When committing a white-collar crime in the state of New York, it is recommended for you to make sure that upon arrest, you are picked up by New York’s law enforcement as opposed to getting arrested by the federal authorities. There are several reasons why you should ensure that the city’s law enforcement is responsible for your arrest, one of which is so you can get better access to a Westchester criminal defense lawyer.

While the state authorities are concerned with shaking you down for some money in the form of fines and other petty penalties, getting arrested by federal authorities mean one thing: landing in jail and getting jail time.

There are several people who have been arrested in New York for various white-collar crimes. Some had it good, as they were only arrested by the state’s law enforcement, while others had it worse because arrests were made by federal authorities.

To help you get a better perspective on this, below is the case of a former Congressman, Michael Grimm who was arrested by federal authorities in New York City for not paying sales tax.

The Michael Grimm case:

Former Congressman Michael Grimm was an elected official who represented New York’s 13th and 11th congressional districts. Being the only Republican to represent such a large portion of the city, Michael Grimm seemed to have wormed his way in, getting himself a special spot in the legal system. However, with the laws of America are expected to be applied even-handedly, Michael Grimm got himself special treatments which precluded him from some of the provisions of the law, or so he thought. 

Michael Grimm, from Staten Island, played his games right with sales and payroll taxes from his restaurant named Healthalicious. He managed to skim back a little, then more and each time, putting more money in his pocket against the IRS. 

In April of 2014, The Brooklyn Attorney’s Office made public information about the case, revealing the sentencing documents which came as a result of a plea agreement signed between the involved parties, Michael Grimm and the government.

The court records showed that Michael Grimm, the former congressman, ran several schemes which were targeted at under-reporting the real amount which was made from his restaurant business. He was also found to have falsified information about wages, fraudulently lowering taxes due and also lowering the value of workers’ compensation premiums owed by the restaurant.

The former congressman was faced with a 22-count indictment charge which pointed him to having concealed an amount estimated at over $900,000 in receipts. In the aftermath of investigations, both the federal and state tax authorities were not in the least pleased with the development and in turn slammed him with a 30-month jail term.

Michael Grimm, who was also a former FBI agent, was however released seven months after he was sentenced.

The High-Tech version of Michael Grimm’s Scam

A Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, charged no less than eight people for the same crimes committed by Michael Grimm. However, in this case, it was a high-tech version of the same scam.

The accused persons, instead of merely pocketing the cash which was scraped from the government through a cunning way of slicing the earnings of seven persons in the group, went ahead to make use of high-tech cash registers known as zappers. The eighth arrested individual was reported to have sold the equipment to the seven businessmen.

The accused were, according to court documents revealed to have pleaded guilty to the crimes and admitted to underreporting their earnings which accumulated to over two million dollars in sales tax. The court documents also revealed that in one month, sales tax due was reported to the tune of $100,000.

As punishment for the crimes committed, court documents never posted anything remotely related to jail time.

Crimes against revenue program

Crimes against revenue program, also known as CARP, started off in 2004. The program stated that a person who has been caught cheating the state and city out of money has to reimburse the total amount stolen and in addition, is levied with a hefty fine.

White-Collar Crimes

The Vance office would only comment on the financial penalties and plea agreement, making sure that the documents were sealed. 

The New York’s law, however, noted that the District Attorney’s (DA’s) office will get a piece of the action involving the zappers. The law, allowing the DA’s to get a piece of the action influences the decision of the district attorneys to find cheaters.

Shakedown?

The state of New York favors such a shakedown compared to a full blown prosecution. But that is what it is. It seems no one really cares about white-collar crimes in the state of New York. 

CARP benefits both the white-collar criminals and the DAs. The fines posed on white-collar criminals are aimed at recouping most or some of the money that has been scammed out from them. With the CARP shakedown, no one’s name is sullied as in the end, and the goal is to collect as much money as possible from the erring parties.

Getting Arrested

You may ask why the state of New York does not press charges against white-collar criminals. Well, this is solely because the state laws are most often hazy and not clearly discerning, especially on crimes resulting from the use of the latest technologies. In addition, it can be said that state legislators are also busy committing their own variant of crimes on the side, thus occupying their time and helping them turn a blind eye to white-collar and related crimes.

The takeaway

Putting into consideration the various sentences delivered on the restaurant owners, including Michael Grimm, it is clear that the other seven restaurant owners arrested by the state got a better deal compared to the arrest made by the federal authorities.

The state laws remain shady and hazy, thus offering lenient penalties to those who may have committed white-collar crimes, more so, those who have committed such crimes using the latest technologies.

By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.