Understanding White-collar Crimes: A Guide to Common Offenses
White-collar crimes are serious. As the FBI puts it, “These crimes are not violent, but they are not victimless. White-collar crimes can destroy a company, wipe out a person’s life savings, cost investors billions of dollars, and erode the public’s trust in institutions.”
The jurisdiction of the FBI in processing these crimes often overlaps with the SEC and IRS, among other organizations. It’s important to understand these crimes in detail and talk about the common offenses so you stay protected.
Get a lawyer in AZ if you suspect someone is involved in a white-collar crime. Read along this guide to find out the 8 most common types of crimes with serious punishments.
These are deceptive practices aimed at obtaining money or assets through deceit and misrepresentation. Think of Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and identity theft. Punishments often involve substantial fines, restitution orders, and potential imprisonment.
Always exercise caution when dealing with unfamiliar investment opportunities and conduct thorough due diligence. If not sure 100%, it’s best to seek professional advice before making financial decisions.
If you’re launching a scheme through a firm yourself, then you need to make sure it cannot be construed as a fraudulent and deceptive one on any ground. Consult with a lawyer for this.
Embezzlement stands for misappropriation or theft of funds that have been entrusted to someone’s care. This is usually applicable to funds within an organization or business.
The majority of embezzlement charges involve individuals diverting funds for personal gain when they were entrusted with managing them for a firm.
The amount of money embezzled directly determines the severity of the punishment in such cases. Companies often have internal controls, regular audits, and a clear separation of duties to minimize fund misuse.
Insider trading means trading stocks for potential gains based on information that’s not yet public. This material non-public information could be about a future merger or product launch, for example, that hasn’t been announced yet.
Getting your hands on such information as part of your work (let’s say you work for an accounting firm that does the balance sheets for a firm about to merge) is not illegal. But using this information to trade stocks is illegal.
The same applies to passing this information along for someone else’s gain.
Some of the biggest white-collar crimes have been related to insider trading. The punishments have always been substantial fines (apart from the actual profit made) as well as imprisonment in many cases.
Laundering money means taking illegally obtained money and making it appear legitimate. This is typically done by concealing the true source of the money, often by routing it through various institutions such as offshore bank accounts and paper companies or subsidiaries.
Money laundering often involves a series of transactions that makes it hide to connect it to the original source. It effectively “cleans” the money for use.
Penalties in these cases are severe. Even if you don’t maintain paper records, the SEC and IRS are more than well-equipped to handle the tracing of such amounts.
Any attempt to willfully and intentionally evade paying taxes is basically robbing the government. This is generally done by underreporting income, hiding assets, or inflating deductions or capital losses.
Tax evasion can carry criminal charges alongside fines. There’s also the provision of imprisonment if the case is severe.
Always comply with all tax laws and meet the reporting requirements. When, not if, the IRS finds out about tax evasion, it’s going to come banging on your doors and you’ll be losing much more than you saved up.
Bribery & Corruption
Bribery and corruption involve offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting something of value with the intent to influence the actions or decisions of individuals in positions of power or authority. The consequences of bribery and corruption can be severe, including criminal charges, reputational damage, and legal penalties.
Finding a good corruption lawyer Phoenix will be instrumental to your getting out of a mess. The longer these cases draw out, the more your reputation suffers, alongside your firm’s.
Intellectual Property Theft
The unauthorized use, reproduction, or distribution of someone else’s protected intellectual property (IP) is called IP theft. IP includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.
Many companies try to imitate a product. And whether knowingly or unknowingly, they make many of its features or qualities overlap with an original, patented product.
In such cases, the patent holder can sue the second company. These cases often don’t go to court and are settled with a profit-sharing, especially when this happens unknowingly. Companies can demand anywhere from 10-90% profit-sharing from the new product depending on the extent of overlap.
Securities fraud involves deceptive practices in the financial markets, such as making false statements, manipulating stock prices, or withholding material information to induce others to buy or sell securities.
Many known names from Wall Street have been found involved in securities fraud and the end wasn’t pretty for them.
Anyone caught up in a securities fraud case would be smart enough to go with a fraud lawyer Phoenix and give them all the details and their side of the story as soon as possible to mitigate damages as much as possible.
There are many types of white-collar crimes. These are not victimless crimes, though they are non-violent. In many severe cases, the punishments are comparable to violent crimes including assault, kidnapping, or armed robbery, even!
It’s best to stay on the safe side and keep yourself protected against such crimes. Apart from the 8 we mentioned here, there are still more types of white-collar crimes out there, such as cybercrimes.
If in doubt, it’s always best to consult with an attorney. Remember, you’re protected by attorney-client privilege, and swift action and corrective behavior can save you a world of trouble in court trials, depositions, or during settlement meetings.