Sometime around the year 1939, the term ‘white-collar crime’ was first used. While this type of criminal act has somewhat made a name for itself with the mainstream pop culture sector, many people still don’t understand what the phrase entails.
A question that’s even more confusing to some—is a white-collar crime serious? Or, more specifically, are white-collar crimes viewed as federal criminal charges? The short answers are yes, and yes.
When you have questions about what’s involved with white-collar crimes and their severity, it’s best to speak with an experienced criminal attorney like the team at Vinas & Graham. Federal criminal charges are no laughing matter and can disrupt your entire life.
What Is A White-Collar Crime?
While the phrase ‘white-collar crime’ doesn’t sound overly threatening, it’s one that can easily lead to federal criminal charges.
These types of crimes are generally committed without physical violence but involve a variety of fraudulent activities, such as deceit, cover-up, or violation of trust. The primary motivation in white-collar crimes is money—obtaining it, keeping it, or falsifying circumstances to secure a personal or professional gain.
White-collar crimes are most often committed by business professionals and politicians who view their offenses as ‘victimless crimes.’ As with other federal criminal charges, however, there is always a victim involved. These types of crimes can destroy businesses, families, and investors.
Within the FBI’s white-collar crimes division, several different types of federal criminal charges are investigated, including:
- Money Laundering
- Corporate Fraud
- Government Fraud
- Mass Marketing Fraud
To hide their ‘dirty money,’ many criminals will try to make it look like income stems from legitimate sources. This process is known as money laundering and leads to serious federal criminal charges as it undermines financial organizations and dissuades foreign investments.
By disguising their money, criminals can conceal their wealth, dodge high taxes, and fund any future criminal activity they’re considering. Some of the most common platforms they use to do this are financial institutions, precious metal distributors, international trade, and real estate.
When you hear phrases like insider trading, hedge fund fraud, or falsified accounts, these are illegal activities that fall under the umbrella of corporate fraud. As one of the most significant priorities within the FBI, corporate fraud is an example of white-collar crimes that come with the possibility of substantial federal criminal charges.
The FBI puts the bulk of its corporate fraud-focus on cases that involve various accounting schemes. These offenses serve to scam investors, auditors, or corporate analysts whose job it is to determine the authentic financial circumstances of corporate and business entities. If not properly dealt with, these types of criminal activities can cause incalculable damage to the U.S. Economy.
Embezzlement is one of many white-collar crimes that is widely discussed but often misunderstood. Experienced criminal attorneys like Vinas & Graham will often define embezzlement as the theft of personal property, most often money, by the individual who was entrusted to hold it.
Whether the defendant has taken the property for themselves or relinquished it to a third party, the action still falls under the label of embezzlement. A frequent example of this would be if a company is holding someone’s money in trust, and they choose to take some, or all, of the money for themselves.
If an individual or company submits a falsified claim for payment to the U.S. Government, this is considered government fraud and is susceptible to federal criminal charges. Some of the most common types of government fraud include:
- Healthcare or Medicare/Medicaid Fraud
- Military Contractor Fraud
- Procurement Fraud
- Public Works Fraud
Mass Marketing Fraud
Mass marketing fraud is a general term that consists of various scams and schemes that are committed using mass communications platforms, such as the internet, phone, or mail. In-person meeting frauds can also fall into this category.
This far-reaching example of white-collar crimes can include everything from charity schemes to phishing. There are generally two different categories of mass marketing frauds. The first involves scamming a large group of people for smaller amounts of money. The other is when a criminal targets a small group of people, but they’re scammed for large sums. Both of these can be classified as federal criminal charges.
Are You Facing Federal Criminal Charges For One Of These White-Collar Crimes?
Each year, white-collar crimes cost the U.S. Government approximately $300 Billion. As you can imagine, these types of fraudulent schemes are not taken lightly, and punishments can be severe. The penalties involve steep fines, house arrest, and imprisonment.
If you find yourself facing federal criminal charges for white-collar crimes, make sure you have the best legal defense possible. The knowledgeable attorneys at Vinas & Graham have been upholding defendant rights for a combined 30 years. They can help you work the process and provide the best legal defense for white-collar crimes in the Houston-area.