White Collar Crime
White-collar crime is a term used to refer to crimes committed by people with sophisticated knowledge or sophisticated means for financial gain. The term derives from white-collar job, which means any work performed in an office or administrative setting. Because white-collar crimes are committed by sophisticated people or through sophisticated means, they are difficult to detect, which explains why the after-effect of white-collar crimes are millions in financial losses. The recent years saw several billion-dollar white-collar crime in the United States, such as the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Most often, the target of white-collar crimes are vulnerable and unsophisticated people who are easily tricked into handing over their money to what they thought were legitimate investments.
There are numerous white-collar crimes, the most common of which are antitrust violations, internet and telemarketing scams, credit card fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud, insider trading, and embezzlement. Other white-collar crimes include bankruptcy fraud, environmental law violations, insurance fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and trade secret theft. White-collar crimes are also committed in relation to government transactions. These crimes include bribery, kickbacks, corruption, and economic espionage.
Both the federal government, through its web of law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state governments, through their local police departments, are in concerted efforts to go after white-collar crime perpetrators given that these crimes, according to studies, cost the U.S. Government more than $300 billion annually. White-collar crime law is composed of complicated rules and regulations that touch on almost all other areas of the law. Most of those who were accused and convicted of white-collar crimes are individuals, but the government can impose sanctions on the company as well to serve as a warning that the company also has responsibility over its employees. Financial losses as a result of white-collar crimes reach millions, so penalties are steep. In addition to penalties, those convicted of white-collar may be placed in house arrest or imprisoned. Depending on the amount of losses that result from the white-collar crimes, the penalties may range from mere thousands of dollars to millions of dollars.
There is wide coverage on white-collar crimes, especially when millions of dollars of losses are involved. It is thus not easy to be charged with such crime. Before making a move towards countering a prosecutor's charge, it is the best idea to hire an expert white-collar crime law attorney to serve as defense counsel. This is because white-collar crimes are difficult to defend, much so because politics and power play are often involved. This is not to say that those accused of white-collar crimes have no other resort. Defenses available to non-white-collar crimes are also available to white-collar crimes. The common argument the accused use as defense would be entrapment, which means that the accused had no choice but to commit the crime because he was forced by another person or by circumstances. There are numerous defenses for the accused, but the key to winning against white-collar crime charges is an expert white-collar crime defense attorney.