Department Of Justice Cracking Down on White-Collar Crime

A new policy set forth by the U.S. Department of Justice states that cracking down on white-collar crime is vital.  According to the document signed by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, “fighting corporate fraud and other misconduct is a top priority of the Department of Justice.”

The Department of Justice’s 6 steps to end white-collar crime

Photo by: Jonathan Mueller

Photo by: Jonathan Mueller

The new policy with the subject Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing lists 6 ways in which the Department of Justice plans on cracking down on white-collar crime.

1. Cooperation credit only to those who cooperate fully.
There are companies who put on a charade of cooperation to help find and prosecute those guilty of white-collar crimes in their corporations, without disclosing all the known information.  Now they must cooperate fully in order to get any cooperation credit.  Additionally, the Department of Justice must fully investigate, and not rely on all the information being handed to them on a silver platter.

2. Go after the individuals, not just the company as a whole.
Blaming the company for the conduct on one or more individuals is pointless and wastes valuable time.  By focusing on those who guilty of white-collar crime, investigations can finish quickly while the company is able to save face.

3. All attorneys- both criminal and civil- should communicate fully with one another.
If everyone shares information, it’s easier for cases to move forward. Additionally, the sooner another party is privy to knowledge or circumstances in a case, the smoother the proceedings will be.

4. No resolving individual’s charges along with the corporation’s.
If a company is let off the hook, the individual guilty of a white-collar crime can’t be protected or shielded by the company’s resolution.  Any criminal or civil charges related to the guilty individual will not be buried beneath corporate red tape.

5. No delays in charges against an individual once the corporation case is complete.
When cases against a corporation are resolved, there is a time limit as to when charges can be made against an individual for a white-collar crime.  Before the corporation can come to a resolution, the charges of the individuals believed guilty of a white-color crime must be acknowledged.

6. Prosecute all who are guilty of white-collar crime, regardless of their paycheck.
Prosecuting attorneys are always eager to collect hefty fines from those guilty of a white-collar crime, but if the individual makes paltry wages compared to the company as a whole, settling for less or nothing is expected.  This is no longer acceptable behavior, as everyone guilty of a white-collar crime will be projected to face charges and fines.

Problems with the new policy

Everyone cooperates and communicates while saving time and money.  This sounds great, and looks even better in writing; however there are problems with these so called solutions to white-collar crime.

• The likelihood of complete compliance is a big issue, and hard to prove.  Although company officials are expected to disclose all information regarding criminal or civil proceedings, there is no guarantee that they will follow through with those expectations.

• Going after specific individuals instead of the larger corporation leaves it wide open for a company scapegoat.  Who’s going to take the fall for the company?  That will be up to the high level execs to decide.
• Open communication?  Enough said.

• Someone lower on the corporate food chain may not find protection from the company, but shielding of their hierarchy should be anticipated.

• While there may be no “intentional” delay in a case against a company individual, it wouldn’t take long for the case to get lost in the shuffle.

• Although all found guilty of white collar crime may face charges, it wouldn’t be surprising to see fines tailored to the individual or the prediction of financial fallout for the company.

Former Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. argued that when big corporations are taken down, the fallout for the common citizen could be colossal.  Arresting the big fish or executives of large corporations might give the impression of a win for common folk of America, however the consequences of white-collar crime convictions affect everyone.  From the stability of the stock market to the prices handed down to customers, eventually everyone will pay for those convictions.  As a whole, this new policy could prove that Holder was either wrong in his assumptions or unfortunately, he may have been right.

Man Fleeing From Police Drives Stolen Vehicle 70 Miles with Only One Tire

A 33 year old Mesa Arizona man was arrested in Beaver Utah for fleeing from police after he drove a stolen vehicle for 70 miles with only tire left.

No plans on stopping

Photo by: Scott Davidson

Photo by: Scott Davidson

33 year old Matthew Hazenberg crossed over the Utah border from Arizona in the stolen vehicle and was immediately pursued by Utah Highway Patrol. When Hazenberg failed to stop for UHP and continued to drive north on I-15, officers laid out spike strips to end the pursuit. Even after having both left tires and the front right tire spiked, Hazenberg continued on I-15 for 70 long, pavement damaging miles. Hazenberg will likely face charges of vehicle theft and fleeing from police.

Repeat offender

This wasn’t Hazenberg’s first run in with the law. In April 2015, Hazenberg was arrested in Moses Lake Washington for fleeing from police after he fled in his vehicle, then from his vehicle, leaving his 8 year old step-daughter alone in the back seat. Moses Lake police were trying to locate the 8 year old, who had been reported missing by her mother when they located Hazenberg’s vehicle and were led in a brief chase. Hazenberg then bolted from the car, and was found later at his home.

Fleeing from police is a felony

Anytime a police officer requests a driver to pull their car over, they are obligated to do so, or they may face a 3rd degree felony. Utah code 41-6a-210 states: “An operator who receives a visual or audible signal from a peace officer to bring the vehicle to a stop may not: operate the vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the signal so as to interfere with or endanger the operation of any vehicle or person; or attempt to flee or elude a peace officer by vehicle or other means.” For more information on laws regarding stopping a vehicle for police officers, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Borrowing or using a Fake ID

Using a fake ID or borrowing someone else’s  will probably result in time behind bars, especially if the person’s name being used has warrants out for their arrest.

Wrong name to use

Blank nametagA Florida man who was attempting to avoid jail time gave police officers a wrong name when they approached him about a loud music complaint. 22 year old Darius Devonte McClain thought using his brother’s name instead of his own would be a good idea, since stating his own name would show that he was violating his probation. Unknown to McClain regrettably, his brother had warrants out for his arrest and police proceeded to detain McClain thinking he was his brother. He then fessed up that he had used his brother’s name. Unfortunately for McClain, it didn’t stop his arrest but instead added a charge of providing false information to police along with his probation violation charges.

Pretending to be someone else

Using someone’s name and personal information when approached by police officers is often done by those wanting to avoid charges that may be pending on their own name. If they don’t have their ID in their possession to contradict the name they’ve used verbally, sometimes they can get away with the faulty information. Another reason someone may borrow another’s information is when they are underage and wanting to purchase alcohol or attend a bar. For this reason, actually having the ID stating they are 21 is required. If the underage drinker can find a 21 or older look-alike, such as a sibling, they will often borrow the ID to support their drinking habit. Of course, both giving false information to an officer and using another’s ID are against the law for the accused and their older friend or sibling if they loaned their ID willingly. These charges are minimal compared what will happen if a fake ID is used.

Prison time for making a fake ID

Photo by: Drew Stephens

Photo by: Drew Stephens

A fake ID is one that has been tampered with or made from scratch altogether. Typical forged data found on a fake ID include:

• The person’s actual ID with information such as the birthday changed
• Someone else’s ID with the picture replaced
• A newly produced, yet fake ID card any desired picture and information

Besides an actual state ID card or drivers’ license, other documentation that can be fraudulently altered or produced includes:

• Birth certificates
• Marriage licenses
• Death certificates

Don’t mess with the feds

All of the above documents, like a fake ID, can be used to deceive law enforcement and other government officials and even steal another’s identity. The listed documents are state issued and bring with them charges based on the state of the arrest. According to Utah Code 76-6-501, producing false identification such as a fake ID is a second degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. For identification items such as a forged passport, social security card, permanent resident card (green card), or tourist visa, these are federal documents and will bring harsher charges from federal prosecutors.

Easy, yet costly

With technology able to print 3D images, printing or altering a flat ID card is a piece of cake. Fake ID’s are also talked about so casually that many individuals don’t understand the legal ramifications that can come from using one. Making a fake ID or altering a government issued ID is not worth whatever privilege it allows temporarily such as driving, buying alcohol, or travel to other countries. For those caught using or making a fake ID or other state or federal document, speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately.