White Collar Criminal Charges: Famous Fraud and Embezzlement Cases that Teach Us About the Law 

Every couple of years, a famous case will emerge into the public eye and call into question some of the complexities of the law. From high-profile criminal cases to well-publicized civil suits, these cases can often bring to light important questions about the law and our criminal justice system. 

Facing criminal charges (or seeing a loved one charged) can be harrowing and overwhelming, so let’s look at some of the most famous cases in fraud and embezzlement that have brought to light important aspects of the law. 

A Quick Legal Definition of Fraud and Embezzlement 

For something to constitute fraud in the legal sense, proof of intentional or negligent misrepresentation of facts must be shown. The person in question must have known or been reckless in their representation of the facts. In broad terms, fraud includes cases that involve false representation, dishonesty, and deceit. 

When it comes to embezzlement, the terms are a little different. The term embezzlement is used to describe a type of white-collar crime in which a person or entity (company or organization) misuses misappropriated funds or assets that are entrusted to them. This is a type of fraud, where the embezzler misuses funds or assets and then uses them for unintended purposes. This usually happens when an individual or company is entrusted with another individual’s profits, assets, or income. 

Common Characteristics of a Fraud Case

The extent of fraud can vary significantly, as it can occur within family members, friends, or between companies or corporations. It can involve a few hundred dollars, thousands of dollars, or even millions. Companies go bankrupt or find themselves in serious legal trouble when accused of fraud allegations. Fraud cases can involve:

  • Stolen assets or profits
  • Manipulated accounting or books
  • Faulty items 
  • Bad services
  • Ponzi schemes 

Famous Fraud Cases in the Public Spotlight 

Recent cases have brought to light common legal questions regarding fraud. One of these is the famous Wells Fargo case of the last few years. 

A Primer on the Wells Fargo Fraud Case

This recent fraud case made headlines when the national bank was discovered to have lied about its sales practices and accounts. The case begins when Wells Fargo employees were pressured by the higher-ups to meet high quotas in an attempt to increase sales and revenue. This led to bad practices as employees began creating savings and checking accounts for customers without their approval. 

In order to reach the high quotas, the staff became embroiled in a chain of inappropriate activities including moving money into fraudulent accounts. It was only a matter of time before bank customers would notice unwarranted fees on their accounts and realize that they had accounts they didn’t even know about. This did not end well for the bank. In 2020, they were forced to pay $3 dollars to settle long-running civil and criminal probes. 

Common Characteristics of an Embezzlement Case 

Embezzlement is often mentioned along with fraud, as the crimes are similar. Embezzlement, however, refers to individuals or entities that misuse funds they are entrusted with in a legal or professional capacity. These cases can typically include: 

  • Claiming assets such as real estate, company vehicle, or other property that belongs to a company for personal use 
  • Investing scams 
  • Transferring funds entrusted to them to their personal accounts 
  • Ponzi schemes that also involve certain kinds of fraud 

Famous Embezzlement Cases in the Public Spotlight 

A little more than ten years ago, a famous comedian made headlines for more than his comedy routine. Dane Cook was a well-known comedian, selling out large venues and appearing in every late-night show imaginable. Behind the scenes and behind his back, there was some pretty serious embezzlement going on. 

Dane Cook’s half-brother—who had been his manager since he got his start—was tasked with handling the finances and, as it turns out, stole money from Cook. In 2010, it was discovered that Darryl McCauley had embezzled money that belonged to his half-brother despite the fact that Cook was paying him a good 12,500 per month as his business manager.  

The realization that his own trusted brother had been stealing from him was quite the personal blow for the comedian. The case was pretty clear cut, as McCauley had not been particularly careful in covering his tracks. This was a case of embezzlement because McCauley was entrusted to take care of the funds for his brother and instead used them for his personal use. 

Looking for a Strong Defense, Find the Right Legal Counsel for Your Case

Cases of fraud and embezzlement can be complicated cases. Every state has its approach to these types of white-collar crimes as well, so it depends on the individual circumstances of the case. W. Shane Jennings works to represent and defend those that are facing charges, both criminal and civil. 

Do you know someone that needs legal representation in New Mexico? Whether they face criminal charges or a personal injury case, our lawyer provides the counsel they need. Call W. Shane Jennings today. 

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A Look At The Worst Cases of Fraud & Embezzlement 

When people think of fraud and embezzlement, they often imagine a grandiose scheme to siphon millions of dollars from a massive corporation. In reality, this is very rarely ever the case. In fact, nearly 70% of all fraud and embezzlement charges in the U.S occurred in a small or mid-sized business. In total, it is estimated that businesses lose over $50 billion per year from the practice, which can severely affect smaller businesses. In this article, however, we’ll take a look at some of those rare, grandiose cases of fraud and embezzlement. 

Allen Stanford

One of the largest Ponzi schemes was a result of a man named Allen Stanford and his company, Stanford Financial Group of Companies. He allegedly ran a massive investment scheme that scammed people out of $8 billion. Although he denied any wrongdoing, he was found guilty on myriad charges and was handed a 110-year prison sentence. 

Day-Lee Farms

The Day-Lee Farms embezzlement scandal represents the largest amount embezzled by a single employee in the U.S. Yasuyoshi Kato, an executive at the Japanese meat processing plant, reportedly embezzled more than $60 million from the company over a number of years. He actually did well hiding it from the company, but the IRS eventually got wind of his lavish lifestyle and busted him. He received a 5-year jail sentence and pay $3 million in fines. 

Bernie Madoff 

If the name Bernie Madoff sounds familiar, it may be because he ran the largest embezzlement operation in history. Very basically, Madoff would use the money he earned from new investors to pay the returns of old investors, without actually raising funds in any significant way. In operation, he was a secretive man who closely guarded his financial records, but it’s now clear why. Even in the 90s, people were suspicious of his practices, noting that his supposed trading strategy didn’t add up to the returns he was delivering to investors. Bernie eventually was handed a 150-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay $170 billion in restitution. 

Shane Jennings Knows Embezzlement Law

If you’ve been accused of fraud and/or embezzlement, or believe an employee of yours is committing that crime, call The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings. We can wor with you to get the results you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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What is the Difference Between Fraud and Embezzlement?

Criminal law is a complex creature. There are many different areas and many of them have overlapping definitions, punishments, and legalities. Two commonly confused crimes are fraud and embezzlement. While similar, they have a lot of important differences that will affect how the case is handled should you be charged with either crime. Our fraud and embezzlement lawyer breaks it down for you.

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is actually a kind of fraud, financially speaking. When someone commits embezzlement, they mishandle someone’s assets or money. It is different from theft because the act of theft involves taking valuables for their own benefit while with embezzlement, the person is already in possession of these items and then misuses them. An example is charging someone for a product and failing to deliver said product.

What Counts as Fraud?

Fraud, on the other hand, is a little broader. When someone commits fraud, they are purposefully lying about a product or service to someone. They may lie about the risks of using said products or services, the intended outcome, and more, which could lead to harm, loss of money, and more to the people who fall victim to this crime.

What if I’m Charged With Fraud or Embezzlement (Or Both)?

Both fraud and embezzlement can be charged as either a civil or criminal offense. Civil offenses tend to result in compensational punishments while criminal charges can lead to either compensational punishments or jail time. If you’re charged with this kind of crime, your best bet is to work with a fraud and embezzlement lawyer who is familiar with the industry and can help you navigate the legal aftermath.

A fraud and embezzlement lawyer knows the language and laws and can represent you in a court of law should you be charged with this kind of crime.

Call the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings Today!

If you’re in need of a caring, hardworking fraud and embezzlement lawyer, the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings is the place to call. We represent clients who are dealing with the aftermath of being charged with such a crime. We can put our knowledge and experience into helping you navigate the legalities of being charged. If you’re in need of help, we’re ready and able to assist you. Don’t wait. Give us a call today to learn more about our services and how we can help you.