Texas White Collar Crimes | Criminal Law

Texas Criminal Law

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You will find most of the Texas White Collar Crimes in the Penal Code (abbreviated herein as “PC”), but the legislature has sprinkled them liberally throughout Texas law.

Many of the White Collar Crimes include some element of fraud or bribery. Others involve different kinds of official or corporate misconduct. Many Texas state laws overlap with federal law, so both “sovereignties” may prosecute you for these offense.

What Are White Collar Crimes?

You can think of White Collar Crimes as criminal offenses that involve some element of fraud. The name comes from the idea that these offenses do not require getting your hands dirty or physical violence.

White-Collar crimes are generally financial crimes that involve theft, lies or some form of misappropriation. White-collar crimes are sometimes investigated by agencies that have narrow investigative missions, due to the complex nature of some white collar criminal laws and the complex nature of the investigations.

Who investigates Texas White Collar Crimes?

Many different federal and state agencies investigate fraud and other white collar crimes. Some of the law enforcement agencies that you will see frequently in Texas include: The Texas Attorney General, District Attorney’s Offices, the U.S. Attorney, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), and the United States Secret Service.

List of White Collar Crimes in Texas state law

The list below includes most of the White Collar Crimes in Texas state law:

Texas White Collar Crimes that Overlap with Federal White Collar Crimes

The federal government has its own set of laws codified in the United States Code. Many of these laws overlap with Texas White Collar Crimes. You can find a list below of some of the common overlapping White Collar Crimes.

Bank Fraud

The United States Code (18 U.S. Code § 1344) defines Bank Fraud as a federal criminal offense. To get a Bank Fraud conviction, the law requires the federal government to prove that you knowingly executed, or attempted to execute, a scheme or artifice — (1) to defraud a financial institution; or (2) to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises. Although this is a very broad definition that has the potential to criminalize may different acts, it is historically used to criminalize attempts to obtain money from bank depositors by fraudulently posing as a bank or other financial institution.


Blackmail is a federal criminal offense codified under 18 U.S. Code § 873. The statute makes it a federal criminal offense to demand or receive any money or other valuable thing, under a threat of informing, or as a consideration for not informing, against any violation of any law of the United States. The offense of blackmail prevents people from a form of “privately” enforcing laws. The law is set up such that you cannot attempt to get money from someone by threatening to inform police of their violations of law.

Bribery & Kickbacks

Bribery is prosecuted as a Texas offense under Chapter 36 of the Texas Penal Code. You can be prosecuted for bribery whether you accept, propose or offer a bribe–the door swings both ways. The Texas statute is as follows:

A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another:

(1) any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official, or voter;

(2) any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, vote, recommendation, or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding;

(3) any benefit as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed by law on a public servant or party official; or

(4) any benefit that is a political contribution as defined by Title 15, Election Code, or that is an expenditure made and reported in accordance with Chapter 305, Government Code, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit; notwithstanding any rule of evidence or jury instruction allowing factual inferences in the absence of certain evidence, direct evidence of the express agreement shall be required in any prosecution under this subdivision.

Cell Phone Fraud

“Cellular phone fraud” is a criminal offense that requires the government to prove that you engaged in “the unauthorized use, tampering or manipulation of a cellular phone or service.” Cell Phone Fraud – FCC Guide | SAPUTO Law. The Wireless Telephone Protection Act of 1998 expanded prior federal law to encompass a broad range of activity. Stolen phones, situations where you might be accused of signing up for service under false identification or where the you are accused of cloning a valid electronic serial number (ESN) by using an ESN reader might all result in a prosecution and conviction for cell phone fraud.

Computer fraud

Computer fraud is another broadly-described form of fraud, and it is defined as a federal criminal offense in 18 U.S. Code § 1030. The statute is very long, but it is important to note that the statute gives express authority to both the FBI and the Secret Service to investigate computer fraud offenses under federal law.

Counterfeiting & Forgery

The United States leglislature devoted an entire chapter of the United States Code to Counterfeiting & forgery offenses. See 18 U.S. Code Chapter 25. The White Collar crime of Counterfeiting essentially means the copying or imitation of financial items or the attempt to pass off such false copies as the true thing. In addition to counterfeiting money, the Counterfeiting offense includes items such as designer clothing, art, handbags and watches.

Credit Card Fraud

15 U.S. Code Section 1644 describes the offense of the federal criminal offense of the fraudulent use of credit cards. Basically, the government can convict you of this if you use someone else’s credit card or otherwise you a credit card or the card network system in a way to fraudulently acquire money.


Embezzlement is another broadly-defined federal law, with an entire chapter of federal criminal law statutes dedicated to “Embezzlement and Theft” (Chapter 31). The core description of embezzlement is an appropriation of money or property for a person’s own use by someone who was entrusted with the that money or property by another. It essentially involves a breach of trust.


Extortion is another “category” of offense described in the federal criminal statutes. Extortion and Threat offenses are defined under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 41. You can be convicted for an extortion offense under federal law if you obtain property from another person by actual or threatened force, fear, or violence, or under an official (but misused) right.

Health Care Fraud

Health care fraud consists of a vast array of offenses. Everything from doctors overbilling for procedures to an unlicensed health care provider providing services under the guise of being licensed to theft of medical information.

Insider Trading

Insider trading is frequently investigated by the SEC, and it involves a situation when a person who is in a position of trust or confidence with respect to corporate information uses that information to inform equities trades or other trades of other financial positions related to that company or companies related to the confidential information.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is an offense that includes an arrange of behaviors, but at its core it involves some kind of lie told to an insurance company in order to get financial benefits from the insurance company. Learn more about the Texas Insurance Fraud offense

Investment Fraud

Investment fraud usually involves false promises or false information distributed by someone seeking investment to potential investors. Although the SEC usually takes the lead on these offenses, both state and federal agencies prosecute Investment Fraud offenses.

Larceny and Theft

Both state and federal authorities prosecute Larceny and Theft crimes, although the state more commonly prosecutes these cases. Larceny and theft generally require the government to prove a wrongful taking of another person’s money or property with the intent to appropriate, convert or steal the money or property. Note that the Texas legislature consolidated all larceny and theft crimes into one TheftTheft offense.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is a both a state and federal criminal offense that criminalizes attempts to hide the true source of criminal proceeds. The federal criminal statute that most directly describes this is found in 18 U.S. Code § 1956 – “Laundering of monetary instruments.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Money Laundering


The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is codified in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 96. The basic premise of the law makes it illegal to operate of a business that engages in unlawful activity. The definition of unlawful activity is expansive, and this crime is not only widely prosecuted in the federal courts, but also highly technical and complex.

Securities Fraud

The federal offense of “Securities and Commodities Fraud” is described in U.S. Code Section 1348. The text of the statute criminalizes anyone who knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice:

(1) to defraud any person in connection with any commodity for future delivery, or any option on a commodity for future delivery, or any security of an issuer with a class of securities registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78l) or that is required to file reports under section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o (d)); or

(2) to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any money or property in connection with the purchase or sale of any commodity for future delivery, or any option on a commodity for future delivery, or any security of an issuer with a class of securities registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78l) or that is required to file reports under section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o (d));

Texas state law also includes a Securities Fraud offense. Learn more about the Texas Securities Fraud crime

Tax Evasion

Federal tax evasion occurs when anyone lies about the amount of income receive or otherwise attempts to defraud the federal government about the amount of taxes that he or she owes. One important note is that tax evasion requires intent to defraud.

Welfare Fraud

The most direct federal criminal offense regarding welfare fraud is 42 U.S. Code § 608a – “Fraud under means-tested welfare and public assistance programs.” If you are accused of attempting to obtain benefits from govern programs like welfare, food stamps or medicaid, then the federal government can prosecute you under this statute.


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