When a North Carolina county insurance company conducted an investigation into its Register of Deeds office, it discovered a bit of an irregularity. Over a period of four years, there was $2.3 million that wasn’t accounted for. The office handles a large volume of legal document filings, many of which include fees often paid in cash. Authorities indicated the office lacked an established protocol or basic procedure for handling cash transactions. When other employees raised their concerns, the department head dismissed the issue.
In all, four county employees were charged. The department head’s actions were deemed the most egregious due not only to the fact of the large sum of money misappropriated but also because of the duty of trust that was violated by the actions. The defendant reached a plea agreement with the prosecution. In addition to the restitution of the money, the judge ordered the woman to serve five to seven years in prison but allowed her to participate in the work release program. It allows a prisoner to leave prison during the day for employment obligations.
The newly appointed department head publicly criticized what he deemed too light a sentence for his predecessor. In particular, he pointed to the work release agreement as not being a sufficient deterrent to keep others from attempting such an act.
White-collar crime involves allegations by the government of nonviolent financial acts committed by means of one’s occupation or business. In defending an individual against such charges, Charlotte, North Carolina, white-collar criminal defense attorneys have many options based on the facts and circumstances of each case. For instance, in this situation, the department head received what many perceived as a light sentence, which was perhaps due to her traumatic childhood’s mitigating circumstances, which was presented by her counsel.