What Is the Most Common Punishment for White Collar Crime?

What happens when someone is convicted of a white collar crime?

As is the case with many criminal prosecutions, the answer to “what is the most common punishment for white collar crime?” is, “It depends on the circumstances.”

Now, in the most general sense, if someone was convicted of a white collar crime, then they potentially could face a variety of different outcomes, including fines, restitution, bans from certain organizations or starting certain types of businesses, probation, and, of course, prison time. 

The severity of those punishments varies quite a bit. There are a great deal of offenses that fall under the umbrella of white collar crimes. 

  • Cyber crime
  • Identity theft
  • Embezzlement
  • Racketeering 
  • Public corruption
  • Tax evasion
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Prescription drug fraud
  • Money laundering
  • And more

With such a variance in the actual crimes committed, it isn’t fair to say what is most common, but we can provide you with examples of what some prosecutorial outcomes look like. 

Real world examples of how white collar crimes are punished

For this example, you’ll see how the worlds of white collar and other types of crime can overlap.  

An example of wire fraud punishment 

Just this past September, a Topeka, Kansas-based man was sentenced to 69 months in prison for wire fraud. The man, a 42-year-old who was charged with a single count of wire fraud had, according to prosecutors, falsified credentials stating he had the authority to conduct autopsies.

Over a three year period, the man collected over $1.1 million from over 350 clients who were tricked into believing the defendant was a certified Pathologist. 

In addition to being convicted of wire fraud, the man was separately convicted on three felony counts of theft and desecration of human remains. He was ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution, and is barred from conducting any business in the state of Kansas related to the human body or healing. 

An example of wire fraud and money laundering punishment

Meanwhile, over in Pittsburgh, PA, a Texas-based man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a fraud and money laundering scheme. 

The man, who it was discovered had been banned from participating in other state-funded meal programs, worked with co-conspirators to act as meal program sponsors, intercepting the funds intended for recipients, instead using it for their own gain.

The man was found guilty of defrauding federally-funded meal programs designed to support youths in need. In addition to his prison sentence the judge ordered the man to pay $1.5 million in restitution to the US Department of Agriculture, as well as forfeit over $425,000 in additional payment. 

An example of theft of trade secrets punishment

Lastly, a North Carolina man was sentenced to eight months in prison for the theft of trade secrets. 

The man, a former Broadcom engineer, was proven to have stolen hundreds of files, placing them on an external hard drive that he then shared with a China-based tech startup that was seeking to ramp up its computer chip operations.

Just days before his leaving Broadcom, court documents suggest that he downloaded and took the protected files, before being hired as an employee by the startup just weeks later. 

In addition to his prison sentence, the man was ordered to pay restitution to Broadcom, pay a fine, and endure a three-year term of supervised release after fulfilling his prison time. 

Is there a “most common” punishment for white collar crime?

So, here you have examples of how the courts will punish people who have been found guilty of white collar criminal activity. They’re all quite different, and they all depend on the specific cases, their alleged victims, and the different counts that the prosecution are able to prove in court. 

At the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot, our goal is to always provide our clients with the most passionate defense possible. 

We are able to do this because we have over fifty years experience in the state of New Jersey in connecting with our clients, making the most out of our deep understanding of the law, and always doing our best to combat the false narratives that the prosecution aims to create. 
You deserve the very best defense, and when you choose the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot, we’ll do all in our power to protect your constitutional rights. Contact us today for your confidential consultation!