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Spotlight on white collar crime enforcement in new administration

Virtually any commentary or general overview focusing on the topic of federal crime will heavily stress behavior in the so-called "white collar" criminal realm.

Our website at the East Bay Law Office of John W. Noonan in Dublin is no exception, with the firm devoting a page to our practice area in that singular area of law.

As is quickly apparent to any reader scanning the information we provide on federal crimes, criminal conduct in the white collar sphere is heavily emphasized, with reference made to crimes like bribery, forgery, embezzlement, ID theft and fraud of many types.

Here is a question on the minds of some commentators these days, especially given U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions' stated emphasis on pursuing alleged criminal activity in realms outside the white collar universe: Will that declared focus bring a corresponding reduction in time, energy and resources devoted to spotlighting and punishing white collar criminal activity?

Some people believe it might. One recent national media report stresses a priority of the new presidential administration "to crack down on illegal drugs, violent crime and illegal immigration." Arguably, that sharp focus could dull criminal enforcements elsewhere, such as in the white collar sphere.

D. Michael Crites, who wrote that article, has years of regulatory and legal experience in the white collar area. Crites dismisses arguments stressing that white collar probes and prosecutions will diminish under the Trump administration.

In fact, he thinks that the heightened climate of white collar crime scrutiny that was prevalent during the Obama presidency and marked by exacting punishments for convicted defendants will likely continue unabated during the current administration. There are ample signs that such will be the case, he says, including pointed comments made recently by Sessions indicating that white collar crime investigations and prosecutions will continue to be a strong government priority.

Unquestionably, white collar criminal probes have been on the front burner for state and federal agents and task forces over the past several years.

Crites and many other commentators view it as unlikely that there will be any material change going forward regarding the heightened scrutiny and aggressive prosecution of suspected wrongdoers.

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