White-collar criminal allegations can carry with them harsh penalties for a conviction. For Californians who find themselves accused of these crimes, it is important to assess the options to address the case. For some individuals, it is beneficial to fight the charges and go to trial. For others, a plea bargain may be a better idea. The circumstances and the evidence will often dictate the strategy. One case that ended with a plea agreement involves a pastor who was facing a substantial prison term for a slew of white-collar crime charges.

The 38-year-old pastor had already been convicted, jailed and released for other crimes before this case. He had agreed to a deal for fraud charges. The prior sentence was for 44 months for investment fraud. In the latest case, he was accused of stealing $33 million through investments via his church. In his guilty plea, he admitted to filing false income taxes and mail fraud. His potential jail sentence could reach 23 years.

The church services were held virtually, and people took part online. However, its focus was investments. The man admitted that in the five years between 2014 and 2019, he accrued $33 million after assuring people of the financial security of the investment and promising a hefty return. He then used the funds for his own interests. A complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission led to a judge freezing its assets.

When facing white-collar crime allegations, it is imperative to think about the various potential defenses available. Perhaps the intentions were aboveboard, and there were mistakes that resulted in alleged violations. In some cases, evidence might be faulty. Alternatively, other people might have been involved, and providing information may help with reducing the charges. An experienced law firm with an understanding of criminal defense for white-collar crimes may help with crafting a defense or negotiating a plea agreement.