Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and reduce the impact of their bottom line. Whether they realize it or not, some companies may even be undergoing illegal activities in order to reduce fees, taxes, and other costs associated with running their business.
It is not uncommon for a new business owner to accidentally commit a white collar crime when learning to operate their business. However, some businesses not only go out of their way to illegally cut costs and penalties, but they’ll also try and use buying power to completely avoid getting into trouble – or drastically reduce the penalty they owe.
What Exactly is “White Collar Crime?
White collar crime, or corporate crime, is usually a financially motivated and nonviolent crime that has been committed by professionals within a business, corporation, company or government agency. In other words, a white collar crime is any unlawful activity pursued by an individual for financial gain.
What Kinds of White Collar Crimes Are There?
There are many different types of white collar crimes that a company or individual can undergo. The way businesses and the legal system is structured; there are virtually endless ways a company can commit a white collar crime. Listed below are the most common categories that white collar crimes are bundled into.
- Forgery – forging/producing a copy of a document, signature, art, or banknote.
- Identity theft – falsely claiming to be another individual.
- Money laundering – concealing and funneling currency through businesses.
- Cyber Crime – a crime committed through the use of the internet or computer network.
- Copyright infringement – using protected copyrights without permission.
- Insider trading – using confidential information to gain an advantage over the general public.
- Embezzlement – the improper funneling of funds put into the trust of one person that belong to someone else.
- Fraud – the generalized category for any criminal deception with the intent to acquire financial or personal gain and benefits.
- Counterfeiting – the reproduction of currency.
- Bribery – using money or other benefits and services to persuade another into doing something (usually unlawful) for them.
White Collar Crime Examples & How Companies Pay Their Way Out of Trouble
- According to Fox News, a company let an unauthorized purchase of over half a billion stocks According to Criminal Justice USA, a high-ranking and innovative energy company used in another company proceed, even against the trade limits. The offending company was able to pay off the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for $4 million dollars. In the long run, the company ended up suffering tremendous losses and filed for bankruptcy.
- According to Criminal Justice USA, a high-ranking and innovative energy company used intentionally poor financial reporting practices (among other illegal strategies) to hide billions of dollars worth of debt. Although in the end they did not get to avoid punishment (prison time), they managed to go years using unique loopholes to avoid paying off their massive debt.
Why Do Companies Commit Corporate Crimes?
Corporate crimes, also known as white collar crimes, are occasionally done by accident by smaller or less experienced business owners. However, the majority of corporate crimes are committed with full knowledge and intention. Corporate crimes have one or more of the following incentives to pursuing the crime:
- Generally do not cause any physical harm to another individual.
- Provides direct incentive (usually financial or in other benefits) to an individual or group of individuals within the company (or those related to the company in some capacity).
- Penalties can be “paid off” to reduce the penalty, nullify it or otherwise cause the impact of the crime to be far less substantial.
- May sometimes receive further tax breaks and other types of financial assistance from local, state or federal government agencies.
What do I do if I’ve been accused of a white collar crime?
If you’ve been accused of or arrested for any white collar crime, you need to seek legal counseling immediately. Handling corporate crime charges can be a tricky and complicated process and is not one you should pursue without counsel.
Let us help! We handle all possible criminal defense cases in Placer County, covering the cities of Rocklin, Roseville, Lincoln, Granite Bay and surrounding areas.
Don’t let the finances and reputation of both you and your business go to risk. Contact us today!