What Constitutes a White Collar Crime?

Although you have probably heard the term “white collar crime” before, you may not fully understand what it means. When you think of a white collar criminal, there’s a good chance you will conjure up images of Wall Street tycoons. However, while this depiction does capture part of what white collar crime is, it does not fully encapsulate the larger meaning.

In the broadest sense possible, white collar crime is defined as any financially motivated offense, usually committed by a businessperson or government official. While we often think of white collar crime in relation to corporate interests, the truth is that small companies commit white collar crime as well. To be convicted of a white collar crime, you don’t necessarily have to be powerful or wealthy, you just have to manipulate a system for own benefit.

From influential executives to everyday office workers, white collar crimes can result in serious consequences. Keep reading our blog to learn more about the offenses that constitute white collar crime, and contact our Clearwater white collar crime lawyers at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. if you or someone you know is seeking representation.

Why Collar Crimes May Include:

  • Securities and Investment Fraud: Securities and investment fraud, also known as stock fraud, involves using false information to convince investors to make decisions that will financially benefit you. It may also include abusing information to manipulate stock prices, entering into trades based on reports that aren’t public, or the practice of insider trading, i.e. using insider knowledge to game the system. Securities fraud is the type of “Wall Street crime” that most people think of when they consider white collar offenses, though these crimes happen outside of the world of high finance, too. Any occasion where misstatements, secret information, or outright lying is used for personal gain may be seen as securities fraud.
  • Medicare and Medicaid Fraud: Medicare and Medicaid fraud can be committed by medical professionals, healthcare facilities, Medicare/Medicaid patients/participants, or other parties impersonating medical professionals, healthcare facilities, or patients/participants. It may involve billing for services that weren’t provided, ordering tests that aren’t necessary, charging for extra services, filing false claims for reimbursement, receiving benefits which you aren’t eligible for, or using someone else’s identity to receive benefits. Basically, if you abuse the Medicare/Medicaid system for financial gain, you could be found guilty of committing Medicare/Medicaid fraud.
  • Embezzlement: Embezzlement is stealing through the withholding of funds. It occurs anytime an employee decides to keep funds for themselves that are supposed to be put into a larger business. It can also occur when a politician decides to hold on to contributions they were given as part of a campaign for personal use. Embezzlement is applicable in a wide range of scenarios, as long as one or more individuals have stolen assets that were supposed to be converted into funds for a larger entity.
  • Bankruptcy Fraud: Bankruptcy fraud includes filing a fraudulent bankruptcy claim or claims, in which information on financial standing is withheld in order to avoid paying debts. In some cases, an individual will conceal assets in order to declare bankruptcy. In other scenarios, someone may file multiple reports, using false information in an attempt to escape debt. Bribing officials to receive bankruptcy status also counts as fraud.
  • Insurance Fraud: Insurance fraud generally takes 2 forms. 1) When claimants use false information to receive benefits from their insurer. 2) When insurers withhold information to prevent claimants from receiving benefits.
  • Identity Theft: Identify theft is the practice of using someone else’s identity for your own financial advantage or to receive credit and benefits which are owed to someone else. Using someone else’s information to harm them personally or financially would also count as identity theft.
  • Credit Card Fraud: Credit card fraud includes any kind of theft and fraud committed with credit cards. This may mean using credit cards to avoid paying for good and services, as well as stealing funds from other sources through the use of credit cards. This offense can also overlap with identity theft, as taking someone’s credit information and using it for your own personal gain is another kind of credit card fraud.
  • Tax Fraud: Tax fraud, or tax evasion, is the attempt to avoid federal tax payment or assessment.
  • Mail Fraud: Mail fraud includes any kind of scheme or activity designed to defraud people of funds through postal communication.
  • Wire Fraud: Wire fraud includes any kind or scheme of activity designed to defraud people of funds through telecommunications or information technology. An outgrowth of mail fraud, wire fraud may encompass any kind of fraud involving mail, phones, television, the Internet, or other modes of communication.
  • Money Laundering: Money laundering is the process of concealing the origins of funds obtained illegally by passing those funds through banks or other legitimate businesses.

Don’t Risk Your Life and Reputation, Contact an Attorney Today

There are various consequences one may face for a white collar crime conviction. These may vary depending on the circumstances of the offense, but even a lower white collar crime offense can cause serious damage to your life and reputation without the assistance of a skilled attorney.

Alleged white collar criminals often face:

  1. Time in jail or federal prison
  2. Serious fines and fees
  3. Restitution payments to alleged victims
  4. Suspension of professional licenses

If you are facing white collar crime charges, don’t let any of these things happen to you! At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., our team has over 35 years of combined legal experience. We believe that every client deserves a fair shot at justice, and will use all the resources at our disposal to give your case the specified attention it needs. For a firm with two former prosecutors who have extensive experience on both sides of the courtroom, contact Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. for criminal defense representation today.

To schedule a consultation, call now at (727) 245-9009, or contact us anytime online.