Freedom Industries and Other White Collar Criminals and Crimes

Nearly one year after Freedom Industries’ chemical spill, the company and its officers are still facing new charges.  On January 9th, 2014, Freedom Industries’ storage tank leaked 10,000 gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals that ran into the West Virginia water supply.  Nine counties were placed in a state of emergency and 300,000 residents were banned from using tap water.  The company and its officers face a variety of charges from environmental violations to fraud charges.  Both of these categories fall under a broader category of crimes called white collar crimes.  Many different federal, state, and local agencies prosecute white collar crimes.  If you are being investigated or have been charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), local officials, or another agency an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC can ensure that you receive the best possible defense.

White Collar Crimes

No true definition of a white collar crime exist.  According to Wex Law Dictionary, a sociologist Edwin Sutherland coined the term in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.”  Wex states a white collar crime as a nonviolent crime committed in a commercial situation for financial gain.  A vast majority of white collar crimes committed are types of fraud.

The dictionary asserts that fraud is the deliberate deceiving of someone with the intent of causing damage, generally financial.  The factors of the numerous different frauds differ by federal, state and local statutes and carry a range of punishments.  According to TRAC Reports, in October of 2014, the DOJ reported the ten leading fraud convictions as:

  1. Wire, radio, or television fraud;

  2. Mail fraud or conspiracy to commit;

  3. Public money, property, records fraud;

  4. Mail fraud categorized to be frauds and swindles;

  5. Bank fraud;

  6. Fraud and false statements;

  7. Conspiracy to defraud the government;

  8. Conspiracy to commit an offense or to defraud the United States;

  9. ID fraud; and

  10. Fraud related to access devices.

Other white collar crimes include:

  • Antitrust violations;

  • Environmental violations;

  • Insider trading;

  • Bribery;

  • Kickbacks;

  • Blackmail; and

  • Money laundering.

White Collar Criminals

The officers of Freedom Industries have been charged with a number of white collar crimes from violating the federal Clean Water Act to bankruptcy and wire fraud.  Possibly the most infamous white collar criminals of this country, however, are the executives and officers involved in Enron’s fraudulent activities of overvaluing the company stock by hiding huge debts and heavy losses.  Another infamous white collar criminal is Charles Ponzi, after which the “Ponzi scheme” is named.  According to the SEC, a ponzi scheme is an investment fraud involving the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds of new investors.

White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney

A wide range of laws exist for federal, state, and local authorities to charge a person under the category of white collar crimes.  If concerned you are involved in an illegal white collar crime, you are being investigated, or have been charged with a possible white collar crime by a federal, state, or local agency, contact an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia to explain the investigation or charges and provide a defense.