The criminal defense attorneys at Quijano & Ennis, P.C. represent clients charged with Wall Street securities fraud and other white collar offenses brought in the Southern District of New York and other courts.
What is White Collar Crime?
White collar crime refers to a category of criminal offenses that are generally accomplished by means of deception as opposed to means of force. While some offenses such as forgery and embezzlement have been around for centuries, many white collar crimes which are enforced and prosecuted today are the product of recent legislative acts, where behavior is made criminal based on technical violations of complicated statutes.
At the federal level, white collar criminal prosecutions are often undertaken by specific agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violations of securities laws. These agencies enforce legal codes and regulations that run into the thousands of pages, and whether a particular violation has actually occurred often rests upon a technical interpretation of a complicated law or set of laws. The nation’s securities laws often offer no clear guidance about what is an acceptable practice and what type of conduct may be considered "criminal," often punishable with years in federal prison, exorbitant fines, and seizure and forfeiture of assets.
Two of the most common areas in which clients come to us include prosecutions for securities fraud or violations of Title 18, Section 1001 of the U.S. Code.
Securities trading is one of the most highly-regulated and vigorously-scrutinized industries; stockbrokers and others can be charged with insider trading, late-day trading, microcap stock fraud, pyramid and Ponzi schemes, boiler rooms, pump & dump, self-dealing, backdating stock options, and countless other schemes and frauds, when their actual practices may in fact have been perfectly legal or at least based on reasonable interpretations of complex laws. Our office recently obtained an acquittal for one of the defendants in the landmark "squawk box" case, a lengthy high-profile trial dealing with the interpretation of Sarbanes-Oxley and other securities laws and whether the actions of certain brokers and day traders amount to illegal use of inside information.
18 USC 1001
Under section 1001, it is a federal crime to knowingly and willfully make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation in any matter within the jurisdiction of the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter whether or not you were under oath, if the statement was made inside or outside a custodial interrogation, or if you were given any warnings regarding your rights before questioning. Many times unknowing or innocent statements have landed the speaker under a criminal indictment brought by a zealous prosecutor.
It is difficult to beat a charge of violation of 18 USC 1001, and this statute is a favorite among prosecutors due to its incredibly broad scope and reach. However, Mr. Quijano has successfully achieved a not guilty verdict in a case brought under section 1001.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation
Indictments for white collar crimes usually come after months or years of investigation by law enforcement. During this investigative phase, it is often difficult to know what to do. Are you the target of an investigation or merely on the periphery? Can you cooperate with investigators and avoid an obstruction of justice charge without giving the government statements and other evidence which they will turn around and use against you? Should you exercise your right to remain silent or attempt to negotiate a deal? These are all important questions that should be discussed with an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney. If you or your industry are under investigation, be pro-active. Contact Quijano & Ennis, P.C. for solid professional advice and effective advocacy and representation.