You may think that only violent crimes can bring penalties such as many years or life in prison. But non-violent so-called white-collar crimes such as fraud, theft and embezzlement also can bring severe punishments for those who may have committed such crimes without ever leaving their office in Houston or elsewhere.
Take the ongoing case of former attorney Michael Avenatti, who is already in prison and faces still more white-collar charges and trials.
He avoided one trial recently by pleading guilty to the embezzlement of millions of dollars from 4 former clients. Yet he continues to face even more federal charges.
A Houston mortgage broker and licensed real estate agent and her stepson were sentenced to 11 years and 7 years, respectively, for a bank fraud scheme.
Lengthy jail time for theft, extortion
CNN reports that Avenatti pleaded guilty on June 16, 2022, in California to 4 counts of wire fraud for each client he stole from and one count of endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code.
According to federal prosecutors, Avenatti had obstructed the Internal Revenue Service’s attempts to collect $5 million in unpaid payroll taxes for a company he operated.
With a statutory maximum sentence of 83 years, sentencing for these white-collar crimes is set for September 19. However, if prosecutors decide to continue proceeding on other counts of federal crimes against Avenatti, that sentencing would be delayed.
The additional charges against him include 31 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and bankruptcy fraud, as well as more tax-related charges.
He also faces indictments for embezzling money from former clients, failing to file tax returns and lying in a court case that concerned his previous law firm.
Avenatti is already serving a 5-year prison sentence after 2 convictions in New York. These included extortion involving Nike and theft of a book advance from former client Stormy Daniels.
White-collar crimes in the Houston area
Whether federal or state crimes, not all white-collar crimes involve millions of dollars. One federal case in the Houston area involved a Fort Bend County man collecting nearly $290,000 in military pension checks sent over a 20-year span to his late uncle.
The man faced a minimum of 18 months in federal prison for that crime of fraud.
However, his criminal defense lawyer, Neal Davis of Houston’s Neal Davis Law Firm, argued for leniency at sentencing and got a 2-year probated sentence for his client, who thus avoided any prison time. The man also waived a grand jury investigation and agreed to repay the diverted funds in $500 installments.
Davis described his client to the court as a “wonderful family man” who’d expressed remorse for his actions, accepted responsibility for them and understood the breadth of his crime. The judge acknowledged in handing down the sentence that it was lenient.
Houston white-collar defense attorney Neal Davis wins leniency for a Fort Bend County jail guard who admitted to pocketing nearly $290,000 in military pension checks.
Davis Law Firm honored for white-collar defense
The Neal Davis Law Firm has been honored consistently for its skill in handling the defense of various types of white-collar crimes, which also can include bribery, identity theft, healthcare fraud, insurance fraud, credit card fraud, insider trading, money laundering, copyright infringement, mail fraud, securities fraud, counterfeiting and labor racketeering.
How consistently has the Davis firm been honored for its work with white-collar crime defense? In every year since 2015, Neal Davis has been named among the top 5 percent of defense attorneys for white-collar crimes in America by the publication Best Lawyers in America. He also has been named among the best lawyers in America for general criminal defense since 2019.
Such honors are based on confidential peer reviews. No lawyer may pay or contribute in any way to the publication’s selections.
Another merit-based honor for the firm is an AV Rating by the revered legal directory Martindale-Hubbell, which singles out attorneys based on reviews by judges and clients as well as peers.
The Neal Davis Law Firm also has earned the coveted AVVO Clients’ Choice Award based on reviews by clients.
Contact an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer
If you or a family member faces a criminal charge involving a white-collar crime or a violent crime, such as assault, contact the award-winning Neal Davis Law Firm today. The law firm handles cases for residents of Houston and throughout Harris County, as well as for residents of Fort Bend County and Montgomery County.