The type of visuals that often associate with the word “crime” tend to look like muggings in dark alleys, domestic altercations, or white chalk body outlines. But in reality, there are a whole slew of crimes that are not violent or scary, but can also lead to significant penalties. These offenses are called White Collar Crimes, and they are getting more serious attention from judges and prosecutors than ever before. So here is everything you need to know about white collar crimes in PA.
What is a White Collar Crime?
In general, white collar crimes are non-violent offenses with the motive of financial gain. From high-flying executives with an elaborate ponzi scheme to a quiet techie promising subscribers a false service, they cover a broad range of categories that while they may not cause any physical harm, their impact on individuals and the community can be devastating.
What are the 5 Most Common Types of White Collar Crimes?
There are a wide variety of white collar crimes, varying in complexity and severity. While many cases involve different types of fraudulent activity like a stolen identity or manipulation, others are better categorized by the specific financial investment involved. Here are a few of the most common white collar crimes:
When someone commits a deceitful act for financial gain, this is fraud. There are many types of fraud, however, including:
- Securities Fraud such as insider trading, which involves a person using confidential information about a brand or business to buy or sell stock. It could also include a company knowingly issuing false public statements about their financial health in order to attract prospects.
- Insurance Fraud is the attempt to cash an insurance policy by providing false or misleading information. In many of these cases, more than one crime is committed. For example, starting a fire in your home to collect insurance money will also add arson to your charges.
- Business or Corporate Fraud is different from Securities Fraud because the company is not only making false statements, but also doctoring financial documents to swell profits, hide losses or cover illegal transactions.
Embezzlement occurs when an employee or individual trusted by a company to handle their money or property uses their position to steal funds. In many cases, it involves an employee who has figured out a way to funnel company assets to their private account, but it is also popular among politicians, who use campaign funds to pay for personal expenses.
- Tax Evasion
When a person or business avoids paying taxes owed, they are guilty of tax evasion. It can occur in a number of ways such as falsifying tax returns, hiding property or assets to minimize taxable obligations, or simply not paying any taxes over time.
- Money Laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising money earned from a discreditable source as though it is legitimate. In other words, it makes “dirty money” look clean (hence the term ‘launder’). In almost every case, a crime was already committed to receive the money in the first place, and then an individual or company commits laundering to avoid criminal prosecution or paying taxes on those funds.
What are the Penalties for a White Collar Crime?
The penalties surrounding a white collar crime in Pennsylvania will typically depend on the amount of loss as a result of the fraudulent act committed. For example, if there is a claim of $10,000 in loss, then the guidelines will recommend a certain sentence if the defendant is found guilty that will be significantly lower than if the losses were valued at $300,000.
For fraud on a much larger scale, such as the notorious Bernie Madoff case, the resulting sentence could be life in prison. But reducing the amount of publicity and potential jail time of even much smaller scale cases is so important to protect your reputation and freedom, and only an experienced white collar crime lawyer can help you make the most compelling defense for your case.
If you or someone you know is facing charges for a white collar crime, do not wait to contact our law offices in Philadelphia to discuss your case. Let our team of top criminal defense lawyers analyze the details of your offense and aggressively fight for the best possible outcome for you and your family.Read More