The popular representation of white collar crimes may often be that of a high-tech scheme concocted and carried out by sophisticated, "James Bond"-type perpetrators. Yet in reality, such offenses are typically committed by ordinary people caught up in fraudulent schemes. In fact, such crimes can often seem so unextraordinary that they could realistically be going on right under people's noses without them knowing about it. If and when such activity is brought to light, however, how those who find out about it react could potentially play a role in assigning culpability in the future.
This point is clearly illustrated in a recent case involving a Minnesota woman. In late 2016, she allegedly discovered that her husband's options trading business was actually a ponzi scheme. Instead of investing his client's money, the man had used it to fund their lifestyle. Rather than insisting that he stop, however, she supposedly helped him carry on the scheme, sending reassuring emails and texts to clients while also helping to bring in new investors. In all, the couple reportedly stole over $1 million from 51 people.
The woman's husband was sentenced to over nine years in prison last year. She was recently given a two-year prison sentence for her role in the crime. Upon their release, both will be required to pay back the money claimed in the scheme as restitution.
Oftentimes, the question of what one close to another who was involved in white collar crime may not be as clear as it apparently was in this case. In such a situation, one might be forced to defend his or her ignorance of the other's actions in order to avoid facing criminal penalties as well. Such a defense may be bolstered if one has a reliable criminal defense attorney in his or her corner.