Brock Benjamin is a leading white collar crimes attorney representing clients in Las Cruces and throughout New Mexico. Principal attorney of El Paso-based Benjamin Law Firm, Brock is a former prosecutor with comprehensive legal knowledge and unique insight into the tactics the government relies on to prosecute fraud.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, you need the informed representation our legal team provides. When you consult us, we will take the time to understand the charges against you and carefully weigh the prosecution’s evidence to determine the best legal strategy.
Although state and federal prosecutors have an unfair advantage over fraud defendants, we have the skills and experience to level the playing field. Knowing that a white collar crimes conviction can have harsh consequences, including lengthy imprisonment, significant fines, and collateral damage to your reputation, we will fight to protect your freedom and your future.
Trust our dedicated white collar crimes attorney to have your back and always work in your best interests. Please contact our office today so we can start working on your case.
What are white collar crimes in Las Cruces, New Mexico?
While convictions for violent crimes, drug crimes, and sex crimes in New Mexico capture much of the media spotlight, white collar crimes are zealously prosecuted by both the state and federal government. Unlike a violent crime, a white collar crime is a financially motivated offense that involves aspects of deceit, concealment, and a violation of trust, or fraud.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, Benjamin Law Firm will provide you with informed representation when you need it most. Whether you are a sole defendant or a business, an executive or an employee, Brock Benjamin is a premier criminal defense attorney with a proven history of achieving successful outcomes in plea negotiations and jury trials.
Our legal team has developed innovative, effective legal strategies to handle an array of white collar crimes in Las Cruces, including:
Bank fraud can involve (1) the use of illegal means to obtain money or assets from a bank or financial institution or (2) attempts to divert funds from a bank’s depositors by pretending to be a bank. Examples of bank fraud include:
- Loan Fraud — occurs when a person or entity provides false information or forged documents (e.g. bank statements, W-2s, income tax returns) to a financial institution to secure a mortgage, auto, or business loan
- Forgery — involves the use of an altered check or financial instrument to unlawfully obtain funds either by changing the name or the amount
- Stolen checks — used to open bank accounts into which funds can be diverted
- Bank impersonation — occurs when a party falsely acts as a financial institution to lure people into depositing funds
- Internet Fraud — involves using a website to pose as a bank or other financial institution to unlawfully obtain bank deposits
Because bank fraud is a federal crime, the penalties are significant: up to 30 years in prison, fines up to $1 million, probation, and restitution. The best way to protect your rights and your freedom is to work with an experienced Las Cruces white collar crimes attorney.
Bankruptcy fraud involves violations of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This white collar crime occurs when a debtor intentionally:
- Conceals assets to avoid forfeiture
- Files false information with, or withholds information from, the bankruptcy court
- Uses false information to file multiple bankruptcy petitions in one or more jurisdictions
- Attempts to bribe a bankruptcy trustee
The common type of bankruptcy fraud involves the concealment of assets. This may include failing to disclose assets to the trustee or transferring undisclosed assets to relatives, friends, or business associates (fraudulent conveyance).
In any event, a conviction for bankruptcy fraud can result in up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 fine. Individuals and businesses facing bankruptcy fraud charges in Las Cruces need the powerful representation Benjamin Law Firm provides.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud, a form of identity theft, occurs when an individual or entity:
- Unlawfully obtains, uses, sells, buys, or forges another individual’s credit card, debit card, or personal credit information
- Knowingly uses an expired or revoked credit card, or a credit account with insufficient funds to pay for the charges
- Knowingly buys goods or services with a stolen credit card or debit card or using one without authorization
Depending on the severity of the offense, a conviction for credit card fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and/or fines up to $10,000. Working with the right white collar crimes attorney can mean the difference between losing your freedom and clearing your good name.
Embezzlement occurs when an individual in a position of trust has legal access to another’s personal, business, or estate assets and uses them for his or her gain. This type of fraud can occur in several settings. As an example, in an employment setting, embezzlement can involve an employee attempting to steal company assets or an officer misappropriating company funds.
Embezzlement can also occur if a fiduciary, such as an executor or trustee, misappropriates assets intended for the beneficiaries of an estate, or when family members or caretakers steal money or property from a person in their care.
Generally, the penalties for embezzlement in New Mexico depend on the value of the goods, services, or cash stolen. If you have been charged with embezzlement, it takes an experienced Las Cruces white collar crimes attorney to assert the strongest defense.
Healthcare fraud (Medicare/Medicaid fraud)
Healthcare fraud occurs when an individual or entity submits false or misleading information to a health insurer, Medicare, or Medicaid to recover payment for healthcare services. This form of white collar crime may involve:
- Billing for services that were not provided
- Administering unnecessary services
- Upcoding — billing for a more costly service than the one performed
- Unbundling — billing each stage of a procedure as if it were a separate procedure
It is important to note that Medicare is a federal program, and Medicaid is jointly run by the state and the federal government. As such, healthcare fraud can be charged at the state and federal level. At the federal level, the applicable healthcare fraud statutes include:
- False Claims Act
- Anti-Kickback statute
- Stark Law
- Criminal Health Care Fraud Statute
Applicable healthcare fraud laws in New Mexico include:
- The New Mexico Medicaid False Claims Act (MFCA)
- New Mexico Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA)
The New Mexico Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other law enforcement agencies work together to investigate New Mexico mental health providers, medical professionals, home health centers, hospice agencies, and various facilities that offer Medicaid and Medicare services.
At Benjamin Law Firm, we know how to fight back against the aggressive tactics of state and federal prosecutors and have a proven track record of successfully defending medical professionals and healthcare companies against healthcare fraud charges.
Identity theft occurs when a party uses another individual’s personal identifying information (e.g. name, Social Security number, or credit or debit card information) without permission for personal gain. Depending on the circumstance, identity theft can be charged as a felony in New Mexico, and the penalties may be elevated if the defendant has a prior felony conviction or the crime was committed in conjunction with other offenses, (e.g. elder fraud, use of a weapon). The best way to protect your rights is to work with an experienced Las Cruces identity theft defense attorney.
At Benjamin Law Firm, we know that the government has a high burden of proof in identity theft cases and will vigorously defend you by challenging any evidence, exposing flaws in the prosecution’s case, and asserting any and all defenses, including lack of knowledge and/or intent. When your freedom and future are on the line, our experienced criminal defense attorney will be by your side.
Insurance fraud occurs when a person or business intentionally deceives an insurance company to obtain money by knowingly:
- Presenting a false claim for payment
- Providing false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning a claim
- Submitting a false application to obtain an insurance policy
- Concealing information regarding an insurance application or claim
Common insurance fraud schemes in Las Cruces, New Mexico, include:
- A car owner selling his or her vehicle to a body shop (or “chop shop”) to be disassembled for parts and then reporting the car stolen
- Two drivers staging a car accident to recover money for the auto damages
- A homeowner submitting claims for property damage that did not occur after a storm to obtain a higher payout
Insurance fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in New Mexico, depending on the amount of the fraudulent claim. Given that a conviction can result in a lengthy prison and significant fines, working with an experienced white collar crimes attorney is essential.
When you consult with Benjamin Law Firm, you will have confidence knowing that an aggressive trial lawyer is in your corner. Above all, our objective is to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can start building your insurance fraud defense.
Money laundering is a financial transaction scheme in which funds gained from unlawful activities are integrated into legitimate resources. Examples of fraudulent financial transactions that constitute money laundering include:
- Large purchases and sales
- Monetary gifts
- Wire transfers
- Bank deposits
- Currency exchanges
In any event, money laundering can result in state and federal felony charges depending on the amount of money involved. Given that fraud investigations involve a detailed analysis of financial records, it takes an attorney with the skills and resources to mount an aggressive defense.
Brock Benjamin has a well-deserved reputation as a well-schooled fraud defense attorney who fights tirelessly to protect the rights of his clients. He will take the time to understand the charges against you, explore all your options, and choose the best line of defense.
Mortgage fraud occurs when individuals or businesses in Las Cruces use false information to defraud a bank or mortgage lender. In particular, this may involve:
- Providing inaccurate financial information or forging an identity on a mortgage loan application
- Providing a bank or mortgage lender with altered financial documents (e.g forged pay stubs, W-2s, tax returns, financial statements)
- Inflating a property appraisal to garner greater profits in a resale transaction
- Using a “straw buyer” to obtain a mortgage loan, and then selling the property (“flipping”)
Mortgage fraud can be charged at either the state or federal level, and the penalties vary based on the monetary value involved. In New Mexico, fraud charges involving $500 or less are considered misdemeanors, punishable by fines, probation, and a short jail sentence; however, mortgage fraud cases typically involve much greater amounts of money.
If the value of the transaction is $20,000 or more, mortgage fraud can be charged as a second-degree felony. Whether you are a homeowner accused of submitting a fraudulent loan application, or a mortgage broker or lender that has been charged with a mortgage fraud scheme, you need an experienced white collar crimes attorney in your corner.
Telemarketing fraud involves a variety of schemes over the phone, such as callers posing as bank or credit card employees or charities calling for donations in an attempt to elicit personal information or obtain money from the targeted individual. The elderly are at a higher risk of being defrauded in a telemarketing scheme.
It is worth noting that the federal government has jurisdiction over national telecommunications networks, which means that telemarketing fraud can be charged as a federal felony offense. Finally, telemarketing fraud often overlaps with mail and wire fraud.
Mail Fraud/Wire Fraud
Mail fraud and wire fraud are both state and federal offenses:
- Mail fraud involves the use of the U.S. postal service or a private carrier (e.g. FedEx) to commit fraud
- Wire fraud involves fraudulent activity conducted over wire-based communications, such as the telephone, fax, or television, or wireless communications via a smartphone (text) or the internet.
A variety of fraud schemes may involve the use of mail or wire communications, including forgery, credit card fraud, and money laundering. The penalties for mail and wire fraud under state law are significant, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. Given that mail and wire fraud typically involve other white collar crimes, you need an adept attorney like Brock Benjamin on your side.
Las Cruces White Collar Crimes and RICO
If you have been charged with a federal white collar crime, the government will likely tack on charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). This federal law, initially designed to combat organized crime, prohibits racketeering activity as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.
Because court rulings have vastly expanded the scope of RICO, any partnership, corporation, individual, association, or other legal entity involved in fraudulent activity may be considered a “RICO enterprise.” In addition, prosecutors may also bring charges under the Patriot Act, particularly in technology driven crimes.
If you are facing RICO charges, you face an uphill battle and an uncertain future: a conviction will result in serious penalties, including imprisonment, fines, asset forfeiture, and restitution
With so much at stake, it is wise to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Trust Benjamin Law Firm to mount an aggressive defense against your RICO charges as part of a comprehensive fraud defense strategy.
How Benjamin Law Firm Defends White Collar Crimes in Las Cruces, New Mexico
Although the government can tap vast financial resources and teams of powerful attorneys to gain convictions for white collar crimes, we have the knowledge and experience to level the playing field. When you become our client, we will leverage our skills and resources to build a strong defense.
We routinely collaborate with a respected network of private investigators and rely on advanced legal technology (e.g. e-discovery) to handle the large amounts of evidence typically associated with white collar crime cases (e.g. documents, data, and bank records). In doing so, we can uncover errors and exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Additionally, our attorney will work to determine whether law enforcement violated your civil rights. Did investigators conduct improper surveillance tactics? Did the police fail to obtain a valid search warrant from the court before seizing evidence from your home or business? Under these circumstances, we will file motions to suppress any evidence and seek to have the charges dismissed.
Ultimately, the best line of defense against fraud is to show a lack of intent because prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to commit fraud. It may also be possible to show you did not know or were not capable of knowing, you had engaged in fraud, or that you were coerced into committing fraud (a viable defense in forgery cases). Regardless of the charges you are facing, it takes an aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.
Contact Our Las Cruces, New Mexico White Collar Crimes Attorney
At Benjamin Law Firm, we are highly experienced in defending clients against a wide range of white collar crimes in state and federal court. Our legal team has comprehensive legal knowledge, proven trial skills, and a record of favorable outcomes defending clients against fraud charges.
Our objective is to have the case against you dismissed or win an acquittal; however, we will carefully assess the prosecution’s evidence to determine if negotiating a plea arrangement is the best course of action. Above all, we will always work in your best interests and make sure your rights are protected. Please contact our office today so we can start working on your case.