White-collar crime is a crime category involving deceit or fraud. The term was coined by American sociologist Edwin Sutherland in the early 20th century. By definition, it refers to a non-violent crime committed with the purpose of achieving financial gain.
A white-collar crime involves the use of non-violent means to acquire money. Although the methods used are non-violent, they are still illegal. This explains why white-collar crime can result in severe penalties.
Are you being investigated, or have you been charged with a white-collar crime? An experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorney can inform you of your legal rights and options.
Common White Collar Crimes
What are some of the most common white-collar crimes? Some white-collar crimes are recorded at higher rates than others. They include:
Embezzlement involves illegally and secretly taking money from a party to whom you owe a duty. A typical example is when an employee siphons money from their employer or employing organization into their personal account. In most cases, embezzlement charges are usually brought against a company accountant or investment advisor. A lawyer who misuses a client’s funds can also be charged with embezzlement.
Fraud is a recurring theme in most white-collar crimes. It involves deceiving a person, investor, or client for financial gain. Generally, the most common type of fraud committed in the country is securities fraud. This is where one party misinforms another about the buying and selling of investments.
Insider trading is a type of securities fraud where an investor makes gains on financial trades by using inside information about a company.
Brokers and investment advisors who provide misleading information to investors when offering and selling an investment can be charged with securities fraud.
State and federal tax laws set out tax obligations for individuals and companies. If you illegally avoid a tax you are obliged to pay, you can be charged with tax evasion. Tax evasion could also involve illegal property transference to avoid tax obligations and improper tax filing.
Both individuals and businesses can be charged with tax evasion.
Money laundering involves processes designed to ‘clean’ illegally obtained money. This could be money obtained through illegal transactions such as drug sales. Essentially, money laundering takes place in three steps:
- The ‘dirty’ cash is deposited into a financial institution
- It is passed through complex transactions, so it is difficult to trace
- The money is integrated with ‘clean’ money usually through the purchase or sale of assets.
Other White Collar Crimes
Other common forms of white-collar crime include:
- Mortgage fraud – This is where an individual lies about their financial circumstances when applying for a mortgage loan
- Insurance fraud – This is where an individual lies about an insurance-related incident to collect payment
Talk to an NJ Criminal Defense Attorney
White-collar crimes don’t involve violence. However, they can still result in hefty penalties, including jail time. This is why you must discuss your case with an attorney. A knowledgeable NJ Criminal Defense Attorney will help you navigate liability and possible defenses to get the best outcome.
The Law Offices of Brian J. Neary has been dedicated to representing defendants facing criminal charges in New Jersey since 1982. Attorney Neary offers quality legal advice and representation. If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, contact him at (201) 801-4365 to schedule a consultation.