Defendants worry most about the penalties they might face if they are convicted. People charged with white-collar crimes often have no prior experience with the criminal justice system, which intensifies their fear and uncertainty about the future. Civil suits and administrative actions are also a concern. White-collar offenses may lead to licensing actions if the person is a physician, lawyer, real estate broker, accountant, appraiser, broker or other licensed professionals. Civil and administrative penalties are imposed in addition to, and not as a substitute for, criminal case penalties.
Depending on the severity of the crime, penalties may range from probation, fines, and community service to restitution, substantial prison time or some combination of the above.
White-collar investigations often result in more than one defendant with varying degrees of involvement. The court may consider a lesser sentence for one defendant if it results in a stronger case against another defendant guilty of a more serious crime.