White-collar crimes may not always be as obvious a crime as something like a murder or a robbery. Many times, these are crimes committed by people you would never expect to be involved in criminal activities. White-collar crimes often happen "on paper," and the prosecution needs to prove something as subjective as "intent" in order to prove that a crime was actually committed.
However difficult it may be to spot these types of crimes, they are still crimes in the eyes of law enforcement. Many white-collar crimes are considered felonies, and have potential consequences such as large fines and prison sentences.
Here are examples of different white-collar crimes and how they are defined in a legal setting.
Conspiracy to Commit Wire or Mail Fraud
Mail and wire fraud are types of fraud that happen when someone chooses to defraud another using mail or wire communication. In the case of each, it has to be proven that there was intent to defraud someone of honest services or property by use of mail or wire communication. An example of this could be a criminal sending fraudulent letters asking people to send money to a fake charity or organization, and instead pocketing the money for him/herself. Mail fraud has been a federal crime since 1872.
In order to prove that a conspiracy to commit these crimes occurred, the actual scheme to defraud has to be shared by two or more people. There has to be an agreement between the parties involved that they will be committing fraud, and an overt act by at least one to follow-through with the plan. For a crime to be committed, there has to be intent to deprive and defraud.
Tax fraud can be varied depending on the type of deliberate cheating against the IRS. Some tax criminals may choose to hide some or all of their income when it comes time for tax reporting. Others may under-report income, falsify their returns with incorrect deductions or charity contributions, or simply not file a return. Each of these types of fraud has different criminal weights in the justice system. However, in order to be prosecuted, it must be proven that there was a deliberate intent on the behalf of the defendant to cheat the system and defraud the IRS by providing false information with regards to tax returns.
Money Laundering is the concealment of illegally obtained funds by making the money seem legitimate. Money laundering criminals use many different methods to "clean" the dirty money by passing it through various legal financial institutions, money transfers, large purchases, or legitimate businesses. Illegally obtained funds may be hard to track once they have been transferred through many different accounts or transactions, and this is exactly why it is often difficult to uncover laundered funds. In order to prove that money has been laundered, a prosecution needs to prove that there was intent on behalf of the defendant to hide the illegal money through various different methods.
Many white-collar crimes are extremely difficult to prove an actual intent to commit a crime. If you have been accused of a white-collar crime, it's extremely important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be able to help you navigate the criminal justice system with regards to your individual charge.
965. Conspiracy to Violate the Mail Fraud or Wire Fraud Statutes. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-965-conspiracy-violate-mail-fraud-or-wire-fraud-statutes
Doyle, C. (2011, July 21). Mail and Wire Fraud: A Brief Overview of Federal Criminal Law. Retrieved May 16, 2017, from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8bf1/b5e70bff43ba9d4bd30ee5146cfd0e7ef373.pdf
6 crimes Corrine Brown faces and what they mean. (2017, May 10). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2017-05-10/6-crimes-corrine-brown-faces-and-what-they-mean