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Woman negotiates with prosecutors on white collar crime charges

News headlines and other media reports in Missouri frequently let residents know that an arrest was made and that assault, burglary, DUI and other similar charges have been filed against an individual. People often equate criminal defense with those types of situations. White collar crime, such as embezzlement, is another type of common criminal allegation made against individuals.

There are many types of fraud schemes out there these days. Technology and computerized everything have opened many doors to both serious criminals and someone who simply gives in to an impulse. Sometimes, an innocent individual can be caught up in fraud allegations. After an arrest, an effective defense strategy starts with a careful review and evaluation of the paper trail and mounds of evidence likely associated with this type of crime.

A current report out of St. Louis illustrates a common scenario. A local woman accused of embezzling funds from her employer was sentenced to federal prison for 21 months. According to prosecutors, the accounting specialist allegedly used company money obtained through various means for drugs and personal expenses.

Reportedly, this arrest was her second in seven years. It's alleged the 33-year-old employee used the company's credit card and transferred money from the company account between 2010 and May of 2012. Court records show $100,000 was claimed as stolen.

Taking into account her previous criminal charges and her cooperation with investigators, prosecutors were open to accepting an agreement with the defendant. Her indictment was waived, and a guilty of wire fraud plea was entered. Restitution in the amount of $116,000 was ordered in addition to the jail time.

A white collar crime conviction can damage a person's reputation, employment options and financial wherewithal, even when a conviction isn't present. Strong negotiating skills in dealing with prosecutors can help minimize the long-term consequences that maximum penalties could evoke if a not guilty plea doesn't seem to be the best option.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "St. Charles County woman gets 21 months in prison for 2nd embezzlement" Robert Patrick, Apr. 17, 2014

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