The term “white collar crime” has been used since the 1930s to identify nonviolent crimes that often involve professionals, including some executives. If you are accused of one of these crimes, it can be complicated to defend. Let’s look at a few of these crimes.
- Tax evasion is one of the most common white collar crimes. Defending yourself against this type of crime will involve going through years of financial records and documentation of your situation.
- Crimes involving stocks such as stock fraud, securities fraud and insider trading have landed several high profile people in prison including Martha Stewart and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling. The allegations could include buying or selling stocks because you have inside information that most investors don’t know to leading investors to make stock purchases based on false information.
- Computer fraud happens when someone uses information obtained from a computer to commit a fraud. This crime includes infecting computers with viruses to stealing financial information from a computer.
- Identity theft can be prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if the information was obtained on a computer. But identity theft is around before the Internet. Thieves have dug through the trash to get bank account numbers or tricked people into revealing their information on the phone. The information is mostly used to obtain credit cards or other financial benefits.
- Insurance fraud includes a wide variety of crimes. Examples include:
- Inflating the amount of medical treatment to get more money from insurance companies. Some healthcare providers have defended themselves by saying they did it to help the patient. For example, the treatment the patient received was not covered by the insurance so they listed a procedure that was so that it would be covered.
- Falsely reporting thefts to collect the insurance money.
- In car accident cases, reporting damage that wasn’t caused by the accident.
- Staging an accident.
- Faking an injury to collect medical benefits from an accident.
- Faking a death to collect life insurance.
- Setting fire to a residence or car to collect the insurance money.
Judges take white collar crimes just as seriously as they do more violent crimes. Skilling was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for his crimes. And judges don’t care who the person being charge of the crime is. Martha Stewart served time in a federal prison for insider trading. If you are charged with a white collar crime, you need to start planning your defense immediately.