The term “white collar” doesn’t actually appear in the Wisconsin Criminal Code. It’s a colloquialism used to describe certain financial and regulatory crimes typically committed by those working in a professional environment, or people required to wear a “white-collared” shirt to the office. Despite the slang, both federal and state law enforcement agencies have dedicated white collar prosecutors and investigators in Wisconsin. These teams include forensic accountants and are often well funded due to the fines typically collected in white-collar cases. This may mean trouble for white-collar defendants in Wisconsin.

What Offenses Are Considered White Collar Crimes?

Experienced Appleton White Collar Defense Lawyers

It’s not uncommon for Wisconsin prosecutors to charge white-collar offenders with multiple felony-level offenses to cover every allegedly illegal transaction. Extensive white-collar indictments are often used as a strong-arm tactic to coerce white-collar defendants to plead guilty before discussing their claims with an experienced Brown County white-collar criminal defense lawyer. Don’t fall prey to these tactics – contact the top-rated Chilton and Waupaca white-collar defense lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff today at (920) 450-9800 or online to schedule your free white-collar criminal defense consultation.

Wisconsin Misappropriation & Financial Crimes

White-collar crimes are non-violent, financial, or regulatory offenses. They typically fall under the category of property offenses in the Wisconsin Code, which includes the most common white-collar offense of theft (embezzlement) criminalized by Wisc. Code. § 943.20(1)(b). The following types of crimes are categorized as “white collar” for investigatory and regulatory purposes:

Theft (Wisc. Code § 943.20)

Generally prohibits the taking of another’s property, including money, without consent. The theft statute also criminalizes misappropriation of funds entrusted to someone by virtue of his/her office, business, or employment, including intentionally using, transferring, concealing, and/or retaining possession of money owned by another for one’s personal use. Examples include using a company credit card to purchase a personal vehicle or illegally diverting business funds to a private account. Wisc. Code. § 943.20(1)(b) acts as Wisconsin’s primary embezzlement statute and is a common charge in most Appleton white-collar cases. Theft is punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the goods or money stolen.

Unauthorized Use of an individual’s personal identifying information or documents (Identify Theft – (Wisc. Code § 943.201)

Criminalizes the unauthorized use of another’s personal identifying information for the purpose of impersonating that person to obtain anything of value such as goods, money, credit, services, or employment. Personal identifying information includes another’s name, address, telephone number, bank account, credit card information, social security number, DNA profile, license number, and work address. Identify theft is a felony in Wisconsin.

Unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information or documents (Wisc. Code. § 943.203)

Similar to identify theft but charged when the personal information is owned by an entity as opposed to an individual.

Theft of Trade Secrets (Corporate Espionage – Wisc. Code § 943.205)

The unauthorized taking of a corporate trade secret, such as a proprietary recipe, computer program, or business expansion plan, for one’s personal use or for another entity. This is a class I felony in Wisconsin.

Threats to Injure or Accuse of Crime (Blackmail – Wisc. Code. § 943.30)

Prohibits making malicious verbal or written threats to injure a person or business for the purpose of extorting money or services.

Forgery (Wisc. Code §§ 943.38, et seq)

Unauthorized alteration of a written object, including unlawfully impersonating another with a false signature, for the purpose of defrauding another. Manipulating data, creating false documents, destruction of corporate books, and making fraudulent insurance or related benefits claims are also considered white-collar crimes.

Additional white-collar crimes include computer crimes (hacking), issuing bad checks, absconding without paying for a hotel or other service, knowingly using cheating tokens or fake currency, absconding without paying rent, making usurious loans (loan sharks), unauthorized use of a credit card, and theft of services, such as stealing cable, phone, or utility services.

Common Defenses to White Collar Crimes in Wisconsin

Those convicted of white-collar crimes in Wisconsin must have criminal intent, and mistakes and ordinary negligence like swiping a corporate instead of personal credit card, are not punishable as white-collar crimes. Proof of criminal intent typically requires prosecutors to submit evidence of pre-planning, scheming, and/or concealment of evidence. Disproving the criminal intent necessary for a white-collar conviction is a go-to defense for experienced white-collar defense lawyers in Green Bay. Additional defenses to white-collar crimes in Wisconsin include:

Constitutional Violations

Because white-collar offenses typically involve multiple transactions and overlapping offenses, prosecutors often overcharge white-collar defendants in violation of certain constitutional provisions. An experienced white-collar defense lawyer can analyze white-collar indictments for these violations and move to quash certain white-collar indictments.


Blackmail is criminalized because Wisconsin legislators recognize that those in inferior financial possessions may be pressured to aid and abed white-collar crimes. Corporate secretaries or junior officers may be threatened with the loss of a job or “thrown under the bus” if they do not aid in a white-collar offense. If you were threatened or otherwise pressured to aid or commit a white-collar crime, a compassionate Wisconsin white-collar defense lawyer can often strike a deal with prosecutors on your behalf or get white-collar charges dismissed.

Insanity/Mental Incapacity

Those struggling with mental instability and who cannot appreciate the criminal nature of the offense may be entitled to raise this defense. Insanity is typically raised when the offender does nothing to conceal his/her actions and was showing signs of mental instability before the offense occurred. For example, illegible or illogical modifications made to a sales contract may be signs of mental instability and not fraud in Wisconsin.

These defenses and more may be available to those accused of white-collar crimes in eastern Wisconsin with the help of the experienced white-collar defense lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff. Even if you do not have a defense to the charges against you, an experienced lawyer can often mitigate the consequences you are facing and protect your future.

Don’t delay. Call the top-rated Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Chilton, and Waupaca white collar and regulatory crimes defense lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff today at (920) 450-9800 or contact us online to schedule your free white-collar criminal defense consultation.