What is a White Collar Crime?
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One type of crime that is less common but still very serious is a white-collar crime. These crimes may seem like offenses only committed in movies, but there are many white collar crimes, like bribery for example, that are very common. There are a variety of charges that can be considered white collar crimes in Maine. The most common white collar crimes are embezzlement, tax evasion, money laundering and several types of fraud. Depending on the particular crime, a white collar offense can lead to either state or federal charges.
White Collar Offenses in Maine
A white collar crime can be defined as any non-violent crime that was committed with the intention of illegal financial gain. This classification of crime received its name in 1939 when it was popularly defined to include illegal acts "committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation"-meaning, white collar workers. These types of crimes often occur on a larger scale, including things like fraud and/or embezzlement, but they can also include more common crimes. Some of these crimes include:
- Bribery: This includes any implications or explicit statements made of offering money and/or gifts with the intention of influencing another's actions or behavior
- Ponzi schemes: This is a fraudulent scheme that is used to entice investors into making large investments, but the system is inherently designed to collapse, leaving people at a severe financial loss
- Insider trading: This is the illegal act of trading a corporation's stock options with insider information or "non-public" information
- Cybercrime: This refers to any illegal acts carried out through the use of a computer, like identity theft, financial theft, and/or fraud
- Identity Theft: This refers to the unlawful act of assuming someone else's identity to gain access to their resources, money, and/or any other benefits
- Money laundering: This is the process of concealing the source of illegally obtained money
- Forgery: This is the process of creating falsified documents with the intention of deceiving
- Insurance Fraud: This is the act of fraudulently obtaining insurance benefits that they are not otherwise entitled to
Any type of white collar crime can carry steep penalties including the stigma of a criminal conviction. This can affect you your entire life when applying for jobs or to educational institutes.
Maine White Collar Fraud
One of the most common types of white collar crimes is fraud. Fraud is the general term for a crime that involves an act of deceit for financial gain. Fraud can be small, one-time deceptions or very large scale crimes. Some common areas of fraud include:
Bankruptcy Fraud – This crime can occur in several situations, but basically it involves faking a bankruptcy for financial gain.
Tax Fraud (A.K.A. Tax Evasion) – There are a number of ways tax evasion can be committed. Tax evasion charges can lead to serious penalties including jail time. Under-reporting earnings, hiding money in special accounts, or even just not filing taxes for many years can all lead to tax evasion charges.
Identity Theft – Using someone else's personal information in any way can be considered identity theft. The most common way this occurs is by using a stolen social security number to open credit accounts, but it can also occur in the stealing of a PIN number or other personal information.
Insurance Fraud – Insurance fraud occurs when a person or business misrepresents an occurrence to their insurance company in order to collect compensation. This happens in many ways such as claiming a lot more equipment was stolen than actually was after a theft or faking the theft altogether.
Mail Fraud – This is a federal crime and can include a number of crimes. Using the mail system to deceive people for profit or identity theft can both fall under mail fraud offenses.
Credit/Debit Card Fraud – This offense is similar to identifying theft because it involves the theft one another person's credit or debit card or their personal information. Using someone else's credit card without their permission or opening an account with an identity that is no your own are both examples credit/debitbit card fraud.
Securities Fraud – Also known as insider trading, this form of fraud can be very complicated. It involves gaining insider information about a company's future and using that information for personal advantage. Often this means buying or selling large shares of company stock.
Maine Criminal Defense Attorney
As these crimes are carried out with the intention of great financial gain, the resulting consequences are often equally just as severe. Depending on the charge, an individual might face a wide range of penalties if they are found guilty of a white collar crime-including paying restitution, or all of the money that was illegally obtained in the crime, completing community service, serving probation, and/or a serving heavy jail sentence. Prosecution often looks to crack down on white collar offenders so having an experienced criminal attorney is key. Contact our offices today to see how we can help you!