What is a White Collar Crime?

White collar crimes are criminal acts that generally have to do with financial or personal gain. Someone who commits a white collar crime might steal from their company’s accounts or omit crucial information on their taxes in order to earn a higher return, for example. Although these crimes are usually nonviolent, they can still incur very serious penalties, especially if a large amount of money is involved or if the crime took place over a significant length of time. Because they can vary so greatly, white collar crimes and their repercussions are often very misunderstood.

If you were accused of committing a white collar crime, make sure you understand everything you need to know about the potential charges and the repercussions.

Types of White Collar Crime

There are several different types of offenses that fall under the category of “white collar crime.” Though nonviolent, these offenses can still be extremely damaging and may have lasting legal and professional consequences.

Some of the most common types of white collar crimes include:

  • Bribery: It is illegal for someone to offer money, goods, or services in trade for another person’s influence for the seller’s behalf. This act, called bribery, is extremely common and can include a variety of other charges as well. For example, someone might bribe a government official to ignore a crime they witnessed.
  • Cyber Crime: With the rise of technology, cybercrime has become increasingly problematic and widespread. Cybercrime includes any type of illegal activity that takes place on the internet, such as identity theft, the targeted release of digital viruses, or other schemes designed for financial gain.
  • Fraud: Fraud is a very common, general type of white collar crime. Anyone who uses deception for monetary gain commits some type of fraud. A few common types of fraud include securities fraud, bank fraud, computer fraud, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, and welfare fraud.
  • Embezzlement: When someone in charge of a large fund or property uses that authority to appropriate it for their own personal gain, they commit embezzlement.
  • Insider Trading: Common to the stock market and the business world, insider trading takes place when someone uses confidential information to their own financial gain. For example, someone might use procured information to buy stock in something they know will soon become profitable.
  • Tax Evasion: All taxpayers have an obligation to fill out their taxes honestly and completely. However, when someone lies on their taxes for their own gain, they commit tax evasion and could face serious repercussions.

While these are some of the most common white collar crimes, there are countless others. Because the business and financial world is so very large, the types of crimes one can commit within it is quite extensive.

The penalties for such crimes vary depending on the extent of the crime, the type of offense, and the amount of money stolen. Consequences can be as mild as a mandatory fine, but as serious as incarceration, parole, and felony charges. However, any white collar crime, no matter how small, can have a significant impact on your reputation and professional credibility. In order to protect yourself and preserve your rights, you need to seek legal representation if you are involved with any allegations.

If you find yourself facing charges for a white collar crime, make sure you call an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

To get started today, contact Patton | Pittman Attorneys and ask for a free consultation.

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