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White-collar crimes are being prosecuted by the federal government less than they have been in the past 20 years. Changes to the Justice Department budget along with the intervention of defendant’s attorneys are two likely reasons for the decrease in prosecutions.

Prosecution for Federal White-Collar Crimes Has Decreased

While crimes involving the state may be a different story, those living in or visiting Nevada may find it interesting to know that the amount of federal prosecutions for white-collar crimes has dropped and is now at a 20-year low. Analyzing Justice Department documents showed researchers at Syracuse University that there has been at least a 36 percent decline in this kind of prosecution in the past 20 years.

What is a white-collar crime?

Crimes considered white-collar typically involve violations or fraud in areas like:

Mail fraud was the leading white-collar crime charge 20 years ago while bank fraud was a large problem 10 years ago. Identity theft was the most prosecuted offense only five years ago, and the federal government now has the largest problem with wire, radio or television fraud.

The Current Landscape

In the first nine months of 2015, there have been 5,173 white-collar crime cases tried by the federal government. The researchers pointed out that this number is down by about 4,000 cases compared to a decade ago, but this does not mean that there is currently less white-collar crime in America. One reason fewer prosecutions occur could be the recent budget cuts to the Justice Department as there is less money for investigations.

On Defense

Even with less work being done by prosecutors, some of the credit for lower prosecution numbers likely goes to the law firms who defend those accused of white-collar crimes in federal court. Attorneys today take proactive steps to defend their clients, which might not only lead to fewer convictions but could also prevent charges from being filed.

One’s life could be changed forever if convicted of a white-collar crime in state or federal court. When being suspected or accused of a crime, a defense attorney might be vital to a successful outcome.