New Yorkers and people across the nation could find themselves facing allegations of committing white-collar crimes. A conviction might result in hefty penalties. An ongoing series of cases involving wealthy people who allegedly paid for their children to gain unfair benefit for college admissions has resulted in jail time.

A 49-year-old heiress to the company that created “Hot Pockets” was alleged to have paid $300,000 to benefit her daughters’ efforts to be accepted to college. She received a five-month prison sentence. Prosecutors wanted her to serve 21 months. In addition to the prison sentence, she was ordered to pay a fine of $250,000. She had asked for probation in lieu of a jail sentence. She paid $100,000 to have stand-ins take the ACT exam to get high scores for her daughters. She paid $200,000 for one daughter to be admitted to the University of Southern California under the guise of the daughter being a beach volleyball player. The daughter’s offer to attend the school was subsequently rescinded.

In this series of cases, 53 people were charged with committing fraud in helping their children be admitted to colleges under false pretenses. A consultant who specializes in college admissions pleaded guilty in March 2019 for bribing college sports coaches to say the prospective students were athletes who warranted admission. The defendant was an executive at the company founded by her father. In 2002, it was sold for $2.6 billion.

White collar criminal allegations can range from fraud to insider trading to corruption and other acts. People who would normally never consider themselves to be vulnerable to arrest could be confronted with substantial fines and jail time. A law firm experienced in crafting a defense for white-collar crimes may be able to help.