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Could you be accused of a white collar crime?

The term white collar crime refers to a range of offenses and, just like other crimes, can vary in severity depending on the circumstances. Typically it includes crimes that are committed through deceit, concealment or violation of trust. White collar crimes are motivated by financial gain, and do not typically involve violence, or even the threat of it.

Many types of scams and fraudulent activities fall under the category of white collar crimes, from false accounting to credit card fraud to money laundering and investment fraud. Even having knowledge of these types of activities can potentially create legal liability. Given the variables, could you be accused of a white collar crime?

Below are some common white collar crimes and what circumstances they might entail. The FBI's website contains a more comprehensive list.

  • Securities fraud or "insider trading" - Using ones knowledge of the financial situation of a certain commodity for personal gain
  • Investment fraud - Using misstatements about a company to secure funding
  • Insurance fraud - Improperly collecting on an insurance policy through deceiving the insurance company
  • Ponzi schemes - Business scams intended to steal money away from investors
  • Mortgage fraud - Misstatement, misrepresentation or omissions for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage loan
  • Health care fraud - Stealing or purchasing patient information for the purpose of using for a money-making scheme
  • Embezzlement - Improperly taking money from someone who you owe a specific duty, such as siphoning money from an employer or improperly using client funds
  • Tax evasion - Attempting to avoid paying taxes by falsifying information, illegally transferring assets or not filing your taxes
  • Money laundering - Filtering illegally obtained money through several sources to make it appear legitimate
  • Identity theft - Stealing or unlawfully using someone else's identity for personal gain - includes online theft, credit card fraud or using someone else's health care insurance.

If you are accused of a white collar crime, it is important to take action right away. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you protect your legal rights.

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