What is white collar crime?
White collar crime represents one of the fastest-growing types of crime in the world.
White collar crime, commonly known as corporate crime, is a term which is associated with a range of various deceitful, non-violent crimes which are financially motivated and committed by individuals, businesses and governments. These crimes are committed by persons who, often by virtue of their occupations, exploit social, economic or technological power for personal or corporate gain. The range of crimes that can fall under white collar crime include:
- Cyber crime
- False accounting and expense claims
- Identity theft
- Insider trading
- Money laundering
- Pension fraud
- Ponzi and pyramid schemes
- Tax evasion
- Tax fraud
- VAT fraud.
White collar crime is often more difficult to detect in comparison to other crimes due to the fact losses may not be immediately apparent and there are usually sophisticated schemes and cover-ups in place surrounding the commission of these crimes.
These types of crimes have traditionally been viewed as less serious than other types of crimes, primarily because they do not involve physical violence. However, the extent of the harm it can cause is now well and truly recognised. The cost to society corporate crime brings is many times more than organised or common street crime. Not only do corporate crimes lead to monetary loss, it also brings health risks, comprises safety, environmental harm, injuries and fatalities, and organisational failures and job losses.
Fraud, the most common type of white collar crime, involves deception in order to make a gain or cause a loss to another, via making false representations, failing in breach of legal duty to disclose information or by abusing your position.
Insider trading can be a type of fraud. This is where someone with confidential inside knowledge (e.g. information relating to upcoming contracts, bids, earnings) trades this information. Action is then taken following the information to ensure a gain is made or a loss incurred.
Embezzlement occurs when money is improperly taken from someone whom you owe some type of duty. An example of embezzlement is where a lawyer improperly uses client money.
Tax evasion is just that- an individual or company evading paying taxes. This may be facilitated by providing false information to HMRC or transferring properties in order to avoid tax.
An offence of money laundering will be committed if you filter illegally obtained money through transactions in order to make the money appear legitimate.
Cyber-crime involves the exploitation of technology. Examples can include committing securities fraud, credit-card fraud, identity theft and can involve illegally accessing and tampering with user’s computer files.
Famous example of white collar crime:
One of the most well-known examples of white collar crime was explained through the film ‘Wolf of Wall Street’. Leonardo DiCaprio played stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who caused a staggering $200 million loss to investors through market manipulation and illegal trading.
Price collusion: when a corporation conspires with other corporations to fix the price of goods or services as a means of obtaining artificially high profits, or to drive a competitor out of the market.
Falsifying reports of tests on products in order to obtain a certain licence.
Agreeing to use specific materials within the construction of roads or buildings, and the charging the customer full cost when cheap, defective materials have been used instead.
Providing false statements in order to obtain a government contract.
What are the consequences if convicted of a white collar crime?
The consequences of white collar crime vary depending on the nature and severity of the allegations in question. Our specialist solicitors are highly experienced in defending accusations relating to business crime of all ranges.
Various sanctions can be attached to these crimes, with the most serious of cases posing a risk of imprisonment for individuals. Our job at Stephensons is to understand the facts of your case and take the best action in order to minimise and prevent the potential repercussions.
In some cases, corporate crimes are conducted through bogus entities that pose as legal corporations. As corporations cannot be subject to imprisonment, they can be criminally punished with fines and various other sanctions. Corporations can be liable as a result of actions or omissions made by their employees and executives. Our role is to appropriately respond to any investigations and present a compelling defence on your behalf, in order to protect your business’ best interests.
What should I do if I’m being accused of a white collar crime offence?
Allegations of white collar crime related offences can be a very daunting and distressing time due to the potential consequences the offences can bring, as well as the damage it can cause to your or your business’ reputation.
Following our extensive experience dealing with offences of this kind, as soon as you are aware that any allegations have been made against you, it is essential to seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor in order to provide confidential support and advice in order to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
We appreciate that there are often mitigating factors or exceptional circumstances associated with white collar crimes, as well as the possibility of false accusations or being unwittingly involved in criminal activities that have been taking place within an organisation. Therefore, should this be the case, our team will take the most appropriate action in order to defend your position.
Here at Stephensons we understand how crucial it is to guide you through any investigative process you may be facing, and provide specialist representation in order to defend your case in the best possible way, especially if you are at risk of prosecution. Our experienced criminal defence team will act with your best interest at their core focus in order to minimise the repercussions the allegations have on you or your business.
If you do require our assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 696 6188 request a call back or complete an enquiry form.