Whether you realize it or not, you probably know of some white collar criminals. Many of them are celebrities or high-profile political figures. Think Martha Stewart, Lori Laughlin, Charles Ponzi (the namesake of the well-known “Ponzi scheme”) and Bernie Madoff, just to name a few. As evidenced by these cases, white collar crime is almost always financially motivated, and manifests by way of deceit, bribery, and manipulation. In this post, we identify four of the most prominent examples of this type of criminal activity.
We will begin with the act of fraud. Fraud occurs when a person misrepresents facts for any type of gain. It includes making known false statements with the intent to deceive. It becomes a crime when the victim believed and relied on that information, which ultimately caused he or she to suffer an actual loss of some sort. Usually the loss in financial in nature. A second type of white collar crime is known as insider trading. This occurs when a party buys or sells stock or securities using information obtained from someone “on the inside.” For example, if an executive offers information to a lower level employee that has not yet been made public, and that information influences the employee to buy or sell, then insider trading has occurred.
Our third example is bribery. Commonly seen within the political arena, bribery occurs when one party offers something of value as a means of temptation or influence. Fourth, we will highlight the crime of money laundering. This crime occurs when money has been earned by way of illegal activity, but is made to appear as if it came from a legal business. These activities are found to be prevalent in known crime organizations such as the mob.
White collar crime can cut much deeper than what appears on the surface, and anyone who has been accused of such should not hesitate to immediately consult an attorney. Often, a defendant is ordered to pay thousands, or even millions, of dollars in restitution to victims.