Houston White Collar Crime Lawyer

Home /  Houston White Collar Crime Lawyer

Houston White Collar Crime Attorney

White collar crime describes a broad category of criminal law that generally does not involve violent action or drugs but typically targets financial systems and institutions. Named for the “white collars” of those who may commit the crimes, people who face such charges can expect severe penalties. Those facing federal white-collar charges should contact a Houston white collar lawyer who has experience in federal fraud cases.

Financial crimes, corporate fraud, identity theft, and other financially focused crimes are all under the umbrella of white collar crimes. For some, there is a misconception that because these are nonviolent charges, the government doesn’t take them as seriously. This isn’t true, and the government considers these crimes to have serious consequences for its victims.

The Defense Attorney You Can Trust With Your Future

One of the biggest misconceptions about white collar crime is that the federal government does not take it seriously. On the contrary, it prosecutes fraud and other charges very severely. Because most federal charges carry lengthy recommended sentences under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, you stand to serve several years in prison if convicted.

I am Richard Kuniansky, a board-certified criminal defense specialist with more than 40 years of experience handling federal criminal charges as a defense attorney and a former prosecutor. People in Houston and surrounding areas turn to me at The Law Offices of Richard Kuniansky for my reputable and proven white collar criminal defense services.

Some Common Forms of White Collar Crime

Generally, most white collar crimes rely on forms of deception or unlawful behavior to fraudulently take money and assets from financial institutions, businesses, and government programs. These crimes are investigated, charged, and prosecuted by various government branches responsible for overseeing the various programs or financial institutions involved, including the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, and others.

Some of the more common white-collar crimes include:

  • Fraud is one of the most commonly occurring white collar crimes and can happen in a variety of forms, including Bank Fraud, Healthcare Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Wire Fraud, and others.
  • Money Laundering. It’s illegal to take money that was obtained through illegal means, such as the drug trade or fraud, and pass it through complex transactions and the banking system to make it appear legitimate.
  • Insider Trading – It’s illegal to use non-public information that could impact stock prices and then trade those same stocks.
  • Embezzlement – Embezzlement is the simple crime of taking money from an employer. It is one of the most common white collar crimes.
  • Identity Theft. Illegal use of someone else’s personal information, typically to make fraudulent financial transactions and transfers, is criminal.
  • It is illegal to fake documents and signatures to deceive others. This is commonly done in an attempt to defraud someone and is often paired with fraud charges.
  • Tax Evasion. Things like misrepresenting income earned, hiding assets, and making deductions that shouldn’t be made are all examples of tax evasion techniques.

While these are some of the most common, there are many other crimes that might be considered white collar depending on their circumstances. Certain crimes will likely have multiple charges, so discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible will help you develop the right strategy.

Some of the More Important White Collar Crime Laws

Someone arrested for a white collar crime might expect various charges. There are several important laws, acts, and statutes that set the rules regarding white collar crimes.

Some of these important pieces of legislation include:

  • Healthcare Fraud Statutes.
  • Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud Statutes.
  • Wire Fraud Statute – This describes what wire fraud is and makes it a prohibited activity.
  • Mail Fraud Statute – Like with wire fraud, mail fraud is described and prohibited.
  • Federal False Statements Act – Knowingly making false statements in a variety of situations is prohibited through this act.
  • Credit Card Fraud Act – Describes criminal offenses of credit card fraud, counterfeiting credit cards, fraud on applications, and unauthorized use of credit cards.
  • False Claims Act (FCA) – This blanket act covers a wide range of potential fraud as it describes liability on the part of those who make false claims and attempt to defraud the government.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) – This act establishes greater transparency in financial practices in order to better protect investors.
  • Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) – This act establishes required reports and record keeping for financial institutions as a means of better preventing money laundering.
  • Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934 – These acts set a number of important rules regarding disclosure in securities trading and prohibited securities fraud.
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) – This act prohibits a variety of activities around fraudulently accessing information through accessing computers without proper authorization.

Defending Against White Collar Crime

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for defending a white collar crime. The right Houston white collar attorney will develop a strategy that fits the evidence in your case. Because so many white collar crimes could be a federal offense, you need help from a lawyer who understands federal law.

For almost all white collar crimes, there is a requirement of intent on the part of the accused. This means that a common criminal defense in these cases is to claim that there wasn’t intent. This can generally be argued in a couple of different ways. One way is to argue that you weren’t aware that what you were doing was fraudulent, perhaps because you had received incorrect information.

Another way is to admit to having made an error and not having realized that you had done something incorrect. This could involve poor instructions, not paying close enough attention or even some kind of technological breakdown.

Another possible defense is to argue that the prosecution has insufficient evidence to prove the accusations that they are making. They need to be able to show that there is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, so one strategy your attorney may take is to demonstrate weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument.

A defense that may work in some rare situations is claiming that you were coerced or forced to participate in the criminal activity. Because white collar crime schemes often involve several different parties, it may be the case that one of the participants or leaders was forcing the involvement of the others through threats.

There may also be some situations where important evidence was collected through a violation of constitutional rights. For example, an illegal search or violation of Miranda rights can be grounds for suppression of evidence. This could prove to be detrimental to the prosecution’s case.

What to Do if You’re Being Investigated for a White Collar Crime

If you suspect you’re being investigated for a white collar crime, contact a criminal lawyer as soon as you can. I can help protect your rights through investigating and beginning to prepare for possible charges. Being suspected of any crime can be intimidating, and an attorney may be able to help get such a situation sorted before a potential arrest.

Sometimes, people are arrested without warning. If you are arrested before you can contact my office, be sure to remain silent. It can be tempting to explain yourself to police officers, but your words may be misinterpreted, and you may admit to crimes that you don’t know are crimes.

Legal Consequences of a White Collar Crime Conviction

Just because white collar crimes may lack the brutality of violent crimes or the destructive nature of drug crimes does not mean that they aren’t severely punished. There are severe penalties for many white collar crimes, especially for those who did significant financial and personal harm.

After a conviction, the courts will determine a sentence based on sentencing guidelines, the impact of the crime, repeat offender status, and other factors that are deemed to be relevant.

Some of the penalties that may be part of a sentence include:

  • If prison time is given, it may only be a few months in the case of lesser charges. However, more significant white collar crimes can sometimes result in decades in prison.
  • For first-time offenders of more minor crimes, a judge may decide to give the convicted individual probation.
  • Fines of various amounts are often a major part of the penalties.
  • If the crime involved some kind of financial gain at the expense of others, then restitution is mandatory and the judge will require that those parties receive restitution.
  • Asset Forfeiture. Any assets that have been acquired through funds that were a result of the crime may be forfeited to the government.
  • Civil Penalties. It’s possible that some white collar crimes may also result in a civil claim being filed against the convicted.

Extralegal Consequences of a White Collar Crime Conviction

The impact of a white collar crime conviction is a criminal record and potential challenges in almost every aspect of life. In many white collar crimes, the person convicted may have had some kind of license or other certification that allowed them to work in a particular role or position. That special status is often forfeited as a result of the conviction.

It can also be challenging to get a job with a white collar crime background, in particular, a job that has anything to do with finances and sensitive information. It can also be a significant hurdle for those seeking educational opportunities, loans, and lines of credit, and even in a person’s social life. It may even be difficult to rent an apartment.

Getting help from an experienced attorney may help circumvent such consequences.

Prescription Fraud

When your freedom and future are at stake, turn to me at The Law Offices of Richard Kuniansky for reliable white collar criminal defense. To request an initial consultation, please call me at 713-987-3902 or send me an email.

Although a medical doctor may be authorized to write prescriptions for controlled substances, it is unlawful for a medical doctor to write a prescription without a legitimate medical purpose or outside the usual practice of medicine.

Likewise, it is unlawful for a pharmacist to fill prescriptions that he knows are not written for a valid medical reason or outside the usual practice of medicine.

Lastly, the government seeks to go up the chain and prosecute wholesalers of controlled substances for knowingly selling controlled substances to “pill mills”.

The government in these cases relies upon “red flags”. Some of the red flags are that the patients drive great distances to the doctor or to fill their prescriptions at a pharmacy, the patients pay in cash, “recruiters” bring in numerous “patients” at once, the doctor’s examination is perfunctory and the same “cocktail” of drugs is prescribed to almost every patient and almost always for the maximum dosage. In fact, in Houston it has been famously referred to as the “Houston Cocktail”, which consists of hydrocodone (Vicodin), alprazolam (Xanax) and carisoprodol (Soma).

The doctor always has the built in defense that the patient presented with an injury and serious pain symptoms, and he is exercising his medical judgment. The pharmacist has a built in defense that he is simply filling a prescription written by a licensed medical doctor. And finally, the wholesale distributor has a built in defense that they are simply lawfully selling controlled substances to a pharmacy that has been inspected and approved by the State Board of Pharmacy, and that the DEA that has access to all of their prescription data has taken no action to shut the pharmacy down or caution the wholesale distributor against selling to them.

Outstanding Knowledge, Results and Reputation

Federal authorities have infinite resources and often spend months – even years – investigating criminal cases. To counter this substantial advantage, you need a defense lawyer who understands federal criminal law as well as or better than they do.

I focus on one particular area of criminal defense: federal fraud. This gives me an in-depth insight into defending my clients successfully from the most serious of charges. Just a few examples of the cases I handle include:

My history of resolving complex, high-profile cases successfully has earned me a reputation as a leader in federal fraud defense as well as accolades from my clients and peers. These include selection for inclusion in the SuperLawyers list for 2004, 2020-2023, a rating service of Thomson Reuters of outstanding lawyers who have maintained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement and AV Preeminent* peer-review rating through Martindale-Hubbell – the highest rating available. I am also Board Certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. You might have only one chance to defend yourself: hire someone who has a history you can trust.



Fields Marked With An * Are Required

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.