The White Collar Crime Inside

By W. James Payne Law Firm

Volume 2, Number 1
August 2020


Article By: W. James Payne


Silent victories are the greatest victories for the criminally accused, particularly in the white collar world. A recent victory in my office brought this to mind and seemed appropriate to discuss here. The scenario this article will discuss will be deliberately generic for the very reason that is the premise of this article – anonymity of the accused. We even want it clear that this may or may not be a state, federal, or military prosecution; but, the theme and tactics apply equally to any venue. Much of the pain in criminal investigations and prosecutions is the public humiliation of arrest, trial, and incarceration. The goal of the criminal defense attorney is to protect the client from all of those nightmares. Thus, when a criminal defense attorney is able to take a client and through zealous and innovative advocacy complete avoid the client from having to bear any of this humiliation, the victory is the sweetest of all.

Earl (name changed to protect the innocent) came to my office because a law enforcement officer had contacted him concerning certain embezzlement allegations from particularly vulnerable victims (classic white collar). The smartest thing Earl did at that critical point was to politely decline to speak and seek advice of counsel. Earl has spent his many years on earth completely foreign to the criminal justice system. The thought of possible prosecution and prison devastated him. He came to my office a broken man. He never imagined he would have to hire a criminal lawyer. That was the second smartest thing Earl did.

What followed for Earl was the quiet, persistent advocacy that is the hallmark of the seasoned lawyer of the accused. We know that advocacy does not begin at the courtroom door. Adcocacy begins from the moment the lawyer steps up to the mark, and it takes many forms. These forms certainly include courtroom advocacy, but is much more than that. For months we consistently and persistently provided to the prosecution evidence of Earl’s innocence. At this critical stage, to charge or not to charge was in the discretion of the prosecution. The horse, in other words, had not left the barn. We wanted to keep the horse in the stall. Becasue we were able to early and often advocate Earl’s innocence to the prosecution, we ultimately got the “white flag”. “Enough. We quit.” The telephone call to Earl was the sweetest of all. No one will ever know. No pain of arrest. No pain of trial. No pain of prison. For Earl, the sweetest victory of all. And that, for the criminal defense attorney, is the point of it all.

Steve Bannon, ‘We Build the Wall’ Organizers Arrested, Charged with Defrauding Donor

Steve Bannon, a former adviser to President Trump, was among four suspects arrested Thursday and indicted in connection with an online fundraising campaign that allegedly defrauded donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Justice Department announced.

According to the indictment, Bannon and co-defendant Brian Kolfage told the public that they were a “volunteer organization” and that 100% of the money raised would go toward their stated goal, which was to raise money for the federal government to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read more here.

No drunk skiing in Wyoming. State law holds that “no person shall move uphill on any passenger tramway or use any ski slope or trail while such person’s ability to do so is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or by the use of any illicit controlled substance or other drug.”