1.7 Trillion Dollars. Let that number sink in for a moment. It is a vast sum of money, nearly one-tenth of the current national debt. And, White Collar Crime is responsible losses of this amount or more, every year.
What Are White Collar Crimes?
By definition, a white collar crime is essentially any non-violent crime that motivated by financial means. Committing these crimes is intended to obtain or avoid loss of money or property or to give one an unfair business advantage.
The vast majority of white collar crimes include fraud of one sort or another. We will look at some of the more common types of white collar crime. And then we will discuss what you should do if you, your business, or your family are a victim.
Corporate Fraud typically involves any activity intended to hide the financial health of a company from its shareholders, investors or the government. This could include falsification of accounting records, activities to increase profits through fraudulent trade, or to hide monetary losses. Any action intended to avoid the scrutiny of an organization responsible for regulatory oversight is Corporate fraud.
Remember that time you used the copier at work to print out invitations to your Tupperware party? That would technically be considered a white collar crime. Because of the relatively simple nature, I am sure your company won’t have you arrested. But, it is a good example. Using company property for personal gain is another type of corporate fraud.
Other types of corporate fraud, such as Dummy Corporations, Internet Fraud, and others, are beyond the scope of this article. There is a plethora of information out there for those that are interested in doing further research.
Encyclopedia Britannica defines Money Laundering as:
The process by which criminals attempt to conceal the illicit origin and ownership of the proceeds of their unlawful activities.
Crimes typically associated with money laundering like narcotics trafficking or terrorism are not the only crimes that involve laundering. White collar examples where money laundering might take place to divert the source of funds include such crimes as Health Care Fraud, Public Corruption, and many other complex financial crimes.
Fraud Related to Securities and Commodities
The types of fraud that fall under this umbrella can affect everyday people like you, and I. Included in this group of White Collar Crime, we have Investment Fraud, Ponzi Schemes or Pyramid Schemes.
What is a Ponzi Scheme?
You may be familiar with the name Bernie Madoff. Mr. Madoff was the architect of one of the most famous and long-running Ponzi Schemes in recent history. Essentially in a Ponzi Scheme, the funds that new investors deposit, get paid to previous investors under the guise of being a return on their investment. So, the early investors are paid fraudulently from a nonexistent enterprise or investment fund, with money received from later investors. The Madoff Ponzi Scheme went on for almost 20 years.
In a Pyramid Scheme, otherwise known as ‘multi-level marketing,’ businesses or individuals will recruit others with the promise that they will, in turn, receive payments for enrolling others beneath them. Because this type of scheme involves multiple ‘layers,’ it is a Pyramid Scheme. It starts off with one person at the top, then continues to build a wider and wider base. Because of the sheer number of individuals that end up at the lowest levels of these schemes, long-term growth becomes unsustainable.
Investment Fraud, also known as Stock Fraud or Securities Fraud, is the act of deceiving investors and using false information to entice them to purchase or sell shares. Many times inexperienced investors will fall victim to this type of fraud. Their inability to evaluate the true risk of investment makes them prime targets for individuals seeking to deceive. Securities Fraud can also include embezzling of funds, or other types of stock manipulation. Investment Fraud also includes crimes such as Insider Trading.
Steps to Take if You Falsely Accused of White Collar Crime
Sometimes the justice system gets it wrong. No system is perfect, especially not one with as much bureaucratic red tape as the justice system. If you have been accused of a crime that you have not committed, seek a proper legal defense team. Top rated Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald has defended many alleged white collar criminals. His vast knowledge of the legal system can help you get the correct ruling in your case. Contact Rhode Island Fraud Crimes Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald today and learn how he can help you in your white collar criminal case.
For a full view of the Rhode Island Fraud Laws go to Rhode Island Fraud Laws.