White-collar crimes are nonviolent crimes perpetrated for financial gain, such as identity theft and banking scams. The FBI names corporate fraud, including tax violations and insider trading, as one of their top priorities.
On television and in movies, white-collar crime seems sinister yet sophisticated. In reality, offenders may not realize what they are doing. Naïve investors may take part in money-making schemes that are covers for white-collar crimes. Those charged with such crimes may face severe penalties. Here is what everyone should know.
Money laundering is the act of taking criminally acquired funds and making them appear as if they are the result of legitimate business transactions. Technology makes it easy to become inadvertently involved in money laundering. People who deal in cryptocurrency or invest via online platforms can unknowingly play a part in complex financial crimes.
Embezzlement is stealing money from an employer. It can be as simple as pocketing money from a cash register, but most schemes are more complex. For example, an embezzler may invoice large sums of money from a fake vendor then deposit the payments into a personal account.
Fraud can take many forms, but all involve misrepresenting certain facts with the intention of financial gain. Ponzi schemes are a type of investment fraud. Falsifying income statements when trying to buy a house may constitute mortgage fraud. Claiming that unrelated prior damage resulted from a covered event may be insurance fraud.
White-collar crimes are often violations of both state and federal law. Investigations and defenses require a thorough knowledge of complex financial and economic practices.