What is white-collar crime?

A white-collar crime, which can include money laundering, securities fraud and corporate fraud, is often thought of as a wrong-doing down by a professional.

White-collar crimes can happen in international businesses that operate around the world and local companies that primarily work in a single state, such as Florida. According to CNSNews.com, the rate of white-collar crimes has dropped drastically in the last few years. In fact, there was a 16.7 percent decline in the convictions for this type of crime over the course of five years. However, there were still reportedly 520 convictions in a single month. Even though the rates are down, the crimes are still taking place.

The category of white-collar wrongdoings can include a variety of illegal activities. Typically, events that use fraudulent means, such as subterfuge, deceit and concealment, in a non-violent way fall into the category of white-collar crimes. Usually attributed to professionals, this misconduct can include anti-trust violations, arson and identity theft done to either make money or avoid losing money.

Money laundering

One example of a white-collar misdeed is money laundering. This term refers to the process of concealing ill-gotten earnings as profit from a legitimate business source. Usually someone involved in health care fraud, complex financial crimes or narcotics trafficking would try to turn his or her profit into clean money in order to allow the money to be used without suspicion. Even though white-collar crimes are often thought of as victimless crimes, money laundering can affect the integrity of financial institutions and even undermine international capital flow.

Securities and commodities fraud

Because of the growing interest in investing in the United States securities and commodities markets, there is a greater opportunity for individuals and corporations to create fraudulent investment schemes. Common examples of this type of fraud include the following:

  • Ponzi schemes
  • Broker embezzlement
  • Market manipulation
  • Advance fee fraud
  • Promissory note fraud
  • Pyramid schemes

These fraudulent activities can involve the illegal sale of financial tools or raw materials, theft directly from clients, and fake inflation of low-investment stocks.

Corporate fraud

Another category of white-collar crimes is corporate fraud. This illegal activity includes accounting schemes intended to hide the true financial state of a business unit in order to trick analysts, investors or auditors. Usually the goal is to make a business seem like it is performing better than it really is by falsifying financial data. However, some individuals may misuse corporate property for personal gain. This crime can negatively impact investors and even the U.S. economy.

The category of white-collar crime is diverse in Florida and other parts of the U.S., which can make it difficult to know when a wrongdoing falls into this class. It may be beneficial to work with an attorney familiar with this type of case whenever professionals find themselves in trouble.