There are types of crimes that typically involve well-compensated individuals with power or prestige who commit non-violent offenses for financial gain. Their position and motive do not immunize them from investigation, arrest or prosecution.
White collar crime
These offenses, known as white-collar crimes, usually involve widespread or complex financial schemes. These crimes are usually perpetrated by individuals in a position of trust or work at a corporate level. Because of new and sophisticated technology, one individual can commit a crime that causes tens of millions in losses.
White collar crimes differ from blue collar offenses, which do not provide the access that a white-collar criminal has from their position or resources. Blue collar crimes such as robbery and burglary are less complex and more direct.
White collar crimes are classified into two categories. First, individual crimes committed by a person or group. These usually include identity theft, hacking, counterfeiting and other fraud schemes. The Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff is a famous example.
Corporate crimes are the second classification. Insider trading and money laundering are examples of these offenses.
The Internet and other cyber technology have changed the scope of white-collar crimes. A cybercrime is an offense committed with computer technology. Phishing is a new offense where offenders engage in schemes to obtain personal information to commit identity theft.
White collar crimes include many offenses. These are the most well-known:
- Fraud involving schemes where victims are promised money in return for sending an investment that is never returned.
- Insider trading involving traders possessing material and non-public information that gives them advantages in financial markets by having a stock before the information becomes public and its value rises.
- Ponzi schemes where returns are paid to initial investors from the funds of new investors and the scheme collapses when there are an inadequate number of new investors.
- Identify theft and other cybercrimes such as hacking, which did not even exist 30 years ago.
- Embezzlement involving theft or larceny where entrusted individuals take money and transfer these funds to their own accounts.
- Money laundering where cash is funneled from illegal activities into legitimate businesses and accounts and becomes commingled with genuine revenues.
- Espionage or spying, usually on behalf of foreign entities on American technology and proprietary information.
Attorneys can help prevent the rights of suspects in these sometimes complicated and vast investigations and prosecutions. They can provide realistic options on challenging these prosecutions or seeking an acceptable resolution.