White Collar Crime
Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A., for many years, has enjoyed a relationship with noted criminal defense attorney, Jerome Emoff. Mr. Emoff has more than 41 years of criminal defense experience including a special focus on matters relating to white collar crime in both federal and state courts.
For a business or a professional person, a criminal investigation or an actual criminal charge can be devastating in many ways. One’s reputation is difficult to earn, and it can be damaged or even destroyed very easily by an official criminal inquiry. A good reputation translates into success, and at Dworken & Bernstein, protecting your reputation will be a paramount consideration.
Allegations of white collar crime can also be a drain on resources, both financial and otherwise. Investigations, especially by federal authorities, can often last for months and even years. Grand jury subpoenas for documents and other information in the context of an investigation are always intrusive and sometimes may involve the disclosure of protected information. In addition, demands for testimony or interviews during an investigation require careful analysis before any response is permitted. It is important in these circumstances to engage superior legal representation in order to effectively protect interests that may have taken years to develop.
An actual criminal charge demands an aggressive courtroom response. In order to effectively manage a criminal charge, it is important to retain an attorney with complex litigation experience who has the resources to evaluate the evidence and prepare and present a defense that will succeed.
If you are charged with a crime in Federal Court, you will encounter the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. These guidelines were established in 1987 for the stated purpose of imposing fairness and consistency in federal sentencing practices.
Initially, the Guidelines were mandatory, and a sentencing judge had no choice. However, the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Booker ruled that the Guidelines are only advisory in nature and that a sentencing judge’s decision is ultimately controlled by a requirement that the judge impose a sentence that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with specified statutory purposes. The advisory guidelines still, however, inform the judge in making a final determination and provide a reasonable estimate of the eventual sentence. Therefore, understanding how the Guidelines work is critical regardless of one’s stance in terms of a trial.
Each federal crime is assigned an “offense level.” The more serious the crime, the higher the offense level. Each offender is assigned to a “criminal history category” based upon his or her history of prior convictions. A first offender will fare better than someone who has a prior criminal history. The intersection of offense level and criminal history category on a sentencing table reveals a sentencing range in months. Typically, a sentence in Federal Court will be within the range determined by the Guidelines.
The Guidelines provide for numerous enhancements and reductions in offense level. In addition to a “base offense level,” each federal crime has attached to it several “specific offense characteristics.” For example, a money laundering offense might have a base offense level of 8. The greater the amount of money involved, the higher the offense level. If the amount in our example is more than $120,000.00, the offense level is raised by 8. In addition, if the funds were derived from the sale of illegal drugs, 6 more levels are added. What began at level 8 is now at level 22. There are other potential enhancements. Level 22, in the lowest criminal history category, corresponds to a sentencing range of 41 to 51 months in prison.
What about reductions in offense level? Those are available, too. If an offender accepts responsibility for his or her criminal conduct, the offense level can be reduced by 2 – 3 levels. If an offender substantially assists the Government in the prosecution of others, there can be a further reduction in offense level at the Government’s discretion. The Guidelines favor these types of reductions wherein an offender pleads guilty and cooperates against others, and the United States Attorney takes advantage of this process. Since the Booker decision making the Guidelines advisory, sentencing judges in Federal Court enjoy greater freedom in fashioning a reasonable sentence in each case.
These few paragraphs represent a considerable oversimplification of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. If you are charged in Federal Court, you will need someone who is an expert in deciphering and using these Guidelines to your advantage.
Mr. Emoff has litigated such diverse cases as allegations of mortgage fraud, Medicaid fraud, public corruption by elected officials, improper conduct by physicians, violations of federal regulations by businesses, bribery and extortion by officials of governmental agencies, and many others. In addition, he has represented numerous businesses and professionals in official investigations. With support provided by Dworken & Bernstein, your personal and professional interests will be protected in the event you are faced with an official criminal inquiry.
It is critical to be able to trust the judgment and ability of any attorney representing you or your business. Dworken & Bernstein offers a free and completely confidential consultation, so that you may be able to make an appropriate decision.
White Collar Crime Attorney