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What is White Collar Crime?

Business Conference Room Scene for Some White Collar Crime

The term “white collar crime” describes a category of crimes, typically ones that carried out for financial gain. The most common white collar crimes tend to be crimes involving embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.

Types of White Collar Crime

Other crimes that fall under the “white collar’ umbrella include securities fraud, insider trading, insurance fraud, and Ponzi schemes.

Securities Fraud

There are a few different specific crimes that are classified as securities fraud. One, in particular, known as ‘insider training’ describes someone who has private information about the state of a company and violates their duty or obligation by trading based on that information. Another instance of securities fraud is when a company or individual seeks investment money by giving investors false information about the financial state of the company.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement describes taking money from someone of which you owe a duty or service to, without acting on that duty or service. For example, service providers who improperly use their client’s payments to fund their lifestyle, rather than using the money for it’s intended or agreed upon purpose. Another example of embezzlement could be a bank teller who keeps some cash from customer deposits for themselves.

Money Laundering

Obtaining illegally earned money and funneling those funds through another business to make them appear legitimate is known as money laundering. Money laundering often involves several different steps to distance the funds from their original, illegal source. However, a lot of times, it is much easier to trace dirty money back to its source than it may seem.

For example, someone who earns money by selling products illegally might start an official “business” unrelated to the money they earn but claim the income is from their registered “business.” This frequently happens with people who make money selling drugs or gambling.

Tax Evasion

Tax evasion is a criminal offense where the offender attempts to avoid paying owed taxes. This can include providing false information on your tax forms or transferring property to avoid owing additional fees. A few other examples of tax evasion include underreporting income, claiming fake business expense or purposely underpaying your taxes.

Penalties for White Collar Crime

Punishment for committing a white collar crime varies depending on state law, federal law, and the nature of the offense. In Texas, a white collar misdemeanor can have a penalty of a fee from $500 up to $4,000, and you could face possible prison time up to one year. If you are being suspected or accused of committing a white collar crime, it is best to seek an experienced white collar defense attorney to help you deal with the potential outcomes of the crime in question.

Please note that this article is not meant to be a substitute for actual legal advice. While it is a good idea to do independent research, it is crucial to speak to a qualified attorney in your area. Plan a meeting with a local white-collar defense attorney to discuss your options and help you plan a course of action.

If you need a white-collar criminal defense attorney in Houston, reach out to Christopher T. Gore to learn more about how he can help represent you.

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