White collar crime is a term that was coined by the FBI in 1939 and typically describes crimes not committed from a place of passion but by a calculated attempt to undercut financial regulations or perpetrate intellectual theft. Money laundering, fraud, and corruption are a few of the more broad categories that describe white collar crime. Despite its storied Wild West History, modern day Texas is home to some of America’s largest corporations, so white collar crime is no stranger to the Lone Star State. According to some accounts, the five most common white collar crimes in the state are corporate fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, embezzlement, and healthcare fraud.
Corporate fraud keeps the FBI busy year round and typically involves cooking the books to make a company look more profitably than it really is, which in turn can be dangerously misleading to the public (especially in the case of publicly traded companies). Tax evasion is on the flip side of the number-fudging coin, and involves doing anything and everything to pay Uncle Sam his dividends. Money laundering involves hiding illegally obtained money by funneling it through legitimate business activity. Embezzlement involves secretly taking money from a business and is usually perpetrated by someone with a higher degree of access to the company’s financial information. Healthcare fraud is a fairly broad term and can involve everything from a doctor billing an insurance company for services not rendered, or a patient using a false name to leverage someone else’s insurance.
There are a number of other white collar crimes perpetrated outside a professional setting. Copyright infringement, identity theft and pyramid schemes are also considered white collar crims. In that last cime listed, also referred to as a Ponzi scheme, investors are lured into a compensation structure that is not genuinely funded by sales, but by payments from the most recent line of investors to get into the scheme.
Depending on its severity, a white collar crime can become classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Mr. Morin can help you alleviate the burden of the repercussions or avoid them entirely.