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Types of white collar crime

Many people use the term "white collar crime" without really understanding what it means. You, like others, may assume that it encompasses crimes committed by business executives and managers. That may be true, but only in part.

It's not necessary to be an executive or manager to end up facing accusations of this category of crimes. Anyone from a cashier to the CEO of a major corporation can face charges for a white collar crime. If prosecutors and investigators throw around this terminology to describe the crime of which you are accused, it may help to understand what types of crimes fall into this category.

Fraud

Fraud encompasses many actions, but the definition primarily includes any deception used to achieve monetary gain. This most often occurs through accusations of securities fraud, commonly known as insider trading. For example, if you knew something about your company that would affect the price of its stock and took action on that information, you committed securities fraud.

Securities fraud also includes disseminating misleading information regarding the status of the company to either drive the price of its stock up or down. The catch is that you must know that the information you provide is false.

Other forms of white collar crime include the following:

  • Insurance fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Other business-related scams

These types of fraud may be what make people think that only business executives and managers commit white collar crimes.

Tax evasion

Tax evasion occurs when you avoid paying taxes that you legally owe. This does not include taking as many deductions as possible or finding loopholes in the tax code that benefit your position. It does include actions such as lying on tax returns or illegally transferring property to avoid paying taxes on it. Of course, these aren't the only actions that the government may consider tax evasion.

Embezzlement

This particular white collar crime dispels that stereotype, however. Embezzlement involves taking money from your employer or someone else to whom you owe a duty. Various methods of committing this crime exist beyond just taking money out of the cash drawer or petty cash.

Money laundering

Laundering money, as it's called, involves taking money gained from some criminal enterprise or activity and funneling it through a series of transactions that hide its source.

Ordinarily, this occurs through depositing the "dirty" funds into a bank account. Several transactions then occur to move around the funds, often among different individuals or entities. The funds then get mixed in with "clean" funds, often through the sale or purchase of assets. It may surprise you how many bank personnel stand accused of this crime when they were unwitting participants.

Facing charges for white collar crimes

If you face charges for any of these or other white collar crimes, not only could you face criminal penalties, such as incarceration and fines, but your personal and professional lives may suffer as well. Any potential employment opportunities in the future could disappear simply due to such accusations. It would benefit you to deal with these charges as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimize or eliminate any damage to your life.

You have rights, and you may want to exercise them to secure the best possible outcome to the charges. This often includes having a knowledgeable legal advocate at your side.

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