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Mr. Donath has spent his entire career defending people and standing up for the rights of the accused.

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  • former deputy public defender

    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

  • award winning certified criminal law specialist

    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

  • a true passion for defending the accused

    Your lawyer should have a passion for defense, not just a passion for money. Reputation, vigor, and determination go a long way in this business.

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Riverside White-Collar Crimes Lawyer

White-collar crimes are offenses committed by so-called “white collar” workers—such as administrative or executive personnel who usually work in the financial and investment sectors. These illegal acts are committed with the intent of obtaining financial gain. Although white-collar crimes are non-violent by nature, these charges are still quite serious, and a conviction can come with a range of negative consequences, including incarceration in state or federal prison and the freezing and seizing of assets under section 186.11 of the California Penal Code.

White-collar crime can range from Ponzi schemes such as the one perpetrated by former NASDAQ chairman Bernie Madoff to large-scale fraud uncovered in the Enron scandal. White-collar crimes generally involve a violation of trust, concealment, and deceit. 

Being accused of a white-collar crime can be frustrating and scary since your very liberty is on the line. There are some potential defenses to various white-collar crimes, and the seasoned Riverside white-collar crimes lawyer with the Law Offices of Graham Donath wants to help. Attorney Donath is a certified criminal law specialist whose firm is 100% dedicated to criminal defense. Contact us online for a free consultation or call 951-667-5293 in Riverside or 714-758-5293 in Orange County as soon as possible following your indictment or arrest. 

Why Hire Graham Donath? 

The state of California takes white-collar crimes quite seriously. The penalties that come with a conviction for a white-collar crime can be significant, not only affecting your liberty but also having repercussions on your future ability to get the job you want. This is especially true if you seek employment in a position of trust or where you will be responsible for handling other people’s money or finances. Because of this, it is vital that you have a Riverside white-collar crimes lawyer by your side as you face the charges against you. 

Graham Donath has developed a reputation for standing up for those who are accused of criminal acts. Attorney Donath is: 

  • Recognized by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. 
  • A former deputy public defender in Riverside County, giving him a unique perspective into the nuances of criminal court and the defendants facing charges there. 
  • An experienced criminal defense attorney. He has handled thousands of criminal cases, including misdemeanor, felony, and juvenile actions. 
  • A member of several criminal justice and defense organizations, such as the Criminal Defense Panel of Riverside County and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. 
  • Consistently recognized as a top 100 southern California trial lawyer.

Why You Need an Attorney When Facing White-Collar Criminal Charges

The criminal justice system is imperfect. It only works for the accused if they have an aggressive advocate on their side who is willing to put in the extra effort to help them present their defense in the best and most strategic manner. An experienced Riverside white collar crimes lawyer understands the formal proceedings and standard practices that are commonplace in the courtroom and is an advantage to defendants facing the loss of liberty and freedom if a conviction is handed down in their case. 

At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, we have built a name for ourselves by protecting the rights of our clients and defending their freedom. We understand the importance of analyzing the facts of every case and then formulating a strategy that gives the client the most feasible chance of minimizing the penalties assessed against them. Our team wants to help you through this stressful moment in your life. We do so by:

  • Advocating for you whenever and wherever possible. The preservation of your liberty and freedom are our main goals. 
  • Providing effective counsel to you so that you know and understand both your rights and the seriousness of the charges against you. We never downplay the potential outcome of your case—it’s important that you understand what you’re up against. 
  • Undertaking an in-depth analysis of the evidence against you. Our goal is to formulate and devise strategies that help to downplay your action or cast doubt on the allegations being made against you. The onus is on the prosecution to prove that you’re guilty, and it’s our job to make their job more difficult. 
  • Putting negotiating power to work with the ultimate objective of having the charges against you reduced to lesser offenses or dropped altogether. 
  • Working to gather more evidence that helps to back up our strategies, which may involve the testimony of witnesses or experts. 
  • Preparing motions and other necessary paperwork for filing or presentation to the court. 
  • Staying by your side during all court proceedings, from arraignment through sentencing or acquittal. 

Common White-Collar Crimes 

Many financial-related offenses are classified under the broad scope of white-collar crime. There are dozens of crimes that are actionable as white-collar crimes. Among the most common are:

  •  California Business and Professions Code 17511.9 – Telemarketing Fraud
  •  California Insurance Code 1871.4: Workers’ Compensation Fraud
  •  California Penal Code 118: Perjury
  •  California Penal Code 154: Fraudulent Conveyance
  •  California Penal Code 424: Misappropriation of Public Funds
  •  California Penal Code 470: Forgery
  •  California Penal Code 476(a): Passing Bad Checks
  •  California Penal Code 484g – Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card
  •  California Penal Code 484h – Credit Card Fraud by Retailer
  •  California Penal Code 484i: Counterfeiting Credit Cards
  •  California Penal Code 503: Embezzlement
  •  California Penal Code 504: Embezzlement by a Public Official
  •  California Penal Code 529: False Impersonation 
  •  California Penal Code 531 – Participating in a Fraudulent Conveyance
  •  California Penal Code 532: Theft by False Pretenses
  •  California Penal Code 532f: Mortgage Fraud
  •  California Penal Code 548: Damage or Abandon a Vehicle for Auto Insurance Fraud
  •  California Penal Code 548-551: Auto Insurance Fraud
  •  California Penal Code 550 – Submitting Fraudulent Insurance Claims
  •  California Penal Code 550(a): Health Insurance Fraud
  •  California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101: Unemployment Insurance Fraud
  •  California Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 – Welfare Fraud
  •  California Penal Code 115: Filing a False or Forged Document

What Happens if You Are Found Guilty of a White-Collar Crime?

Defendants found guilty of misdemeanor convictions for white-collar offenses are usually sentenced to anywhere from days to months in the county jail, up to one year. Felony offenders face steeper penalties, with time to be served in the state penitentiary. A minimum of one year in prison is standard. 

Some offenders may be eligible to serve their criminal sentences on “house arrest” or home detention. This alternative to prison involves wearing a home monitoring anklet or another device that tracks the person’s activity and ensures that they do not move out of a pre-determined range for a specified period of time. 

Beyond incarceration and the loss of liberty, persons convicted of white-collar crimes face:

  • Fines, which can be tens of thousands of dollars or more. 
  • Repayment of restitution to victims. 
  • Forfeiture of personal property used in a crime or purchased/obtained due to criminal activity. 
  • Loss of reputation.
  • Loss of employability, as many employers refuse to hire people with criminal records. 
  • Ban from holding public office. 
  • Deportation (for non-U.S. citizens) convicted of white-collar offenses. This includes lawful permanent residents with legitimate work visas. 

Penal Code 186.11 White Collar Crime Sentencing Enhancements

The penalties assessed to a defendant adjudged guilty of a white-collar offense depend on the severity of the offense. 

Two white-collar crimes in California—fraud and embezzlement—may come with PC 186.11 enhancements. The state of California has strict definitions for both crimes. 

The definition of embezzlement has remained unchanged since 1872:

Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.

Fraud takes on many forms in the state of California, but all of them fall under a broad definition. 

Fraud involves making use of lies or deceit to garner financial benefits for themselves or to avoid being found culpable in a criminal case. 

Fraud may be perpetrated as health care fraud, Medi-Cal fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, automobile insurance fraud, or mortgage fraud. 

Sentencing enhancements for individuals charged with embezzlement and fraud may apply if the defendant: 

  • Carries out two or more related felonies. 
  • Demonstrates a pattern of felonious behavior.
  • Commits felonies that result in $100K or more in financial losses to victims. 

Under PC 186.11, persons investigated for embezzlement or fraud may be subject to a seize-and-freeze provision that allows the courts to freeze and seize their assets during the investigation. Upon a guilty verdict, those assets may be sold, and any proceeds used to pay the offender’s fines or restitution to victims. 

If found guilty of embezzlement or fraud, offenders under enhanced sentencing guidelines may face:

  • As much as five additional years of incarceration.
  • Up to an added $500K in fines. 
  • Double the loss caused by the embezzlement or fraud assessed as a fine.  

Defending White Collar Criminal Charges

All clients in criminal court are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers. It is the job of the prosecutorial team to provide evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are guilty of the white-collar crimes against you. 

Your Riverside white-collar crimes lawyer will look at several factors when determining the most feasible defense strategy in your case. Questions to consider include: 

Did you intentionally perpetrate fraud or take money that didn’t belong to you? 

For most white-collar criminal charges, such as embezzlement or fraud, the prosecution must show that the defendant acted with criminal intent. If the prosecution fails to provide evidence that it was your intention to commit a crime—beyond a reasonable doubt—then the charges against you may be dismissed. For instance, if it was not your intention to deceive someone when you committed the act that resulted in your charges, then you cannot be adjudged guilty of the charge. 

Are there reasons for a jury to doubt your guilt?

A conviction in a white-collar criminal case hinges on the prosecution’s ability to prove that you committed the offense of which you are accused to the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Effective defense strategies poke holes in the prosecution’s argument, giving the jury enough reason to doubt your guilt. If this happens, a conviction cannot be obtained. 

Was a lack of knowledge involved?

Another strategy that may be viable in your situation is to demonstrate that you lacked the knowledge that what you were doing was wrong. This is often the case if multiple people or organizations are involved. You may not have been aware that unlawful practices were being carried about by colleagues or others in your organization. If you did not know or have the capacity for the knowledge of the crime being committed, then it will not be possible to prove intent, which is necessary in most white-collar cases. 

Were you coerced or entrapped?

In some cases, a defendant is coerced into forging a document or participating in fraudulent activity. Similarly, defendants may be the victim of entrapment if they are induced, coerced, or intimidated by law enforcement offers to commit the crime that results in the charges they are facing. This is usually as a result of force, fraud, or threats. 

A conviction for a white-collar crime can have lifelong ramifications on your life and the lives of your family. It erodes the trust that people have in you, causes major rifts in familial and even professional relationships, and it can affect your career trajectory in an impactful, lasting way. It can also create a strain or even overwhelm your finances, setting you and your family up for financial disaster that will be hard to recover from. 

At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, we value your liberty and freedom, and we care about preserving your rights. Our Riverside white-collar crimes lawyer pledges to work diligently to help you realize the best possible outcome in your case, and we will go above and beyond to negate and reduce any penalties you face. Visit our website to request a confidential consultation or give us a call in Riverside at 951-667-5293 or Orange County at 714-758-5293 to set up an appointment to discuss your case in greater depth.