When people think of crime, they tend to forget about white collar crimes. This is because white collar crimes tend to involve complex financial schemes, which are hard for the average person to understand. Moreover, commission of white collar crimes do not often result in physical injury to others. Rather, when people think of crime, they tend think about crimes that are more common, far easier to understand, and result in physical injury to others, like murder, battery, burglary, and assault or any other violent crime. However, according to the United States Department of Justice, 402 new prosecutions for white collar crimes were initiated in federal courts throughout the country in November 2018 alone. Given the surprisingly high number of prosecutions in the United States of white collar crimes, it is important to know what white collar crime is and what steps to take if you are being investigated for committing a white collar crime.
What is White Collar Crime?
The term “white collar crime” came into existence in 1939 when sociologist and criminology expert Edwin Sutherland used it in a speech while advocating for lessened prison sentences for those who commit said type of crime. Today, “white collar crime” is an umbrella terms that is used to describe specific crimes that are committed for the financial gain of the perpetrator or someone close to the perpetrator. Unlike many regular theft offenses that are committed by regular people, white collar crimes are committed by professionals, often stockbrokers, hedge fund managers, accountants, or business executives, who acted in their professional capacities to commit the crime. White collar criminals are often those who are of a higher socioeconomic status and are usually well-regarded in the community as an upstanding citizen.
Common Types of White Collar Crimes
While all white collar crimes are committed by professionals for the sole purpose of financial gain, there are many white collar crimes specifically defined in the federal penal code as well as the states’ respective penal codes. The most common white collar crimes include:
- Insider Trading
Fraud is the crime of deceiving others so that you may receive financial gain. In the white collar crime context, fraud may be perpetrated when a professional entices an individual to invest in a “new” startup company that does not really exist. It may also be perpetrated when a professional entices individuals to participate in what’s known as a Ponzi scheme. In a Ponzi scheme, a professional will entice individuals to invest in a company, which may or may not exist, by promising high rates of returns on their investments for “little to no risk.” However, unbeknownst to the investors, the company is not actually making money. Rather, the professional is merely recruiting other investors so that he or she can send part of the new investors’ money to the older investors as a “dividend” to keep the scheme going. The other portion of the money is then retained by the professional for personal use.
Embezzlement is defined as the theft or misappropriation of funds by a professional entrusted with the fund’s management for the benefit of another. Usually, those who have access to and have authorization rights to company’s or individual’s bank accounts, like accountants or chief financial officers, commit embezzlement. Embezzlement is hard to detect and may be hard to prove because the professional may be skilled in using complex accountancy methods to hide the theft of funds from an account.
Bribery is the crime of paying others, or receiving payment from another, so that the payee exercises his or her official powers to perform a benefit for the payor. This usually occurs when some professional in the private sector bribes a government official to act in the way the professional wants.
Insider trading is the crime of buying or selling stock or other securities based on information that is not yet available to the public. Perhaps the most infamous person convicted of insider trading in the 21st century is Martha Stewart, who used an inside tip from her stockbroker to sell her stocks in the company ImClone before the public learned that ImClone’s leading pharmaceutical product did not get FDA approval.
What to do if You’re Investigated for a White Collar Crime
If you are being investigated for the commission of a white collar crime, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced white collar crime defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will give you legal advice as to when it is appropriate to speak with investigators and will help to build a solid defense strategy for you that may result in the dismissal or acquittal of any charges brought against you.
Contact an Experienced Moorestown Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your White Collar Crime Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with committing white collar crimes in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Stephen R. Piper have successfully represented clients charged with white collar crimes in Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Medford and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 351-5335 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 212 West Route 38, Suite 440, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.