White collar crime involves illegal activity that is done for the sole purpose of financial gain to the individual being accused and typically takes place in a businesses or corporation. It doesn’t matter whether the business is a small, “mom and pop” business or a large corporation. Any theft of funds, fraud, etc., is a crime and falls under the category of “White Collar Crime”. Here are some examples and explanations of white-collar crimes:
Embezzlement: Embezzlement is one of the most common, and most often charged, white-collar crimes. Basically it is a theft involving an employee stealing from their employer. The accused is typically a person who has been placed in a position of trust, has access to money coming into and going out of the business and, has a certain amount of control. It is a premeditated act, which requires a degree of sophistication, planning and covering up. It usually involves the theft of money, taken in small amounts, over a period of time. Embezzlement can also involve the taking of property or services. It may involve only one person or, there may be many employees involved. Regardless, embezzlement is a very serious crime and, can involve the FBI, depending upon the circumstances. Penalties, punishment and fines are determined based upon the amount of the theft itself.
Money Laundering and Extortion: Money laundering is the act to conceal money, which was illegally obtained and then “laundered” through a business with the intent to hide where the money has come from. Extorting money from someone involves intimidation or threats. This may involve money or property.
Fraud: Fraud can come in many forms. But basically, it is described as deceiving another or “defrauding” another with the intention of personal gain or, it can be to damage another person. This can include the taking of money or property or, may involve lying in an effort to benefit personally. Fraud includes:
- Tax Fraud
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Insurance Fraud
- Bank Fraud
- Identity Theft
Internet Crimes: Internet crime is an extremely broad white-collar crime category. It may involve identity theft, offensive content, harassment, phishing and others. But, due to it’s nature, may be a result of virus or Internet hacking. Someone who is being charged with an Internet crime may actually be a victim himself or herself. The individual may have had absolutely no knowledge of what was going on. Internet hackers or Internet criminals are very internet-savvy and are able to do things that most people would never have thought of.
Once an employer believes that one or more of their employees has committed a crime, they will begin an investigation. If the investigation reveals something questionable, it may be turned over to the police department. In certain situations, the investigation could involve the FBI or the IRS. These types of investigations can take months and even years to be charged.
Anyone being charged or investigated for a white-collar crime should seek the advice and assistance of an Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer, who has experience with defending white-collar crimes.