Common Defenses in White Collar Crime Cases: Analyzing the Strategies Used to Defend Against Allegations of White Collar Crime

Being accused of a white-collar crime like fraud, embezzlement, or tax evasion can have serious consequences if convicted. The federal government is especially vigilant when it comes to white-collar crime and provides extensive resources to the enforcement agencies that seek to prosecute the perpetrators. However, the right legal team will have resources of their own and the experience to effectively defend clients from these types of allegations. Examining the different defense strategies will hopefully provide vulnerable individuals peace of mind. 


The Burden of Proof & Circumstantial Evidence

White-collar crime is not prosecuted differently from any other crime. The law enforcement agencies conducting the investigation may utilize the expertise of a forensic accountant, but at the end of the day, there is no legal distinction between them. That being said, the phrase “innocent until proven guilty,” still applies. The agency responsible for the prosecution of a white-collar crime has the burden of proving the accused committed a crime. There are many ways of doing this, but a good defense will show that there was no wrongdoing.


Unless there is eyewitness testimony or hard evidence (such as an email or text exchange regarding the alleged crime), much of the evidence law enforcement can present is circumstantial. This means that there may be several pieces of evidence that do not explicitly show that a crime was committed, but instead require that the jury make inferences about what the evidence is showing. This type of evidence is not as reliable and requires that the prosecutor paint a very vivid picture with very broad strokes. Evidence like this can be made less effective with a defense strategy that showcases the great narrative leaps that must be made in order to come up with that conclusion.


Lack of Intent & Mistake of Fact

The most common defense used in white-collar crime is showing a lack of intent to commit a crime. If prosecutors posit that the defendant knowingly committed a crime, simply showing that the defendant benefitted is not enough proof. In the majority of cases, defendants usually had no idea that their actions were illegal to begin with. Mistakes are easily made. Laws change constantly, and keeping up with the minutia of regulations isn’t possible for every individual. For example, a business or individual may rely on the guidance of an accountant or news outlet and receive incorrect information, or misinterpret good advice to their detriment. These qualify as honest mistakes that are not indicative of criminal activity.



Every white-collar criminal case is different, but there are defense strategies that have proven to improve the outcome for the defendant. The main takeaway is that regardless of the strategy used in court, the first line of defense actually comes from the accused. Staying informed about regulations and maintaining accurate and extensive financial records can make it easier to prevent these situations. Additionally, if approached by federal agents, remember to use your right to remain silent. Unintentionally incriminating statements can make or break a defense.


If you or your company are under investigation for financial crimes, it’s undoubtedly a stressful situation, but it’s important to act quickly and seek out legal counsel. The attorneys at Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL are prepared to advocate for your right to fair treatment regardless of the charges. If you need assistance with interacting with law enforcement, or have questions about potential liability, call (305) 374-5544 to schedule a confidential consultation today.

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Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL

As experienced trial lawyers with a passion for justice, our firm provides clients with compelling advocacy, attorney availability, and creative solutions to your tax or criminal law matters.

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