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Posted on in White Collar Crimes

CT defense attorneyAs technology advances, so, unfortunately, does the gamut of crimes that can be committed with it. Cybercrimes are a broad category of offenses that encompasses generally anything involving a third party’s computer, and while many are considered white-collar crimes, some of them can be the first steps toward violence. If you have been charged with a computer crime in Connecticut, you should expect it to be taken very seriously.

The Law Is Broad

Connecticut law governing computer crime is very specific on some counts and very vague on others. The relevant statute lists several broad categories of computer crime, as well as the specific criteria to use when attempting to charge someone with any of these crimes. Despite this, the application of Connecticut’s laws can seem counterintuitive at times, especially when dealing with crimes that involve malice or threat.

For example, someone who commits the crime of cyberstalking or cyberbullying would most likely be charged under Connecticut’s harassment laws, rather than under the specific computer crime laws, even though both the computer and the underlying conduct are key factors in the charge. Computer crimes have specific criteria, and often cyberstalking cases do not rise to that level. Still, it can get confusing to try and discern how you might be prosecuted if you try to handle the issue alone.

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CT defense lawyerMost people think that white collar crime is the province of Wall Street and the wealthy; in reality, white collar crime is the name used for a wide variety of crimes that do not involve violence, but do involve cheating or lying. It is a serious charge to lay at someone’s door, and if you have been accused of such conduct, it is imperative to have an experienced attorney on your side who understands this type of law.

An Ever-Changing Term

Because historically, the ‘white collar’ has been used to denote a richer and ostensibly less violent class of people, but also the hallmark of professionals such as lawyers and accountants, the term ‘white collar crime’ has been used to describe any crime involving dishonesty or fraud. Examples to be found in the Connecticut General Statutes include (but are not limited to) fraud (more specifically mail fraud, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, and the like), embezzlement, money laundering, bribery, identity theft, forgery, tax evasion, creating or passing counterfeit bills, and many more.

In recent years, the term has evolved yet again to include more ‘new’ crimes, such as those requiring technology to commit. Cyber crimes fall under the realm of white collar crime, even though they can at times be violent - for example, stalking can turn violent if the behavior is not stopped or the alleged perpetrator is not arrested. It is important to keep this umbrella term in mind, even if it is inexact, because sometimes judges, in particular, may try to make ‘examples’ out of ‘white collar criminals.’

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CT defense lawyerCrime evolves right along with law enforcement, utilizing technology and its convenience to commit more offenses. In perhaps the last 30 years, computer-based crimes have become more and more common, creating a need for new laws and different types of enforcement. However, sometimes people with no criminal intent can get caught up in the dragnet. If you have been arrested and charged with a computer crime, you need an experienced Stamford criminal defense attorney to help get you through the process.

Many Different Types

A general computer crime statute exists in Connecticut, covering several possible offenses, including misuse of a computer system, unauthorized access to a computer system, and intentional disruption or denial of computer services. However, computer crimes are somewhat unique in that these are very rarely charged as isolated offenses. They will often be charged in connection with another crime - for example, the use of a computer to harass or threaten another person is still technically a computer crime, despite the fact that harassment can be done without the use of technology.

While the laws surrounding many other offenses also may provide for a civil cause of action, no specific computer crime-related one exists in Connecticut law. If a person believes there may be grounds for a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator, the recommended course of action is to bring suit under the overarching legal theory (for example, if a person was cyberbullied, they would likely bring a civil suit alleging harassment).

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Posted on in White Collar Crimes

CT defense lawyerYou have probably heard the term “white collar crime,” but you might not know what that term actually means. A white collar crime is generally a nonviolent, financially motivated offense by a business or government professional. The classic example is an employee stealing money from his employer.

In Connecticut, white collar crimes carry stiff penalties. Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been charged with committing any type of white-collar offense.

Types of White Collar Crimes

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CT defense lawyerWe hear stories about credit card breaches all the time. That’s why more than two-thirds of consumers are concerned about fraud. You should also be concerned if you are charged with committing a credit card crime, because these are serious offenses in Connecticut. Here are two examples:

  • Credit card theft and fraud. Anyone who takes another person’s credit card without their consent with the intent to use or sell it is guilty of credit card theft. Offenders can spend up to five years in jail and pay a $5,000 fine. Anyone who obtains a credit card as security for debt with the intent to defraud is also subject to these penalties; and
  • Illegal use of credit card. Anyone who uses a credit card knowing it is forged, expired, or revoked, or who pretends to be the holder of a credit card that hasn’t actually been issued, is guilty of illegal use of a credit card. This is a misdemeanor if the value of goods obtained with the card doesn’t exceed $500. Offenders can spend up to five years in jail and pay a $5,000 fine.

The difference between credit card theft and illegal use of a credit card is that the first punishes people who illegally obtain credit cards, and the other punishes people who illegally use credit cards.

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you’re arrested for these offenses or any type of credit card-related crime.

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