When we read about cases involving non-violent, economic crimes in Minnesota, the stories are often quite sensational and involve massive amounts of money. But the truth is that not every person who gets involved in these activities is engaged in some sophisticated, high-level scheme. In fact, many people in Minnesota who face charges related to white collar crime never intend to misappropriate funds. Or they may believe that they are not hurting anyone by taking money or property from an employer.
But prosecutors and law enforcement are aggressive in pursuing convictions for these crimes, no matter what amount of money or fraud is involved. And the more charges they can stack against a person, the more likely it is that he or she will plead guilty to at least one of those charges. That is why people accused of white collar crime in Minnesota will want to take the charges seriously and seek legal help in defending themselves.
Even a small mistake can have serious consequences. An employee who is in financial dire straits and makes a misguided decision to take money from an employer can be charged. People can also get charged for being associated with this activity, even if they are not aware that what they are doing is unlawful. But as the numbers increase and the acts of misconduct multiply, so too can the consequences for these types of white collar crime.
For example, many Minnesota residents may be familiar with the Ponzi scheme run by businessman Tom Petters. The sums of money involved in that case topped $3.5 billion and it made national headlines. Recently, a hedge fund manager with ties to the operation and convicted of defrauding investors was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. This lengthy sentence was ordered even though Fry was accused only of being involved in the scheme, not actually knowing about it.
This case illustrates the very real consequences that a person can face if he or she is convicted of white collar crime. Most people are not involved in embezzlement or fraud at even close to these levels. Still, they can face jail time, fines and a criminal record if they are convicted. In order to avoid conviction or overly-harsh punishments or prison sentences, many people in this situation work with an attorney to defend themselves against charges.
Source: Pioneer Press, “Petters fundraiser James Fry sentenced to 17.5 years in prison,” John Welbes, Oct. 9, 2013