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What are white collar crimes?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the term "white collar crime" was coined as early as 1939. The term now covers a range of crimes that involve almost any type of fraud, usually committed by those working for governments or businesses. White collar crimes cover a variety of scams and fraud situations.

The FBI reports that while collar crime is more sophisticated than ever, with complex schemes and scams made possible by technology. Scams include backdating options for investment gains, running scams on jurors, fixing prices and fraudulently using someone else's Social Security number. White collar crimes also include scams to defraud those who are seeking to adopt children, staging auto accidents to get an insurance payout or tricking others into paying money to take part in a home business opportunity that is not real.

The FBI identifies areas of major threats in white collar crime, including insurance and health care fraud, identity theft, mortgage fraud, corporate fraud and money laundering. While many of these activities are obviously fraudulent in nature, there are some areas that walk the line between legitimacy and criminality. Within those areas, individuals can cross that line without realizing it or be accused of fraud when fraud did not occur.

Whether you are accused of fraud in one of those gray areas or charged with a more obvious form of fraud, a strong defense is the best way to help protect your future. White collar crime allegations can impact your ability to work and your social relationships -- even if you are never convicted! Starting with a strong defense as early as possible may help alleviate some consequences of the allegations.

Source: FBI, "White-Collar Crime," accessed June 05, 2015

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