White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes usually refer to criminal activities to happen in the context of a business setting. White collar crimes often involve some type of theft, but unlike common theft that involves physical trespass, force or fear, white collar theft is committed through tricks, scams or fraud. Victims of white collar crimes may not be exposed to physical violence but can suffer extreme financial hardship and physiological or emotional trauma. If a white collar crime takes place across state lines (for example, by using telephones, internet or the postal service), the crime will be charged as a federal offense and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office.
Even though white collar crimes frequently do not involve violence or physical harm, the effects of white collar crime can be devastating for its victims. Penalties for white collar crimes range from probation to life in prison. If you have been, or are worried about, being charged with committing a crime, you are urged to talk to a criminal defense attorney to understand your rights and how best to protect yourself from a life-changing criminal record, fines and penalties and potential loss of freedom.
Types of White Collar Crimes
Here is a short list of common charges associated with white collar crime:
- Embezzlement: Embezzlement may be defined differently on a state by state basis, but in general terms embezzlement includes swindling, obtaining property through false pretenses, cheating consumers, stock market insider trading, and other dishonest business practices used to wrongfully take someone else’s money or property.
- Larceny: While particular definitions vary state by state, larceny includes the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. Larceny is less often a white collar crime because it does not include trickery or deceit (such as embezzlement).
- Fraud: Fraud may be a separate criminal charge, may support other charges and may give rise to civil liability. Fraud occurs when there is intentional deception made against a person or a business for the fraudster’s personal gain. Fraud can happen in banking transactions, bankruptcy filings, credit card charges or chargeback requests, health care charges, insurance applications or claims, telemarketing schemes, welfare applications, securities filings, computer and internet transactions and more.
- Bribery: Bribery is the giving of money or something else of value to influence a person’s actions. Bribery also may be charged against someone who receives money or something of value in exchange for their actions. Bribery may include the influence of attempted influence of public officials as well as private or publicly traded businesses.
- Extortion: Soliciting or obtaining money, property or services from another person or business by threat of force is extortion.
- Money Laundering: When crime results in profits (whether through theft, embezzlement, illegal drug sales or other criminal activity), that money may be moved through various accounts, locations, ownership or control to disguise the true source of the funds. This type of activity may be charged as money laundering or concealment.
- Tax Evasion: Tax evasion is the intentional attempt to avoid paying taxes that are rightfully due and owing through dishonesty, fraud or other wrongful acts.
Other common white collar crimes include antitrust violations, forgery, economic espionage, counterfeiting, racketeering, blackmail, environmental schemes, currency schemes, kickback, and weights and measures. White collar crimes are just as serious as other crimes, and can lead to large penalties, fines and lengthy prison sentences. A licensed criminal defense attorney can help you properly assess the charges against you and how best to defend your case. Talk to a criminal defense attorney today.