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"Only two or three cases out of 100 are vacated. This was rare", said Attorney Chris Van Wagner, legal analyst for Madison's Channel 3, "and it is the first time I have ever seen three judges hear oral arguments and decide immediately on an acquittal." Representation by Attorney Steve Hurley, legal commentary by Attorney Chris Van Wagner.
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White Collar Crimes

Wisconsin Laws

Awhite collar crime is a category of crimes grouped together because of their similarities, the main commonality being that they are all non-violent crimes. There is no statute called "white collar crimes", and for all intents, there is no actual definition for the term. Consequently, certain crimes may be grouped together in one state, but not another. In Wisconsin, there is a general acceptance in the legal profession of what constitutes a white collar crime - they are those crimes which transfer property or title without violence. Even so, extortion is often included as a white collar crime even though it usually involves threat of force or violence to compel a person to do something that he or she would not otherwise do.

Common White Collar Charges

In Wisconsin, a person can be charged for a state (Wisconsin) crime or a U. S. Federal crime. The majority of white collar criminal charges brought by the state of Wisconsin are listed below.

Other White Collar Criminal Charges

Although the listed white collar crimes above are more commonly charged in Wisconsin, any of the criminal actions in the table below can (are are) also charged.

Academic crime

Adulterated food, drugs, or cosmetics

Anti-trust violations

ATM fraud


Combinations in restraint in trade

Computer crimes

Confidence game

Contract fraud

Corrupt conduct by juror

Counterfeiting - Forgery

Defense contract fraud

Ecology law violations

Election law violations

Embezzlement - theft by fraud

Employment agency and education-related scams

Environmental law violations

False advertising and misrepresentation of products

False and fraudulent actions on loans, debs, and credits

False pretenses

False report, false statement - fraud

Forgery - Counterfeiting

Health and safety laws fraud

Health care providers fraud

Home improvement frauds

Impersonation fraud

Influence peddling Bribery

Insider trading fraud

Insurance fraud

Investment scams

Jury tampering - bribery

Kickback bribery

Land sale frauds

Mail fraud

Managerial fraud


Monopoly in restraint in trade

Ponzi schemes

Procurement fraud

Racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations

Religious fraud

Sports bribery - sports tampering

Strategic bankruptcy

Subornation of perjury - bribery

Swindle Fraud

Tax law violations

Telemarketing or boiler room scams 

Telephone fraud

Travel scams

Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle

Uttering counterfeiting forgery

Uttering bad checks

Welfare fraud

Wire fraud

Lesser common law crimes

Other crimes, such as larceny by trick ( a larceny - or theft - crime) or forgery are also charged under Wisconsin laws.

White Collar Crimes -v- Theft

Once considered the crime of corporate executives, white collar criminal charges are brought against many different classes of people today, including executives, managers, tellers, blue-collar workers, publicly held corporations, and small privately held companies. White collar crime involves the theft or attempted theft of property from another without permission or authority, which closely parallels the definition of theft: the taking and carrying away of the property of another without permission or authority with intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of that property, its use or its enjoyment. The differentiating factor that often separates white collar crime from theft is the possession of the property. For most white collar crimes, the property is in the custody or permissible possession of the one who steals it; conversely, a theft usually involves property that has not been entrusted to another constructively or otherwise.

White collar crime is a serious crime

Although white collar crimes are nonviolent, they are nonetheless a crime. Both Wisconsin law and federal law provide severe penalties for white collar crimes including and not limited to fines, jail or prison time, and probation.

Rights of Those Accused of White Collar Crimes

People charged with white collar crimes have the same rights as people charged with any other crime including the right to remain silent, the right to representation, and the right to a speedy trial. If you are under investigation for a white collar crime, it is wise to seek immediate legal counsel. The sooner you involve your attorney and obtain expert legal advice, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome. Often times, a criminal defense attorney can head off otherwise disastrous outcomes, especially when false allegations or accusations of some type of embezzlement or fraud are made and can potentially defame you and cause severe loss of revenues.

Complexities of White Collar Crimes

White collar crimes tend to be complex crimes, sometimes involving very sophisticated computer systems and complicated conspiracy schemes. Some white collar crimes are entirely planned and carried out by a single person, such as a bank teller. The more sophisticated the systems, the more challenging the defense strategy, so it is wise to consult with an attorney at Van Wagner & Wood who have had years of experience trying very complex cases.


The attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood have represented people in very simple and very complex white collar crime cases ranging from embezzlement of money from multiple dealerships to charges against a ham radio operator for domestic terrorism to the largest military conversion and conspiracy case ever known or tried in the state of Wisconsin. [Ft. McCoy Military Vehicle Theft Case] Once enlisted, Van Wagner & Wood's attorneys will take steps to prevent criminal charges from being filed whenever possible. The winning record of those attorneys has often persuaded prosecutors to forego charging their clients, even in the face of strong evidence that the crime was committed. If charges have already been filed, you can be reassured that the criminal defense attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood will bring their more than thirty years of combined criminal defense and criminal trial skills to your defense, seeking the best possible outcome.

Free Initial Consultation

If you are under investigation for a while collar crime, if you have been charged with a white collar crime, or if you already have been convicted of a white collar crime and believe your conviction or sentence were wrong, please contact the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood right away. The attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood will give you a brief and professional first-impression analysis of your case so that you may take the necessary steps to defend yourself.


Van Wagner & Wood, S.C.

One North Pinckney Street, Suite 300 | Madison WI 53703

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Criminal Defense Attorney Wisconsin White Collar Crime