We have all heard the term white collar crimes, but most of us have only the vaguest idea about the crimes it references. White collar crimes – as the name implies – are crimes that are typically committed in a business or corporate environment and that are generally non-violent in nature. The fact is that some white collar offenses prohibit conduct that is intuitively illegal, while others prohibit conduct that you may not even think twice about. Understanding more about white collar crimes can help you avoid becoming inadvertently involved in such crimes in the first place.
White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes in Texas can take any number of forms, but there are several types that people are most familiar with, including:
- Fraud in any form
- Money laundering
- Tax evasion (and other tax crimes)
- Ponzi schemes
When it comes to white collar crimes, things are not always black and white. For instance, an employee who embezzles from his or her employer understands that embezzling is a form of stealing and is against the law. A manufacturer who somewhat misrepresents the products he or she produces, on the other hand, may not recognize that this can also be a white collar crime.
The Most Common White Collar Crimes
It is helpful to have a working knowledge of the most common forms of white collar crimes in Texas, including:
- Embezzlement is the act of secretly and illegally taking money from a business or organization (often by an employee or by someone afforded financial information – such as a bookkeeper). The State of Texas takes embezzlement extremely seriously, and the amount embezzled does not have to be large to qualify as a crime.
- Corporate fraud – in its simplest form – refers to intentionally misrepresenting a company’s financials.
- Tax evasion refers to purposefully and illegally avoiding one’s tax obligations. Such crimes go beyond simply failing to pay taxes that are due and can involve falsifying financial information or illegally transferring property for tax purposes.
- Money laundering is the act of hiding money that was obtained illegally. Money laundering can include any number of tactics – including producing falsified but legitimate-seeming records.
- Healthcare fraud encompasses a wide variety of acts that relate to the healthcare field. A doctor who deliberately misbills an insurance company for financial gain is one example, but a consumer who provides false information to obtain healthcare coverage is another. Healthcare fraud is rampant, and perpetrators are not always aware that they are, indeed, engaging in white collar crimes.