We are White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers with offices in Wilmington and Dover, Delaware. Our lawyers defend people and companies charged with all manner of white-collar crimes in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, Delaware.
White-collar crimes are financial crimes, typically committed by businessmen and businesswomen or government officials. These types of criminal offenses may include some of the following: Embezzlement, Identity Theft, Healthcare Fraud, Fraudulent Investments, Money Laundering, Trademark Counterfeiting, Forgery, Bribery, and other criminal offenses. Sometimes white-collar crimes are referred to as “racketeering”. This page will review some common examples of Delaware white-collar crimes.
If you have been arrested and charged with a form of white-collar crime in Delaware, or if the police or prosecutors have contacted you about a possible interview or arrest in Delaware, please contact us for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney. Please also know that if law enforcement reaches you before you reach out to us, you should make no statements other than to ask for an attorney before any questioning takes place, and to invoke your right to remain silent. In other words, you should speak to us before you speak to the police or prosecutors.
Embezzlement – Embezzlement is theft or misappropriation of funds over which you have been entrusted, or which belong to your employer. Embezzlement is basically theft while you are serving in a trusted capacity. If arrested for embezzlement in Delaware, you are unlikely to be charged with a crime called embezzlement. Rather, you will likely be charged with Theft, Wire Fraud, Tax Fraud for not reporting the transfer of wealth to yourself, or other crimes.
Identity Theft – 11 Del.C. Section 834 prohibits Identity Theft. Identity theft is a class D felony. Identity theft is using another person’s personal identifying information without their consent in order to commit a crime. For example, if a person is alleged to have stolen and used another person’s identity to obtain credit cards or a cell phone in that other person’s name, then that could be a form of identity theft.
Healthcare Fraud – Title 11 Del.C. Section 913A prohibits healthcare fraud. Healthcare fraud is, essentially, presenting false claims to a health insurer or other healthcare benefits provider. An example of healthcare fraud (this is not a real case – just an example for illustrative purposes) might be the case of a surgeon who bills health insurers for surgeries he never performed, or a clinic that pays fake patients to fake car accidents and then bills their auto insurers for medical care that was never rendered. Healthcare fraud is a serious felony that may result in substantial prison time and large financial penalties. In addition, a medical provider arrested and/or convicted of Healthcare Fraud will find him or herself in hot water with the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation as well.
Insurance Fraud – Title 11 Del.C. Section 913 outlaws insurance fraud. Basically, insurance fraud means presenting a fraudulent insurance claim for payment. Insurance fraud is a felony. Insurance fraud charges could be brought against a Delaware resident who fakes an on-the-job injury in order to make a workers’ compensation claim. An insurance fraud prosecution could be brought against a business owner who damages his own shop or merchandise and then claims a right to be reimbursed by his insurance company.
Home Improvement Fraud – Title 11 Del.C. Section 916 makes it a crime to commit home improvement fraud. Home improvement fraud in most cases means taking money to complete a construction project on someone’s house without actually substantially completing the project. Home improvement fraud is a misdemeanor unless the payment was $1,500 or more, the alleged victim is 62 years or older, or the defendant has a prior home improvement fraud conviction, in which case the crime becomes a felony.
Investment Fraud – The Delaware Securities Act prohibits investment fraud by broker-dealers and investment advisors and sets stiff penalties under Title 6 Del.C. Section 73-604. Under that statute, investment fraud is either a class E, F, or G felony. Depending on the amount of the investor’s loss, the prison sentence for investment fraud is between two and five years per violation of the law.
Insider Trading – Insider trading is, essentially, using non-public information to gain an advantage in trading securities. Let’s say your buddy is a paralegal at a big law firm in Wilmington. He tells you over beers on a Friday night that the firm’s client, a large publicly-traded corporation, will be filing bankruptcy the following Monday. From the bathroom in the bar, you place a trade from your iPhone short-selling the company’s stock. When the announcement is made on Monday that the company filed a petition in bankruptcy, the company’s stock price tanks. You make a killing on the short. You are likely going to need the services of a Delaware lawyer who handles insider trading cases.
Money Laundering – Title 11 Del.C. Section 951 makes money laundering a felony under Delaware law. Money laundering means, essentially, that you are accused of dealing with money that represents the proceeds from some other illegal activity. Here’s an example (this is just a made-up example for illustrative purposes and not a real case): Let’s say our client owns an unlicensed card room in Wilmington, DE that generates several thousand dollars in proceeds each week from the rake of the card games and from alcohol sales. The client also owns a chain of (otherwise legal and legitimate) laundromats. At the end of each week, if the client dumps the cash profits from the card room into the bank deposits for the laundromats, that would be a classic case of money laundering.
Trademark Counterfeiting – Title 11 Del.C. Section 926 addresses trademark counterfeiting. Trademark counterfeiting is a crime involving making, marketing or selling items with counterfeit trademarks. Trademark counterfeiting may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the number of prior convictions under the statute, and depending on the number of goods bearing an alleged counterfeit trademark. Typical cases of trademark counterfeiting involve manufacturing or selling retail goods such as high-end purses or sunglasses that are alleged to bear fake trademarks.
Forgery – Forgery involves fraudulently altering a written instrument of another person or creating a written instrument that purports to be the act of another person or possessing a written instrument that is itself a forgery. For example, if a patient receives a script from their doctor for 10 Percocet, but adds a 0 to make it 100 Percocet, that may get them arrested for forgery. Or if someone takes another person’s blank check and writes out a check and cashes it, then that could lead to forgery charges. In most cases, forgery is a felony although Delaware does have a misdemeanor forgery offense on the books. 11 Del.C. Section 861 covers forgery in Delaware.
Bribery – Giving a bribe or accepting a bribe may be a misdemeanor or a felony in Delaware depending on whether the bribery involves a public official. 11 Delaware Code Sections 881 and 882 make it a misdemeanor to bribe someone who is not a public official. This would cover bribing officials in sports contests and bribing employees in businesses and labor organizations. Bribing a public official or receiving a bribe when you are a public official is a felony. Those situations are governed by 11 Delaware Code Sections 1201 and 1203. Finally, Delaware law makes it a class E felony to bribe a witness or a juror in a legal case or to accept a bribe if you are a witness or a juror in a case. 11 Del.C. Sections 1261, 1262, 1264 and 1265.
RICO – Delaware has its own RICO statute. RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. There is a federal RICO Act that provides for enhanced penalties for certain forms of organized crime. Delaware also has a state statute at 11 Del.C. Chapter 15. Basically, the Delaware statute creates new criminal offenses for patterns of crimes that fit the definition of a “pattern of racketeering activity”. If you have been charged with violating Delaware’s RICO statute, please contact us for a free consultation.
Further, if you have been arrested and charged with any of the Delaware white-collar crimes reviewed above, or if you have been contacted by authorities for questioning or interrogation, please contact us for a free consultation with one of our Delaware criminal defense lawyers.