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What is a White Collar Crime? Examples of Common Cases

Federal law enforcement agencies can get involved in all sorts of criminal investigations and cases, but nothing catches the attention of the government like a serious white collar crime. By definition, a white collar crime is a criminal act that exploits or steals from a large number of people or corporation, especially if the act does not include any sort of violence or intimidation. The name derives from the notion that people in business suits with white collars are the most likely to commit a crime of such complexity and subtle nature.

A white collar crime garners federal agency attention due to the fact that the amount of resources stolen or people exploited is usually quite massive. Additionally, someone who is capable of committing a white collar crime could potentially attempt to do it again, and only get better at it as time goes on. By cracking down severely at the first mention of a white collar crime, law enforcement groups try to nip the problem in the bud, so to speak.

Examples of white collar crimes that frequently reach courtrooms are:

  • Fraud: A generalized term for the basic groundwork of most white collar crimes, fraud can also be a specific charge for attempting to use deceit or deceptive language in contracts to gain the resources of another party.
  • Counterfeiting: Money counterfeiting is extremely difficult but not impossible. Federal agencies are experiencing new counterfeiting issues in the digital age as more people use alternate currencies, like Bitcoin transactions.
  • Money laundering: When illegitimately gained resources are moved through a legitimate business, it is known as money laundering. This white collar crime is popularly used in media entertainment, such as a small diner hiding a gambling ring in the basement.
  • Embezzlement: Company executives or presidents that steal from their own business’s coffers commit embezzlement. This crime is often first detected by company accountants, who will then require whistleblower protections when reporting it to an investigative agency.
  • Insider trading: The stock market relies heavily on the honesty of those who use it for income and profits. Insider trading is the act of buying or selling stocks with knowledge not yet released to the public. For example, a soda company fails a safety inspection at all of its manufacturing plants. Before the reports are shown to the public, family members of the company president suddenly sell all of their shares.
  • Trade secret theft: Many companies rely on trade secrets – useful information intentionally not shared with the public that benefits a business’s profitability – to stay strong. Taking trade secrets and disclosing them to others or using them without permission is a common white collar crime.

Defense Against White Collar Crime Charges

A common theme among white collar crimes is their complexity, subtlety, and close relation to business contracts. For this reason, it is easy to see how misunderstandings and misinterpretations of contracts could lead to misplaced accusations. Trade secret theft could be the result of a legitimate knowledge gain, embezzlement might be nothing more than an accounting error, and so on.

If you have been accused of or charged with a white collar crime, there are ways to defend your rights and your good name. Contact Tomeo Sills, LLC and our Connecticut criminal defense attorneys at your first opportunity to request a free case evaluation. We are backed by more than 40 years of collective legal experience and numerous and recent appreciative client testimonials.