White-collar crimes are nonviolent and are financially motivated. The term was defined for the first time by a sociologist named Edwin Sutherland in 1939. He defined it as "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation". There are a number of crimes that constitute as a white-collar illegal act. A person found guilty of white-collar crimes will have to face serious penalties that may be in the form of fine or imprisonment. The intent behind the participation in a white-collar crime is not needed in some states. The evidence that another person is also involved in the same crime will result in that individual facing similar charge. These crimes are committed by government and business professionals.
White-collar crimes consist of a variety of illegal acts that have financial gain motivation behind them. A person committing these seeks to obtain something from a business. These involve manipulation, deceit, and threat. The crimes are committed by people experienced in fields like computer science, accounting, and tax expertise. Someone having knowledge of how money flows in a company can also commit a white-collar crime. These result in various fraud crimes, evasion of taxes, money laundering, and embezzlement in the business. The person involved in white-collar crimes commits these through schemes, planning, tricks, and scams. Such a person may be involved in pyramid scams, fraud through the security system, and Ponzi schemes.
Some examples of white-collar crimes include bribery, fraud, Ponzi schemes, labor racketeering, cybercrime, money laundering, insider trading, identity theft, forgery, and embezzlement. There are attorneys specialized in each of these white-collar crimes.
Common white-collar crimes are discussed below along with their potential penalties.
The Crime of Fraud
The crime of fraud can be committed in a number of different ways. Mostly, the crime of fraud is committed by deceiving a person to get information out of him or her. Also, it can be done by manipulating a person to get money or by breaching someone's trust. Securities fraud is another common type of white-collar fraud. This is done in order to affect the trading of stocks, bonds and other kinds of securities in a company by using the crime of fraud. The information can also be used within the company to commit different kinds of fraud. When there is evidence that a person committed the crime of fraud, he or she may be charged with criminal offenses for that illegal activity.
The Crime of Embezzlement
Employees of large companies that have plenty of assets are mostly found guilty of these crimes. There are many smaller companies that also suffer from damages that result because employees stealing from the revenue compiled for services and sales. A type of embezzlement also involves the usage of the bank account of an employer or a manager and transferring funds from it little by little. It can also be done by using company's software or personal applications for stealing huge amounts of money and hiding those transactions after money is stolen. An employee who steals business money owned by his or her company will have to face grave charges which will lead to imprisonment, jail time, or huge fines that may be equal or even higher than the stolen amount.
The Crime of Tax Evasion
A huge number of people are involved in tax evasion whether they're attached to a business or not. Tax Evasion crimes refer to acts when people try to dodge in paying taxes they owe to the government. This is done either through income or sales tax with a company or by filling incorrect information in the forms. This incorrect information in the forms can deceive the Internal Revenue Service and cause false information to displace the true data regarding the revenue for the year. People also commit the crime of tax evasion by shifting funds around, unlawfully transferring property or money offshore. If the money is collected without informing the IRS, it is also considered a tax evasion crime.
Someone who is found guilty of tax evasion crimes is likely to suffer from a number of possible penalties and the offender may face civil as well as criminal charges for his or her actions.
The Crime of Money Laundering
Those who commit crimes to get money and acquire funds through illegal acts use businesses to make their money clean and unsuspicious. The business also produces clean money that does not have any link to any criminal actions. This way the law enforcement agencies cannot find a person's link with the criminal actions which saves the money launderer from severe charges. Also, if he or she succeeds in keeping away from potential suspicion for a long period of time, all of his or her money may become impossible to relate to the criminal actions. In order to achieve this, people move some of their illegal money into their company's business transactions that are legitimate. All of this process gets them clean money that is devoid of criminal blemish.
Potential Penalties for White-collar Crimes
The penalties for white-collar crimes vary depending on their nature and severity. These penalties occur through conviction of a court case for these white-collar crimes. The offenders of money laundering can get twenty or more years in prison or jail. They may have to pay a huge amount of fines as well. These fines can increase or decrease depending on the money that leaves a business or that is involved in the criminal actions. These fines can have $200,000 added to the money that is suspected to have been made through criminal actions. Sometimes, the amount may be lesser.
In order to save yourself from a possible conviction, it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. This may also save you from community service, large fines, probation periods, and your time in the jail or prison. Attorneys have the primary goal to conclude the case with a not guilty verdict. Moreover, their secondary goal is to alleviate any sentences with the help of a plea bargain or by implementing a defense strategy.
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