On Jan. 12, a 36-year-old man was sentenced to five years in a New York prison for his role in a text message scheme. The scheme worked by signing up customers for paid text messaging services without their knowledge. The charges had included wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and identity theft. The defendant was the former senior vice president of Mobile Messenger.

In addition to time spent in prison, the former executive must also repay $1.5 million he received for his role in the fraud. Customers were charged $10 a month to receive texts about celebrity gossip or a daily horoscope. Overall, the scheme netted more than $100 million in fraudulent proceeds and was run by another former Mobile Messenger executive. That defendant has already been found guilty and is awaiting his sentence.

Individuals who are charged with white collar crimes may face a variety of serious penalties if convicted. These penalties may include jail or prison time as well as fines or restitution. In some cases, individuals may lose their jobs or lose their ability to work in certain industries either temporarily or permanently. As a person may have a lot on the line after being charged with such a crime, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney.

An attorney may be able to help an individual create a defense to a criminal charge. For instance, it may be possible to argue that there was no intent to commit a crime or that others compelled that person to take illegal actions. It may also be possible to show that customers knew what they signed up for and willingly agreed to pay an agreed-upon price for a product or service.