White collar crimes are non-violent offenses that are typically committed for financial gain. Embezzlement, securities fraud, money laundering, and insider trading are all common examples of white-collar crimes. The FBI aggressively investigates these crimes and federal prosecutors are always very eager to secure a conviction in these cases. Although white collar crimes do not involve violence, convictions still carry high fines and lengthy terms in federal prison.

Anyone charged with a white collar crime must work with a federal criminal defense attorney that understands the defenses for these crimes and how to use them effectively. If you are facing charges, below are the most common defenses used in these cases.

Finding Weaknesses in the Prosecution’s Case

Federal prosecutors typically do not take cases to trial unless they have a fair amount of evidence and have built a strong case against the defendant. Still, this does not mean that every case a prosecutor takes is ironclad. A defense attorney will find holes or errors in a prosecutor’s case, and disprove key points in their argument to have the case dismissed.

Lack of Intent

There are two key elements the prosecution must prove in a case involving a white collar crime. The first is that the act was, in fact, a crime, and the second is that the defendant had intent to commit the act. Sometimes, the defendant may have just made a mistake, and may not have even benefited financially from the act. When the prosecution cannot prove the defendant had the intent to commit a crime for financial gain, the case may be thrown out of court.

Lack of Knowledge

Typically, a lack of knowledge is not a defense to a crime. For example, defendants usually cannot say that they did not know they were committing a crime and use that as a defense. However, when several parties were involved in the act and the defendant was just part of the plan but did not know that a crime was being committed, that can provide a valid defense.


Coercion, or being forced to commit a crime, is also a valid defense to white collar crimes. For example, if one person told another that they had to commit a crime or their family would be hurt, that is an example of coercion and it can provide a valid defense.


Entrapment is very similar to coercion but in these cases, it is a law enforcement officer that coerces the defendant. Entrapment is largely misunderstood and many defendants think that if an undercover officer got them to commit a crime, it is automatically entrapment. That is not the case. When using the defense of entrapment, the defendant must prove that they would not have committed the crime without the influence of the government official.

Our Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help with Your Case

If you have been charged with a white collar crime or any other federal offense, you need the help of an experienced Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our attorney knows there are defenses to these crimes and how to use them to give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at 312-270-0999 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation so we can get started on your case.



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