A “white collar crime” is any non-violent act that deprives rightful owners of their money or property. Examples of white collar crimes are public corruption, money laundering and fraud in the areas of health care, mortgages or securities. Federal authorities, including the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury Department and others, investigate and prosecute white collar crime, but many such offenses are also the subject of criminal cases under state law.

There are numerous varieties of white collar crime, but the most common ones can be broken down into a few categories:

  • Corporate fraud  This type of crime occurs when people holding positions of trust inside business organizations abuse their positions to carry out illegal schemes for their own benefit. In addition, corporate insiders sometimes entice other people into fraudulent schemes. There are a few types of corporate fraud that make the news regularly, such as charity fraud, which is when a corporation takes advantage of people’s good will (usually after a newsworthy tragedy). These companies are usually short-lived, with the perpetrators trying to hide their identities through schemes like shell companies. Overpayment fraud is when a corporation appears to have mistakenly overpaid its bill by a large amount. When the payee receives the funds, it offers to refund the excess payment to the corporation. The corporation asks for the money by wire transfer, which the payee processes before it realizes that the original payment was fraudulent. In addition to these more elaborate ruses, corporate fraud can include falsifying accounts and misrepresenting products or services.
  • Embezzlement — Embezzlement is charged when a person inside an organization, be it a chief financial officer or secretary, transfers money from the organization to themselves. These are people who have been given authority within a company or other organization and violate the trust that was placed in them.
  • Extortion — The crime of extortion involves obtaining money or goods through blackmail or other threats of unpleasant consequences if the victim does not do as they are told. Extortion is charged as a white collar crime if it is carried out by nonviolent means. For example, it could be a tabloid or one of its employees threatening a celebrity with publication of private photos if the celebrity does not make payment.
  • Ponzi schemes —In a Ponzi scheme, the defrauder lures investors with promises of unusually high returns on investments. In the beginning, the initial investors are happy. They receive the promised payments. But unknown to the investor, the defrauder is using the money transferred into the company by newer investors to pay the initial investors.

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, the Roseville, California firm of Strategic Law Command can help you understand the charges against you and build a strong defense. To schedule a consultation, call 916-787-1234 or contact us online today.