The name for this broad category of crimes is a throwback to when most professionals wore more formal attire to work. The term ‘white-collar crimes’ cover a wide range of potentially criminal activities that have the goal of monetary gain. This category of crimes are typically non-violent in action and could be committed by professionals, financial services workers and government officials. It is crucial that you understand the kinds of activities that could be defined as this type of crime:
Fraudulent activity: This category can involve people operating in a nonprofessional setting. Fraud can extend to many forms of insurance fraud, including auto insurance fraud, Medicaid fraud and medical fraud. Some white-collar crimes could involve wire fraud, computer fraud or mail fraud.
Financial services: Crimes that involve securities like stocks and bonds could result in insider trading, securities fraud and stock manipulation charges.
Identity theft: This is a crime that most consumers have been affected by in one way or another. Suppose you’ve ever gotten a report from your bank that you have to cancel a credit card due to suspicious activity or purchases you didn’t make. In that case, your personal information may have been compromised and your identity stolen for financial gain.
Tax evasion: Tax evasion is a prevalent form of white-collar crime. If you failed to report all of your income to the IRS or report inaccurately, you may be at risk of a tax evasion charge, whether it was intentional or not.
Bribery: This is a concern with interactions involving public officials. It is illegal to produce gifts for public officials and for officials to receive those gifts in exchange for a specific outcome, financial or not.
Protecting yourself from unintentional incrimination
The culture of a workplace may encourage practices that skirt into the realm of white-collar crimes. Just because a supervisor or senior employee condones an action doesn’t mean it’s right in the context of the law. Some industries place their employees in a more precarious situation where it may be easy to commit a white-collar crime unintentionally. Professionals need to familiarize themselves with the laws governing their industry and the compliance necessary for conducting their work.