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Justice Department ramping up white collar prosecution?

White collar crime is a loosely defined category of crimes that includes tax fraud, embezzlement, insider trading and other financial crimes. Those who are accused of these crimes in Louisiana face well-funded, well-prepared state and federal prosecutors. These prosecutors have access to sophisticated evidence and are experienced in presenting this type of material to a jury. And, if a top Justice Department official is to be believed, they may be on the move right now.

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The acting assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice's criminal division recently announced that she is stepping down from the agency. In an interview with CNBC, she fiercely denied allegations that the agency has been slow to act against financial crimes.

The agency has faced a lot of criticism in recent years that it has not been serious about going after Wall Street financiers whose actions contributed to the economic collapse of 2008. This has been a common refrain among progressive activists, but the complaint has also been voiced by high ranking officials and at least one federal judge.

While the assistant attorney general acknowledged that budget pressures have hurt the agency's ability to prosecute white collar crimes, she cited the investigation into the LIBOR international banking scandal as one example of Justice Department action on financial crimes. She also pointed out that a three-year hiring freeze at the agency has just recently been lifted, and promised more action against white collar crimes in the months ahead.

State and federal prosecutors have powerful resources when they do go after people accused of white collar crimes. The evidence they use is typically very sophisticated. To build a defense against these charges requires being at least as sophisticated and serious as the prosecutors. Baton Rouge attorneys with experience in defending against white collar crime charges can help the accused to build the strongest defense they can.

Source: CNBC.com, "DOJ official says groundwork laid for more white-collar enforcement," Scott Cohn, March 5, 2014

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