White collar crime is a broad term that has always been difficult to define. According to the FBI, there are two major ways of defining what white collar crime is. First, it can be defined by the offender. Under this definition, white collar crimes are those committed by people who are wealthy or high up in the social strata, or by people whose jobs place them in positions of trust. Second, it can be defined by the types of offense, probably the more common of the two definitions. Under this view of white collar crime, it is an economic offense, a nonviolent crime, usually some sort of theft or fraud.
Examples of White Collar Crime
Examples of white collar crime run the gamut from tax evasion to securities fraud to embezzlement. Some of these are punished by both state and federal law, while others are almost exclusively prosecuted by federal agencies. A good example of the first type is embezzlement. Connecticut law criminalizes embezzlement as a type of larceny.
Embezzlement is a special type of theft, where someone steals money that he or she is legally allowed to have access to, but not ownership of. For instance, an employee who was tasked with depositing company funds at the bank would be guilty of embezzlement if he or she stole those funds, since he or she was allowed to have access to the money but not ownership of it. Embezzlement is also punished by federal law, especially in certain circumstances such as embezzlement by a bank officer or in relation to health care.
An example of the other type of white collar crime, the type almost always handled at the federal level, would be securities fraud. Securities fraud occurs when companies or other people lie about information pertinent to investor decision making. For instance, lying on a disclosure to the SEC may be securities fraud.
Penalties for White Collar Crime
The penalties for white collar crime vary greatly, depending on the exact type of crime in question. However, they can be surprisingly severe, especially since white collar offenses are not violent. For instance, if a person embezzles more than $20,000, then that is a Class B Felony under Connecticut law, punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and a prison sentence of between one and 20 years. If that same embezzlement is committed by a bank officer and he or she is charged federally, then the potential penalties increase to a fine of up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in prison.
White collar crime is a multifaceted area of the law, and these are just some examples of the types of white collar crime and their penalties. If you are facing prosecution for a white collar crime, contact a white collar crime defense attorney in Hartford to learn more about your situation and your rights. Call Woolf Law Firm, LLC at [[phone1]] to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer today.