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Houston White Collar Crimes Lawyer

White Collar Crimes Attorney in Houston, TX

The word "crime" may conjure images of handguns, black ski masks, and stolen loot in canvas bags, but as we are all aware, instances of crime are not usually so overt. A wide variety of crime hinges on subtlety and discretion to be carried out, thereby making its negative impact not readily detectable. "White collar crime" is a catch-all term for an array of offenses, but it is distinguished in criminology as usually being alleged against "a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation."

A white collar criminal often does not gel with the conventional image of "criminal". For high profile examples, think The Wolf of Wall Street's Jordan Belfort or Catch Me If You Can's Frank Abagnale. White collar crime, generally speaking, is nonviolent and financially motivated. Despite their nonviolent nature, white collar crimes carry the potential for severe punishment, especially under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. For that reason, if you are accused of a white collar crime, you will likely require exceptional legal representation from a Houston criminal defense attorney.

(Some) Types of White Collar Crime


Fraud is defined as a "false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed" with the intent to deceive another. When instances of fraud cross state lines, it becomes a federal matter, to be tried in a federal court. Otherwise, it is subject to the jurisdiction of the state it occurred in. Not all cases of fraud are necessarily criminal, and it is up to the prosecution's discretion as to which cases they will pursue. Generally, if someone knowingly misrepresents facts for purposes of their gain and to the detriment of another, it may constitute fraud.

Fraud cases may include:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Check fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Use of mail or bank wires to commit fraud
  • Money laundering


Bribery can occur in a political or civil context. In a political context, Texas law defines an incident of bribery as when someone "intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees to confer" a benefit in exchange for an official's decision, vote, or other official exercise. If an official accepts or agrees to accept, they are equally liable for a charge of bribery. Removing the political context, bribery may involve offering an exchange of benefit for an official exercise of some sort. Political bribery is a second degree felony.

Ponzi schemes

A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that involves promoting the perception that a nonexistent business is successful by making quick repayments to initial investors with the investment funds of later investors.


Embezzlement involves the misuse of lawfully attained assets. On a small scale, imagine a store clerk pocketing a few dollars from the cash drawer that they have authorized access to. On a large scale, embezzlement can occur when business professionals funnel funds into their own bank accounts, alleging that they were business expenses.


Cybercrime is a broad term for crimes committed via the internet. This can include digital piracy, copyright infringement, hacking, unwarranted mass surveillance, and financial or identity theft.

Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement has become fairly well understood, to the point of being self-explanatory. It involves the illegal use of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. It may or may not occur with digital/cyber means, making it a real world or cyber crime.

Money Laundering

Money laundering occurs when a person uses money obtained illegally in such a way that hides its origins and/or results in tax evasion,

Identity Theft

Using another's name, identity number, or financial information in place of your own constitutes identity theft.


Forgery constitutes the alteration, creation, completion, execution, or authentication of any writing in an attempt to purport authorization of an act. Writing, here, means:

  • Printing or any other means of recording information
  • Money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, and trademarks
  • Symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification

According to the Justice Department, the definition of white collar crime may be expanded to include any nonviolent but deceitful, concealing, trust-breaching, or manipulatory behavior.

Corporate Liability for White Collar Crime in Texas

It is important to note that in many white collar crime cases, an individual was acting on behalf of another person or a corporation. For this reason, corporations are often held similarly liable for certain illegal behavior of their employees. Under Texas law, a corporation may be liable for an employee's action if, by committing the crime:

  • The employee acted within the scope of their duties, and
  • The employee acted on behalf of the corporation that employed them, and
  • The employee committed a crime laid out in the penal code or another law strictly defined as a liability or corporation crime, or
  • The act was authorized or requested by a high managerial agent or directing board

Penalties for White Collar Crime in Texas

Given the wide variety of crimes encompassed by the term, penalties vary widely. Some offenses may be classified as misdemeanors, meaning that the penalty for an offense includes fines and a jail term. Others are classified as felonies and carry significant fines and lengthy prison sentences.

Contact Our Houston White Collar Crime Defense Attorney

To be accused of a white collar crime is no small matter. It may be frightening, and the manner of complexities involved can be confusing. A charge will assuredly require skilled and zealous legal representation. Doug Murphy is well-equipped with years of experience, and he is ready to put up an aggressive fight in the courtroom on your behalf. Houston white collar crime defense attorney Doug Murphy is devoted to upholding your rights and exploring all legal options in the hope of building you a foolproof defense. A conviction for a white collar crime could wreak havoc on your career and finances. If you have been charged or suspect you will be, contact skilled Houston defense attorney Doug Murphy at 713-229-8333 to begin going over the options available to fight your charge.

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