White collar crime seems like something that happens only at the higher levels of business or by government officials. But in reality, white collar crimes can be committed by a wide range of people and ensnare just about anyone in Mississippi who does not recognize that they are being tricked or scammed. The FBI website provides some background on what white collar crime is and how it may be committed.
The term “white collar crime” possibly originated back in 1939 and has been used to describe a wide variety of frauds and scams. The goal of these crimes is to acquire money or assets or to avoid losing property already in one’s possession. To do so, perpetrators will engage in deceitful tactics to defraud innocent parties of their wealth. While white collar crime does not involve violence, the consequences can still be financially disastrous to victims who have been defrauded.
There are many different examples of white collar crimes. Corporate fraud occurs when members of a corporation deceive investors about the true worth of a company. By the time the fraud is detected, investors are often defrauded of large amounts of money. Some white collar criminals also use money laundering to hide the origin of money acquired through illegal activities, such as selling drugs.
Securities and commodities fraud is another area of white collar crime. These kinds of schemes often involve selling members of a particular group, like the elderly or people of a certain religion, on a certain investment that is supposed to guarantee returns. However, investors often do not receive what is promised to them. Examples of such schemes include Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, commodities fraud, and broker embezzlement.
White collar crimes can take other forms. Per FindLaw, perpetrators may embezzle property by taking it from people that they owe some sort of duty to. Embezzlement may happen when an employee steals money from an employer account. Some white collar criminals engage in tax evasion, which is avoiding tax payments by unlawful means, such as using false information in tax forms or transferring property in an illegal manner. There are also people who try to scam insurance companies with false or exaggerated damage claims.
White collar crime is not limited to high income business people and politicians. Because of the variety of people who commit these crimes, it is possible for just about anyone under certain circumstances to fall under suspicion of embezzlement, fraud or scamming others. For this reason, consulting a defense attorney may be necessary to understand legal options that are available if charged with a white collar crime.