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Changes could be in store for white collar crime sentencing laws

People facing charges for white collar crime in North Carolina will be interested to learn about a recent push for changes in federal sentencing laws for certain financial crimes. The suggested changes could reduce the penalties imposed on people convicted of white collar offenses such as insider trading, fraud and embezzlement.

In the same way that drug offenses can often be charged in either state or federal court, white collar crime can also be prosecuted at either the state or the federal level. In many cases -- for financial crimes as well as drug offenses -- the federal sentencing guidelines call for much harsher penalties than those that might be imposed for the same offense at the state level.

Currently, the sentencing guidelines that apply in federal white collar crime cases are based heavily on the amount of money involved in a case. This means that someone who played a minor role in a fraud offense can be penalized in the same manner as a key player.

Many of those who are advocating for the reforms say that the sentencing guidelines should take other factors into account, such as whether a scheme was actually carried through to completion as well as its duration and level of complexity.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for a federal crime, be sure to get in touch with a lawyer who can help you understand your legal options and will work with you to help minimize any negative consequences that might result from the charges.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Sentencing changes sought for business crimes," Eric Tucker (Associated Press), Aug. 13, 2014

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