White collar crimes are financially-motivated offenses that commonly involve deceit, theft, and/or exploitation. The vast majority of white collar crimes don’t involve any physical violence, but are still some of the most aggressively prosecuted offenses.
Understanding Different Types of White Collar Crimes
Embezzlement occurs when an employee steals or misuses funds from their employer.
Some common methods of embezzlement include:
- Theft of cash from registers
- Forging checks
- Stealing company property
- Using company property for personal profit
- Overbilling customers
- Lying about hours worked or overtime hours
Employers take embezzlement extremely seriously, as it happens more often than you might think. If you’re facing charges for embezzlement, you’ll need to begin working on your defense immediately. If convicted, you face years in prison and expensive fines, not to mention, a significant mark on your criminal record.
Some defense strategies for embezzlement include:
- Innocence: Proving you did not take what you are being accused of taking.
- Lack of intent: You may be able to prove you had no intent to steal from your employer, did not know what you were doing was a crime, or believed the embezzled property was yours to begin with.
- Lack of evidence: A large number of embezzlement cases are dismissed each year due to insufficient evidence.
- Duress: This strategy will only work in unique cases where the defendant committed the crime because they believed they were in danger if they didn’t.
Tax fraud occurs when a taxpayer falsifies, misrepresents, or otherwise lies on their taxes for financial gain.
Some of the most common ways people commit tax fraud is by:
- Underreporting income
- Claiming more deductions than they are entitled to
- Not paying the full amount owed
If you’re wondering if you’ve ever accidentally committed tax fraud, it’s very possible! The IRS estimates that about 17% of taxpayers do not comply with the tax code. The good news is that, as long as you didn’t have the intent to commit fraud, you likely won’t be facing criminal charges. Instead, you’ll just have to pay the accurate amount owed and/or a penalty.
Money laundering is typically committed after a separate offense. Money laundering is the process of taking profits from a criminal enterprise and disguising them to be from a legitimate source.
This may be done by:
- Adding the money into a bank account in many small transactions
- Purchasing expensive assets with the money
- Using a cash-based business as a front
Typically, those facing money laundering charges will face additional charges for the initial crime committed.
Many Americans have the shared experience of having their identity or account information stolen. With the use of the internet, identity theft happens quite frequently and easily. Most individuals commit identity theft for financial reasons like opening new bank accounts or lines of credit. However, some other reasons for identity theft are more sinister, like for revenge or to commit a separate crime using the stolen identity as a mask.
Frequently Asked Questions about White Collar Crime
Are these crimes State or Federal offenses?
The majority of white collar crimes are prosecuted at the federal level. This is the case when they are investigated by a government organization, like the IRS, or the crime spanned across multiple states.
Do only wealthy people commit white collar crimes?
Many people believe that only millionaires or Wall Street bankers are involved in crimes such as fraud and embezzlement. In reality, this isn’t the case. Anyone of any socioeconomic status can commit and be charged with a white collar crime.
What are restitution payments?
Restitution payments are a common punishment for individuals convicted of white collar crime. These are payments made to the victim to make up for the money lost. For example, paying embezzled funds back to an employer.
How long is the prison sentence for white collar crimes?
For federal crimes, the defendant faces a lengthy prison sentence. Most white collar crimes require mandatory minimum prison sentences. In these cases, the judge is required to sentence the individual to at least a certain amount of time in prison. However, the sentence can be up to 20 years.
Ohio White Collar Crimes Defense
If you have been charged with a white collar crime in Ohio, contact our team at The Meranda Law Firm LTD. Our Columbus attorneys can help protect your rights and fight for you to get the best possible outcome. Get started on your defense today by calling (614) 707-4239 or contacting us online.