The term “white collar crime” was coined in 1939 by Edwin Sutherland, who is considered one of the most influential criminologists of the 20th century. Traditionally white collar crime was defined as “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”.

[1] Today however, the term encompasses a variety of non-violent crimes involving alleged fraud, theft, or identity theft. The consequences of white collar crime range from lower level misdemeanor charges, to very serious felony charges that carry prison sentences of up to fifteen (15) years. In addition to possible prison sentences, the crimes in this category can carry significant fines, and terms of probation.[2]

Traditionally it is corporations, partnerships, and other businesses who find themselves, along with their employees, snared in an investigation involving one or more white collar crimes. An issue arises when an employer and its’ employees are charged with crimes, because often an employee believes that the employer’s attorney also represents them. However in many instances this is not the case and employees who are misled end up severely incriminating themselves. Furthermore even private citizens, who innocently neglected to file a correct income tax statement, can find themselves the target of a white collar crime investigation.

Types of White Collar Crimes Commonly Charged in Syracuse

  • Forgery
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument
  • Issuing a Bad Check
  • Possession of Gambling Records
  • Identity Theft
  • Embezzlement/Larceny
  • Falsifying Business Records


The government, whether it is New York State or a Federal agency, often invests vast resources into a white collar crime investigation. Furthermore such investigations usually target multiple individuals, seeking to pressure one into testifying against the rest. Many individuals also mistakenly believe that an attorney representing their employer also represents them, when many times this is not the case. In light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that anyone accused of a crime of this nature be represented by a team of experienced defense attorneys. An individual accused of a white collar crime cannot fend off the vast government resources involved, as well as navigate the complex criminal justice system, alone. Our team’s collective experience and mastery of the law in this area allows us to help clients charged with white collar crimes avoid the most severe penalties, and collateral consequences such as losing a job or professional license.

[2] New York Penal Law Title E