White collar crime is one of the most sophisticated and elaborate forms of crime in the entire legal system. Defined as non-violent crimes within the commercial setting with the purpose of financial gain, white collar crime is a scourge on the American economy. Cornell University estimated that white collar crime costs the US economy over $300 billion every year.
Despite its damage to the economy, white collar crime is notoriously difficult to detect and prosecute. Its complex and intricate nature means gathering evidence for prosecution often depends on the cooperation of many government agencies and regulatory bodies. Law firms specializing in white collar crimes, like Aviso Law, require skilled attorneys to handle intricate and elaborate cases and build a compelling defense.
The single most common type of white collar crime is fraud. Fraud cases involve the deliberate misrepresentation of facts to mislead investors, auditors, stakeholders, or individuals to secure finances or investment.
Fraud can take place on an individual level, where one person deliberately deceives another for financial gain, or on a corporate level to manipulate share prices, extract investment, or deceive parties during the purchase or sale of investments.
Fraud can take many guises, depending on the industry. Cyber fraud can involve the theft of bank and credit card information, healthcare fraud can include receiving kickbacks or billing for services which were not performed, insurance fraud can occur with falsified claims, and government fraud can mean bribery, collusion among contractors, and illegal procurement practices.
Money laundering typically involves hiding illegally procured revenue. It often involves purchases or sales to make the money appear legitimately sourced when, in reality, the money was acquired through illegal means.
Common methods of money laundering are real estate ventures, import and export businesses, gambling institutions, and by transferring the funds through a complex sequence of international financial institutions.
Embezzlement, at its core, is the theft of money, assets, or services from a company by an employee. Most embezzlement cases involve employees siphoning money from an organization or firm into a personal bank account.
Often considered a form of fraud, the prevalence of insider trading means it deserves its own category in this list. Insider trading involves the sale or purchase of stocks, by an individual or group, which obtained inside information from the listed company, not widely available to the public.
The recent case of New York Congressman, Chris Collins, is a classic case of insider trading. Collins allegedly received an email from the head of a drug company in which he possessed a significant number of investments. The company head informed Collins that the company’s latest treatment had just failed a scientific trial. Collins informed his son of the failed trial, who then rapidly sold the family’s stocks, avoiding losses of more than $570,000.
Bribery is classified as the offering of money, assets, or services to influence, persuade someone to act in a specific way, make a certain decision, or express a certain opinion. Bribery usually occurs when money or goods are offered to a person in a position of authority to persuade or dissuade that person from taking action.
Both the person or company that offers the bribe and the individual or organization that receives the bribe can be convicted of bribery.
Being charged with a white collar crime can tie up an individual or company in a legal battle for months or years on end. They are difficult to unravel and require highly-skilled attorneys to build both a compelling defense and prosecution.