White Collar Crimes

The term “white collar crimes” usually creates an image of high-profile professionals committing major crimes. However, a white-collar crime can happen anywhere to any person. White-collar crimes, such as credit card fraud, are more common than you think.

White-collar crimes, or financial crimes, cover a variety of offenses. Normally, a white-collar crime deals with stealing money, goods, or property. This theft can range from pocketing money from an employer to stealing another’s identity.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a white-collar crime, it is vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Houston Attorney for White Collar Crimes in Texas

Normally, a white-collar crime includes some type of deceit or breach of trust. In some cases, a white-collar crime can be a simple misunderstanding between two parties. You must be prepared for what can come next. Call attorney Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm to discover all your legal options.

Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm is passionate about criminal defense. The Benken Law Firm has the extensive knowledge and experience to create a strong defense for your case. Brian Benken understands the complexity of financial crimes. He is prepared to help you fight for the best possible outcome.

The Benken Law Firm represents clients throughout the all communities in Harris County including Houston, Pasadena, Meyerland, and Bellaire.

Call us now at (713) 223 - 4051 for a free consultation.

Overview for White Collar Crimes in Texas


Definitions for White Collar Crimes in Texas

Texas law does not have a specific statute for white-collar crimes. Most white-collar crimes fall under the Texas Penal Code’s chapter on fraud offenses. This is because most white-collar crimes are committed through fraudulent acts. The legal concept of fraud generally requires several factors:

  • The alleged offender intentionally or knowingly makes a misrepresentation of material fact;
  • The misrepresentation is directed towards a person who justifiably relies on that false misrepresentation; and
  • The person dependent on the misrepresentation suffers an actual injury or loss due to that reliance.

Another large factor in white-collar crimes is through the use of deception. Deceptive means are defined under Texas Penal Code § 31.01(1). Listed below are scenarios Texas law defines as “deception:”

  • Creating or confirming by words or conduct a false impression of law or fact that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction, and that the actor does not believe to be true;
  • Failing to correct a false impression of law or fact that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction. Additionally if the actor previously created or confirmed the victim’s knowledge by words or conduct, and that the actor does not believe to be true;
  • Preventing another from acquiring information likely to affect his judgment in the transaction;
  • Selling or otherwise transferring or encumbering property without disclosing a lien, security interest, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property. This includes if the lien, security interest, claim, or impediment is not valid; or
  • Promising performance or services that are likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction and the actor does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed.

The penalties for white-collar crimes are largely dependent on the value of property, goods, services, or money. Value is defined under Texas Penal Code § 32.02. The term “value” relating to property, services, or money under Texas law includes:

  • The fair market value of the property or service at the time and place of the offense; or
  • If the fair market value of the property cannot be ascertained, the cost of replacing the property within a reasonable time after the offense.

When it comes to documents, value is handled differently. The value of documents, other than those having a readily ascertainable value is:

  • The amount due and collectible at maturity less any part that has been satisfied, if the document constitutes evidence of a debt;
  • The greatest amount of economic loss that the owner might reasonably suffer by virtue of loss of the document.

If the value of the property or service cannot be determined by these means, then Texas law will deem it to have a value of $750 or more but less than $2,500.


Common Financial Crimes in Houston, Texas

White-collar crime encompasses nonviolent illegal crimes that involve breach of trust, fraud, concealment, or deceit. There are various ways a person can commit a white-collar crime. Financial offenses involve a wide variety of theft and fraud offenses. Some examples of these offenses include:

  • Tax Evasion
  • Tax Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • Medicare Fraud
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Credit Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Racketeering
  • Bad Checks
  • Forgery
  • Money Laundering

Texas Penalties for Economic Crimes in Harris County, Texas

The legal consequences for white-collar crimes are dependent on who it was directed to and the value of the property, goods, or money lost. If a person has a criminal history, he or she may have enhanced penalties.

The penalties for a white-collar crime could include:

  • Class C Misdemeanor – The penalty of a Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
    • Examples: Committing forgery if the value of property or service is less than $100, issuing a false statement to obtain money or credit that’s valued at less than $100, and issuing a bad check.
  • Class B Misdemeanor – The penalty of a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.
    • Examples: Using a fake or fraudulent degree, tampering with multichannel video or information services, and embezzling property or money with a value of over $100 but less than $750.
  • Class A Misdemeanor –The penalty of a Class A misdemeanor is 12 months in jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.
    • Examples: Embezzling property or goods with a value of more than $750 but less than $2,500, and forging a check with intent to defraud or harm another.
  • State Jail Felony – The penalty of a state jail felony is punishable by up to 24 months in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000.
    • Examples: Using another’s identifying information to obtain money or property, and committing credit card or debit card abuse.
  • Third Degree Felony – The penalty of a third-degree felony includes a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
    • Examples: Embezzling property or money that values at or more than $30,000 but less than $150,000.
  • Second Degree Felony – The penalty for a second-degree felony includes a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
    • Examples: Intentionally, and with deceit, not performing services that value at or more than $150,000 but less than $300,000.
  • First Degree Felony – The penalty for a third-degree felony includes a maximum prison sentence of 99 years of life, and a fine of up to $10,000.
    • Examples: Using a forged document to obtain property or money that is valued at $300,000 or more.

Additional Resources

Texas White Collar Crime Laws – Visit the official website for Texas Penal Code. Find more information regarding fraud and other offenses that are considered a financial crime. Learn the charge specifics, penalties, and admissible defenses in court.

White Collar Crimes – Visit the official website for the Federal Investigation Bureau. Find more information about white-collar crimes such as corporate fraud, health care fraud, identity theft, financial institution, and intellectual property theft.


White Collar Crime Lawyer in Houston, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with a white-collar crime, it is essential that you obtain legal representation. White-collar crimes can be incredibly difficult and complex. It is important that you have an attorney who is ready for what comes next. Find that attorney here at The Benken Law Firm.

Attorney Brian Benken is experienced in all types of white-collar offenses. He will exhaust all resources to help you formulate a strong defense. With attorney Brian Benken’s extraordinary resilience, come extraordinary results. Call Brian Benken at (713) 223 - 4051 for a free consultation regarding your charges.

The Benken Law Firm defends those accused of financial crimes throughout all communities in Houston and surrounding counties in Texas.

Be proactive about your defense. Call Brian Benken at (713) 223 - 4051 for your free consultation.


This article was last updated on October 4, 2018.

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