When people hear about white collar crimes, they think of crimes committed by wealthy people who are hoping to unlawfully line their pockets. Most people think about embezzlement and tax evasion, but there are many different types of white collar crimes.
So, what are some common white collar crimes? They include:
Fraud. Fraud is a general term describing a crime by which a person schemes to unlawfully obtain something of value from his or her victim who may be a person, company or the like. Many white collar crimes involve a fraudulent scheme of one kind or another.
Securities fraud is one common white collar crime. Insider trading, where someone who obtains confidential information and uses that information to purchase or sell a stock or bond for a profit, is considered security fraud. Another example of security fraud involves enticing investments from victims based on false representations about the potential gains such an investment will bring about. Fraudulent schemes involving mortgages, health care and welfare are other examples of white collar crimes.
Embezzlement. While most people think embezzlement when an employee is charged with taking money from his or her employer, there are many forms of embezzlement. In fact, the types of embezzlement schemes investigated and prosecuted are as varied as the creativity of the perpetrators of such crimes.
Tax Evasion. Tax evasion involves preparing and filing a tax return that contains false information regarding a taxpayers amount of income or other material false information as well as failing to declare a portion of one’s income. A conviction for tax evasion may result in not only imprisonment but also enormous fines penalties and interest based on the amount of the unpaid taxes.
Blackmail. Blackmailing schemes involve demanding something of value or some form of conduct from a victim upon threats to harm that person financially, professionally or personally such as threats to tarnish the victim’s reputation or standing in the community. Blackmail may also be utilized to prevent someone from testifying against or divulging the secrets of the blackmail
Money Laundering. Money laundering statutes criminalize the act of converting unlawfully gained funds, such as proceeds of selling illegal drugs, into “legal funds.” These statutes also prohibit using illegally obtained proceeds, so-called “dirty money, ” to purchase goods or services of any kind. For example, a drug dealer who buys an expensive vehicle with money derived from such illegal conduct commits money laundering.
Counterfeiting. Counterfeiters copy something or imitate something without authorization which they then represent as authentic. While most people associate counterfeiting with money, it also prevalent in the fashion, music and similar industries.
Forgery. Forgery crimes vary from simply copying the signature of another to preparing completely false documents or works of art the forger represents as an original. A common form of forgery involves forging checks or other financial instruments ultimately used in financial transactions of all sorts.
Bribery. Offering or paying something of value (usually money, goods, or services) to another in order to compel them to take action on one’s behalf may result in a charge of bribery. The most notorious bribery schemes involve public officials or other persons in positions of power. You may be accused of bribery whether you are the payer or recipient of a bribe.
In the past persons convicted of white collar crimes were penalized less harshly that those convicted of “street crimes” or drug dealing. More recently, however, courts have imposed very significant punishment on individuals convicted of white collar crime. As a result, it is more important than ever to consult with an experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer like Richard S. Berne if you are under investigation for or charged with a white collar crime.
Contact us for all of your legal needs. We would be glad to help you through this difficult time.