White collar crime is a crime committed by a business professional that relates to their job. Whereas many crimes, ranging from traffic violations to robbery to murder, are crimes that occur in general society, white collar crimes occur within a business. White collar crimes are often attributable to the legitimate access and authority a person has as a part of their job, the person just chooses to use that access and authority to perform unauthorized and illegal acts. White collar crimes are typically non-violent in nature.
Common examples of white collar crimes include but are not limited to the following:
Blackmail. Also known as extortion, this is forcing someone to do something by threatening to reveal certain information about that person to others or the general public.
Bribery. Giving someone money to have them do something illegal.
Computer fraud. Someone stealing information via a computer and selling that information for a profit. This white collar crime is also commonly referred to as computer “hacking.”
Counterfeiting. This is creating an imitation version of something valuable and attempting to pass it off as the real things. Countefeiting is most commonly associated with currency, but it can pertain to anything of value.
Embezzlement. Someone taking money or property that has been entrusted to them and using it to their benefit.
Perjury. Lying while under oath in a court of law or other judicial hearing.
While white collar crimes are generally considered crimes against a business, they can cause harm to individuals as well. For example, if the executives within a public company are able to manipulate the financial statements of the company so that the company appears to be more profitable than it is in reality, when the fraud is discovered, it can result in a significant loss in stock value. Anyone who has bought the stock of that company will lose money… money that those individuals may have been counting on as a part of their retirement. This is exactly what happened with the Enron scandal, which was revealed ten year ago as of October 2011. The Enron scandal ultimately resulted in the bankruptcy of the entire company and led to the loss of the life savings of thousands of people who had invested in the company.
If I am being investigated or charged with a white collar crime, can a criminal defense attorney offer me help?
Yes, white collar crimes are considered a criminal offences and can result in a significant punishment, including a jail sentence, a large fine, and repaying the victims of the crime. Therefore, if you are even being investigated for a white collar crime, you should seek help from a criminal defense attorney immediately.
If you complete the short form below, a criminal defense attorney will review your case free of charge and provide an initial consultation to you. This review is completely confidential and does not obligate you to anything further. Therefore, please take advantage of this opportunity while you can to have a criminal defense attorney review your situation.
Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.