense or with the intent to promote the commission of a criminal offense.
  • They proceed with a belief that the transaction is designed to conceal the nature of the proceeds of a criminal offense; or, to avoid a financial reporting requirement under federal law.
  • They transport, transmit, or transfer money with the intent to promote the commission of a criminal offense; or with a belief that the money represents the proceeds of a criminal offense and that the transportation, transmission or transfer is designed to conceal the nature of the proceeds of a criminal offense; or, to avoid a financial reporting requirement under federal law.
  • They intentionally conduct a financial transaction that is represented to be the proceeds of a criminal offense, or involving property that the individual believes to have been used to conduct or facilitate a criminal offense.

Money laundering is a class 3 felony.

Commercial Bribery and the Breach of Duty to Act Disinterestedly

A person can be charged with commercial bribery and breach of duty to act disinterestedly if they solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit thatviolate a duty of fidelity which he is bound by in a professional capacity. In addition, a person can be charged if the individual holds himself out to the public as being engaged in the business of making disinterested selections, appraisals, or criticisms of commodities, properties, or services but solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit to alter, modify, or change his selection, appraisal, or criticism.

Commercial bribery and breach of duty to act disinterestedly is a class 6 felony.

Equity Skimming of Real Property

A person can be charged with equity skimming of real property if they acquire an interest in real property that is encumbered by a loan secured by a mortgage or deed of trust and then rents the property out while collecting proceeds of the rent but failing to pay the mortgage.

Equity skimming of real property is a class 5 felony.

Computer Crimes

A person can be charged with computer crime if they commit any of the following acts:

  • Access a computer, computer network, or computer system without authorization, or exceed authorized access to such items.
  • Access any computer, computer network, or computer system to devise or execute any scheme to defraud.
  • Access any computer, computer network, or computer system by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, through which money, property, services, passwords or similar information may be accessed.
  • Access any computer, computer network, or computer system to commit theft.
  • Without authorization or in excess of authorized access alters, damages, interrupts, or impairs the proper functioning of any computer, computer network, computer system or computer software program.
  • If a person causes the transmission of a computer program, software, information, code, data, or the like by means of a computer, computer network, or computer system with the intent to cause damage to or to cause the interruption or impairment of any computer, computer network or computer system.
  • If a person implements a software application that runs automated tasks over the internet to access a computer, computer network, or computer system that circumvents or disables any electronic queues, waiting periods, or other technological measure intended by the seller to limit the number of event tickets purchased by any one person.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, a computer crime can be a felony or misdemeanor.