Financial crimes, also referred to as “white collar crime” encompass a broad range of illegal activities and are investigated and prosecuted aggressively by both the state of Nebraska and the federal government. These crimes are categorized either as misdemeanors or felonies, with felonies carrying more severe repercussions, including potentially longer imprisonment and larger fines. Individuals charged with financial crimes have a tough road ahead. However, it’s essential to understand that accusations or charges do not equate to a conviction. There often exists significant opportunity for financial crime defense attorneys to assist individuals in either averting convictions or, in circumstances that are less favorable, mitigating the severity of potential consequences. Below, learn more about the specifics of financial crimes in Nebraska, such as the various penalties, potential alternatives to incarceration, viable defenses against criminal charges, and the advantages of engaging a criminal defense attorney.

Defense Attorney for Financial Crimes in Nebraska

At Liberty Law Group, our white-collar crime defense attorneys are skilled at defending those charged with complex financial crimes throughout Nebraska. Our team is dedicated to protecting the rights, liberties and best interests of each and every client we represent, regardless of the severity of the charges or the aggressiveness of the prosecution on the opposing side of the case. Our firm proudly serves Omaha in Douglas County, including Lincoln in Lancaster County, Papillion in Sarpy County, Fremont in Dodge County and Council Bluffs in Pattawattamie County, Iowa and the surrounding areas. If you or a loved one has been charged or is under investigation for a financial crime, feel free to call our firm immediately at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

White-Collar Crime Information Center

Back to top

Types of Financial Crimes Under Nebraska State Law

  • Unauthorized Use of a Financial Transaction Device (Credit Card Fraud)
    Unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, as defined by Nebraska Revised Statute §28-620, occurs when a person uses such a device – like a credit or debit card – for obtaining money, credit, property, or services, or for making financial payments, with fraudulent intent or without proper authorization. This includes using expired, revoked, canceled, forged, altered, or counterfeited devices, or using a device unauthorized by the issuer or account holder. The classification of this offense varies based on the total value obtained or paid. It ranges from a Class II misdemeanor for values less than five hundred dollars to a Class IIA felony for values of five thousand dollars or more.
  • Theft Offenses – According to Nebraska Revised Statute §28-509, theft is the act of depriving another person (including a financial institution) of their property. Larceny, embezzlement, false pretense, and receiving stolen property all fall under Nebraska theft laws. The specific classification of theft under Nebraska Revised Statute 28-518 depends on the value of the property involved. It ranges from a Class II misdemeanor for theft of property valued at five hundred dollars or less, to a Class IIA felony for theft of property valued at five thousand dollars or more.
  • Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition (Embezzlement of Funds)
    Theft by unlawful taking or disposition, also known as
    Embezzlement, is defined by Nebraska Revised Statute §28-511 and occurs when a person either takes movable property or exercises control over it, or transfers immovable property, belonging to someone else with the intention of depriving the owner of it. The specific classification of this offense ranges from a Class II misdemeanor for property valued at five hundred dollars or less, to a Class IIA felony for property valued at five thousand dollars or more. Additionally, the law provides for enhanced penalties for repeat offenses.
  • Identity Theft – According to Nebraska Revised Statute §28-639, identity theft occurs when an individual knowingly uses or creates another person’s or entity’s identifying information without consent, for any unlawful purpose, or to gain employment or financial benefit, regardless of whether the victim suffers economic loss. The law classifies identity theft based on the value of the credit, money, goods, services, or other things gained or attempted to be gained. The severity ranges from a Class II misdemeanor (for values less than five hundred dollars or no gain) to a Class IIA felony (for values of five thousand dollars or more), with subsequent offenses carrying increased penalties.
  • Identity Fraud – According to Nebraska Revised Statute §28-640, identity fraud is committed when an individual unlawfully makes, counterfeits, alters, or mutilates any personal identification document with the intent to deceive, or willfully and knowingly obtains, possesses, uses, sells, or furnishes such documents for deceptive purposes. This law classifies identity fraud as a Class I misdemeanor for the first conviction and escalates it to a Class IV felony for any subsequent convictions.
  • Insurance Fraud – Under Nebraska Revised Statute §28-631, insurance fraud involves knowingly and intentionally presenting or causing to be presented false, incomplete, or misleading statements to an insurer or its agents in relation to a claim for payment or other benefits under an insurance policy. The law classifies insurance fraud as Class II misdemeanors up to Class III felonies. This classification depends on factors such as the amount involved in the fraud and whether it’s a repeat offense. These fraudulent acts can include making false claims, altering documents, issuing fake insurance policies, and more.
  • Unauthorized Computer Access (Cyber Crimes) – As defined by Nebraska Revised Statute §28-1343.01, unauthorized computer access occurs when a person intentionally and without authorization accesses a computer security system. This offense is classified into different levels based on the severity and impact of the action. For example, if the unauthorized access compromises the security of data, it is deemed a Class II misdemeanor.

Back to top

Federal Financial Crimes Prosecuted in U.S. Federal Court

  • Mail Fraud – According to 18 U.S. Code § 1341, mail fraud occurs when an individual devises or intends to devise a scheme to defraud, or to obtain money or property through false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises. This includes acts such as selling or distributing counterfeit items or using the postal service or any private service to execute or attempt to execute this scheme. Penalties for committing federal mail fraud typically include a fine and imprisonment of up to 20 years.
  • Wire Fraud – According to 18 U.S. Code § 1343, wire fraud involves any scheme or artifice intended to defraud or to obtain money or property under false pretenses, representations, or promises, executed through the transmission of information via wire, radio, or television across state or international borders. Penalties for committing federal wire fraud include fines and potential imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both.
  • Bank Fraud – As defined by 18 U.S. Code § 1344, bank fraud occurs when an individual knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme to deceive a financial institution or to illegally obtain assets controlled by a financial institution through false means. This offense is categorized into two specific types: first, defrauding a financial institution directly; and second, acquiring assets under the institution’s control through deceitful pretenses or promises. The law imposes serious penalties for those convicted of federal bank fraud, including a fine of up to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 years.
  • Securities Fraud – Under 18 U.S. Code § 1348, securities fraud is the deliberate execution or attempt to execute a scheme designed to defraud individuals in matters related to commodities, options, or securities. This includes deceptive methods to acquire money or property in connection with the purchase or sale of securities. The penalty for committing securities fraud includes a serious fine and imprisonment for up to 25 years.
  • Back to top

    Penalties For Violating Nebraska State Financial Crime Laws

    Misdemeanor Fines and Jail Terms

    According to Nebraska Revised Statute 28-106, the following penalties for misdemeanor offenses apply:

    • Class V Misdemeanor – up to a $100 fine.
    • Class IV Misdemeanor – up to a $500 fine.
    • Class IIIA Misdemeanor – up to 7 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.
    • Class III Misdemeanor – up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.
    • Class II Misdemeanor – up to 6 months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.
    • Class I Misdemeanor – up to 1 year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

    Misdemeanor charges are normally brought in county courts in Nebraska. For example, in Omaha, individuals face misdemeanor charges in Douglas County Court. In Lincoln, individuals face misdemeanor charges in Lancaster County Court.

    Felony Fines and Jail Terms

    According to Nebraska Revised Statute 28-105, the following penalties for felony offenses apply:

    • Class IV Felony – 0-2 years in prison followed by 9-12 months of post-release supervision and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
    • Class IIIA Felony – 0-3 years in prison followed by 9-18 months of post-release supervision and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
    • Class III Felony – 0-4 years in prison followed by 9-24 months of post-release supervision and/or up to a $25,000 fine.
    • Class IIA Felony – 0-20 years in prison
    • Class II Felony – 1-50 years in prison
    • Class ID Felony – 3-50 years in prison
    • Class IC Felony – 5-50 years in prison
    • Class IB Felony – 20 years to life in prison
    • Class IA Felony – life in prison
    • Class I Felony – death sentence

    Felony charges are brought in district courts in Nebraska.

    Back to top

    Collateral Consequences of Financial Crimes Convictions

    In Nebraska, individuals convicted of financial crimes often face additional consequences beyond the immediate legal penalties. These repercussions extend to both personal and professional aspects of life. Employment opportunities can become severely limited, as many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with a criminal record, especially one involving financial dishonesty. This restriction is particularly pronounced in sectors handling money or sensitive information. Additionally, the conviction can result in the loss of professional licenses or certifications that are essential for careers in finance, law, or accounting. Access to financial services, including loans and credit, may also be affected, complicating personal finances and business endeavors.

    Back to top

    Alternatives to Jail for Financial Crimes


    In Nebraska, probation is a legal option that permits a court to allow an individual to stay in the community under specific conditions, rather than serving a sentence in jail. This alternative is based on the individual’s potential to lead a lawful life outside of incarceration and is generally not available to habitual offenders or those convicted of felonies requiring mandatory minimum sentences. Probation durations are up to five years for felonies or second-offense misdemeanors and two years for first-offense misdemeanors.

    As outlined in Nebraska Revised Statute 29-2262, probation entails various requirements for rehabilitation and public safety. Conditions vary per case but typically include avoiding illegal activities, fulfilling family responsibilities, and maintaining employment or education. Additional mandates may involve periodic jail time, attending rehabilitation, and restrictions on location and associations. Probationers must usually remain within the court’s jurisdiction, report any changes in address or employment, regularly check in with the court or a probation officer, and may undergo electronic monitoring. Financial responsibilities can encompass fines, test costs, and restitution, alongside obligations like community service and participation in correctional programs.

    Under Nebraska Revised Statutes 29-2263 and 29-2264, successful completion of probation terms leads to release from court-imposed obligations and the possibility of petitioning for conviction set-aside. This action nullifies the conviction, lifting certain civil restrictions, but doesn’t restore all rights or completely erase the conviction from records.

    Failure to adhere to probation conditions, as per Nebraska Revised Statutes 29-2266.01 – 29-2266.03, can result in administrative sanctions for minor infractions or formal revocation proceedings for serious violations.

    Back to top

    Pre-Plea and Post-Plea Programs

    In Nebraska, the legal system offers various specialized courts and programs to address the rehabilitation needs of individuals charged with certain offenses, including financial crimes. Problem Solving Courts, established under Nebraska Revised Statutes 24-1301 – 24-1302, cater to specific groups such as substance abusers, veterans, and young adults. They cater to individuals who have pleaded or been adjudicated guilty.

    • Veterans Treatment Court in Douglas and Lancaster Counties: Aids veterans facing felony charges related to substance use or mental health issues. Successful graduates can have their charges dismissed or reduced.
    • Young Adult Court in Douglas County: Offers an alternative for 18-24 year-olds charged with non-violent felonies, focusing on rehabilitation.

    Lancaster County Pretrial Diversion Programs provide alternatives to traditional prosecution for certain misdemeanors and felonies, particularly those related to financial crimes like insufficient funds checks, fraud, and theft. Programs include:

    • Treatment Diversion Program (TDP): Focuses on mental health and substance use for non-violent offenses.
    • Veterans Diversion Program: Serves veterans with trauma-related issues linked to military service.
    • Intensive Supervision Diversion (ISD): Aims at individuals with minor criminal backgrounds and substance use issues.
    • Mental Health Diversion: Targets individuals with severe mental illness facing certain misdemeanor or non-violent felony charges.
    • General Diversion Program: For most misdemeanor offenses and limited felonies, considering the individual’s history with diversion programs.

    Back to top

    How Financial Crimes Are Investigated

    In Nebraska, the investigation of financial crimes can involve various law enforcement agencies. Financial crimes, encompassing activities like fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering, are primarily investigated by state law enforcement agencies, often in collaboration with federal agencies such as the FBI, IRS, or SEC. The process typically begins with the gathering of evidence and intelligence, which may involve analyzing financial records and tracking transactions. Additionally, financial institutions are required to report suspicious activities, contributing to the detection and investigation of financial crimes.

    Back to top

    How Financial Crimes Are Prosecuted in Nebraska

    In Nebraska, misdemeanors related to financial crimes are processed through the county courts. The process commences with a law enforcement investigation upon the alleged commission of a misdemeanor. This often leads to either an arrest or the issuance of a summons and complaint, or in simpler cases, a citation. Following an arrest, the accused person attends a bond hearing and then an arraignment in the county court. If a summons and complaint are issued instead of an arrest, the individual directly attends an arraignment.

    At the arraignment, the accused has the option to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A guilty or no contest plea results in sentencing, which may include fines, jail time, or probation. Conversely, a not guilty plea leads to the scheduling of either a bench trial or a jury trial. The trial’s outcome can either be a conviction, followed by sentencing, or an acquittal.

    Felony financial crimes in Nebraska are initially handled in county courts and subsequently in district courts. The process begins with an investigation by law enforcement, potentially resulting in an arrest or the filing of a felony complaint in the county court. This is followed by a bond hearing and rights advisement, and then a preliminary hearing. After the preliminary hearing, the case may be dismissed or bound over to the district court.

    In the district court, a legal document called an “Information” is filed, leading to an arraignment. Here, the accused can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A plea of guilty or no contest entails a presentence investigation before sentencing, which can include fines, jail time, or probation. If the plea is not guilty, the case proceeds to either a bench trial or a jury trial. The trial’s verdict can lead to either a presentence investigation and sentencing upon a guilty verdict, or an acquittal if found not guilty.

    Back to top

    Potential Defenses To Financial Crimes

    • Lack of Intent – The defense of lack of intent is important in financial crime cases, as many of these offenses require the prosecution to prove that the accused acted with specific criminal intent. For instance, in credit card fraud cases, an individual could argue that they did not know they lacked authorization to use someone’s card or otherwise had no intention to use the credit card without permission. The defense aims to show that the actions of the accused were not motivated by an intent to defraud, steal, or cause any financial harm.
    • Mistake of Fact – Mistake of fact is a defense that argues the accused had a reasonable, although incorrect, belief about a fact that negates criminal intent. In financial crimes like theft or embezzlement, the accused may assert that they believed they had the legal right to the property or funds in question.
    • Insufficient Evidence – This defense challenges the adequacy of the evidence presented by the prosecution. In financial crimes, the defense would argue that the prosecution has not met its requirement of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, in cases of insurance fraud or identity theft, the defense would scrutinize the evidence to demonstrate that it does not link the accused to the crime or fails to prove essential aspects of the alleged offense.
    • Consent – The defense of consent is used in financial crime cases to argue that the actions in question were taken with the permission of the rightful owner or authority. For example, in identity fraud or unauthorized use of financial transaction devices, the defense would argue that the accused had received consent to use the identity, credit card, or other financial information, negating the unlawful element of the actions.
    • Mistaken Identity – This defense argues the accused is not the person who committed the crime. In the context of financial crimes, which often involve complex transactions and digital evidence, the defense would assert that the evidence pointing to the accused is flawed.
    • Withdrawal – Withdrawal is a defense applicable in cases where the accused initially participated in planning or conspiring to commit a financial crime but later decided to abandon their involvement. The defense must demonstrate that the accused took affirmative and voluntary steps to withdraw from the criminal activity before it was committed. In the context of financial crimes, this might involve notifying authorities or actively preventing the financial crime from occurring.

    Back to top

    How a White-Collar Crime Defense Attorney Can Help Someone in a Nebraska Financial Crime Case

    Providing Legal Guidance

    A criminal defense attorney who handles financial crime cases provides legal guidance to the accused person. Nebraska’s financial crimes, ranging from identity theft to insurance fraud, are complex. An experienced lawyer can clarify what the laws mean, ensuring that the accused understands the charges, potential penalties, and the legal process.

    Developing Effective Defense Strategies

    In financial crime cases, crafting effective defense strategies is essential. A criminal defense attorney can explore various defenses such as lack of intent, consent, mistaken identity, or insufficient evidence. These strategies are based on each person’s individual situation. An effective defense creates reasonable doubt or negates essential elements of the alleged crime.

    Negotiating Plea Bargains

    Negotiating plea bargains is a critical aspect of a defense attorney’s role in financial crime cases. Given the potential for severe penalties, a skilled lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to reduce charges, lessen penalties, or secure alternative sentencing options like the pre-plea and post-plea programs available in Nebraska.

    Representation in Hearings, Trials

    In cases where a financial crime case goes to trial, a defense attorney provides essential representation. This involves presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and making legal arguments to assert the defendant’s innocence or challenge the prosecution’s case. The lawyer’s experience in criminal trials is very important, especially in complex financial crime cases involving detailed financial records and technicalities.

    Assisting in Sentencing and Appeals

    If a conviction occurs, a criminal defense attorney assists in the sentencing phase, advocating for lenient sentences or alternative options like probation. In Nebraska, where financial crimes can lead to substantial penalties, this role is particularly important. Furthermore, if there are grounds for an appeal, an attorney can guide the accused through the appeals process.

    Back to top

    Financial Crime Resources

    Grading Theft Offenses in Nebraska – Visit the official website of the Nebraska Legislature to learn more about how embezzlement – and all other broader theft offenses in the Nebraska Code – are graded. Access the site to learn when the value of goods stolen renders an offense a misdemeanor or felony. Find more information about when prior convictions may be used to enhance a current sentence as well.

    State Resources for Victims – Visit the “Credit Reporting” page on the official website for the Attorney General of Nebraska to uncover what victims should do in the event that they’ve become targets of identity theft. Learn more about why it’s so important to respond promptly if identity theft occurs and how to protect one’s identity and personal information proactively.

    Elements of a Wire Fraud Offense – Visit the official website for the U.S. Department of Justice to learn more about what the federal offense known as “wire fraud” consists of, and what distinguishes wire fraud from mail fraud or other fraud offenses on a federal level. Also review what the federal government must prove in order to prosecute a wire fraud case successfully.

    Law Enforcement Response Information – Visit the official website for the Technical Crime Division (Cyber) of the Nebraska State Patrol to learn more about law enforcement efforts in combatting computer crimes. You can check out the different entities that the state works with to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

    Back to top

    Hiring a White-Collar Crime Defense Attorney | Liberty Law Group

    Financial Crimes or “white collar crimes” are often complex criminal cases involving detailed evidence and financial documents that require a great deal of resources to defend. At Liberty Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys are skilled and experienced in defending these cases in a comprehensive manner to strive for the most favorable outcome possible. We aren’t afraid to go to trial in cases that involve complex preparation and strategy. Our firm proudly serves the communities of Omaha, Lincoln and surrounding areas of Douglas and Lancaster Counties, Nebraska. This includes Council Bluffs in Pattawattamie, Iowa and surrounding communities. If you or a loved one has been accused of a financial theft crime in Nebraska, call our office at (402) 865-0501 to request a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.

    Back to top