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Top 10 White Collar Crime Articles
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Top 10 White Collar Crime Articles

You may have heard about the scandals of Enron, Madoff, and WorldCom. Although some people like to argue that white collar crime is a crime without a victim, it can have far-reaching effects. Activities like price-setting or welfare fraud affect lots of people and the overall marketplace for goods and services.

Here are 10 articles from the LegalMatch Library that will help you understand white collar crime.

1. What Are White Collar Crimes?

White collar crime refers to non-violent crimes for financial gain, usually performed by professionals in business and government. Types of white collar crime include fraud, embezzlement, racketeering, and tax evasion.

2. Felony Embezzlement

Embezzlement is generally a misdemeanor, but becomes a felony when the amount of money or property is over a specified amount. It depends on state law, but could be anywhere from $500 to a couple thousand dollars.

3. Falsifying Documents

Falsifying documents occurs when someone lies or omits important information on official forms or documents in order to receive some sort of gain. This can include lying on various forms including police reports, passport applications, and tax forms, as well as forging a signature.

4. Insider Trading

One of the quintessential white collar crimes is insider trading. It is when a corporate insider, such as an officer or board member, uses nonpublic knowledge to buy or sell securities in order to make money or avoid losses. People who are not insiders may also be liable when they receive tips from insiders if they know that it is nonpublic information and would affect the price(s) of the securities.

5. Tax Evasion

If you lie or omit information on your tax documents, you may not only be liable for tax fraud and falsifying documents, but tax evasion. Individuals as well as businesses may be liable for tax evasion, which could lead to fines, penalties, and prison sentences. While tax evasion and tax avoidance both refer to not paying the proper taxes, a person who never intends to pay the missing amount may be liable for tax evasion, but a person who moves money to pay taxes later may be liable for tax avoidance.

6. Health Care Fraud

Health care fraud occurs when someone submits false information in order to gain benefits from a health insurance provider. While this falls within general fraud and falsifying claims, it is unique because a patient or healthcare professional may be liable. For example, if a doctor gives a false diagnosis or waives a co-pay so that the insurance company covers more than it normally would, then the health care professional may be liable for fraud as well as the patient.

7. Racketeering and RICO

Racketeering is often broadly defined as running an illegal business (racket) such as a drug trade, prostitution ring, or illegal gambling activity. RICO stands for the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is a confusing law that allows the government to go after large mafia-style crime organizations.

8. Check Kiting

Check kiting is when someone writes a check for more than the funds available in his or her account and cashes it or places it in a new account. He or she fills the old fund with the money before the check clears in order to get an interest-free loan during the time before the check clears.

9. Money Laundering

Money laundering is when someone cycles illegally obtained money through some sort of legal enterprise in order to make it look like it was legally obtained. It is believed to be a way that a criminal will avoid looking suspicious to the IRS. Individuals that participate in money laundering on their own, or as part of a business, may face prison time, fines, and other monetary penalties.

10. Computer Fraud

Ever received an email from an African prince? It was probably computer fraud. A new form of white collar crime, computer fraud includes hacking, piracy, phishing and spamming schemes, and illegal removal or tampering with data.

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Law Library Staff

  • Rachel Wenzel

    LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor

    Attorney at Law