With incidents like the Enron scandal and the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme gaining such notoriety in recent years, white collar crime has become a much more public topic. In fact, white collar crime currently makes up almost 10 percent of the federal docket, according to Department of Justice Statistics, as reported by Fortune Magazine. This measurement is particularly important because of the intense role that the federal government plays in prosecuting white collar crime. Although many of the practices that comprise white collar crime are illegal under Connecticut law as well, the majority of the prosecutions in Connecticut are federal in nature. These white collar prosecutions can cover a variety of different unique crimes, including fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and money laundering.
Fraud is one of the most common types of white collar crime prosecuted because the term is an umbrella for a variety of different types of offenses. In general, fraud is a crime that entails a person deceiving someone else for pecuniary gain. One common example of this is a Ponzi scheme, which involves a person defrauding investors by reporting inflated returns to encourage continued investment, while spending the money the investors provide rather than actually investing it.
Some important subsets of fraud include fraud in connection with the offer or sale of securities. Securities, banking, and other financial frauds such as postal fraud and mortgage fraud.
Another common version of fraud is wire fraud, which involves deception done over phone lines or other telecommunications. This falls under federal law because of the fact that the federal government is responsible for regulating those lines since they move between the states. Spam emails are a particularly common wire fraud scheme, and they often involve tricking victims into revealing passwords, bank account numbers, or other personal information based on deception.
Tax evasion is another form of white collar crime that is quite similar to fraud. It involves people illegally avoiding paying taxes that they would otherwise owe. While there are legal tax planning strategies that can decrease the amount of taxes a person owes, tax evasion occurs when a person crosses a line, and does something illegal, such as falsifying information reported to the IRS.
Another major type of white collar crime is embezzlement, which is a form of theft. Embezzlement is the misappropriation of funds to which a person has access, but not a right. This tends to happen in areas where one person is acting for the benefit of another. Employees moving company funds into their own account or bank tellers taking money from the till would qualify as simple forms embezzlement, but the accounting techniques used to conceal these sorts of transfers can get much more complex
Money laundering is another white collar crime, but unlike the others, it does not actually generate profits for the perpetrator. Money laundering occurs when a person takes steps to conceal the source of money that they have gained illegally. For instance, if a person owns a restaurant and works for another company, they could embezzle from the company they work for, and falsify their restaurant’s records to make it look as though they made the money legitimately via the restaurant.
White collar crimes are serious federal charges that can involve severe penalties. If you have been charged with a federal white collar crime, contact a Hartford white collar crimes defense attorney at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today to learn more about your options.