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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the term “white collar crime” first originated in 1939. This type of theft is usually committed by an individual who is in a position of authority and trust, who then abused that position in order to gain access to funds or information. These crimes are typically non-violent in nature and can take place over a long length of time or all at once.
Some people who commit white-collar crimes only take small amounts so that the theft would go unnoticed. An example of white collar crime could be an employee lying about receipts and expenses, a trustee using a trust account for his own purposes, or a criminal organization attempting to make their dirty money look like it came from a legitimate source. They are primarily committed in a business setting by corporate executives or by an elected or public official. Most are felonies and many are a violation of federal law. Prosecutors are very interested in obtaining convictions in these cases.
Crimes Motivated by Money
These crimes may be investigated by local law enforcement or by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U. S. Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or other federal investigative agencies. Many white collar crimes are very complex and a criminal investigation may go on for months or years. At Keegan Law, we have handled a vast number of white collar crimes that range from abuse of the system to theft-related crimes and more.
Our skilled legal team represents clients accused of such offenses as:
- Money laundering
- Identity theft
- Internet crimes
- Mail fraud
- Tax evasion
So what exactly is money laundering? You may have heard the term bandied about on TV crime shows and the like, but what does it actually mean?
Very simply put, money laundering is the process of turning “dirty” money into “clean” money. Dirty money is money that is obtained through illegal methods. Dirty money can be gotten through:
- Human trafficking
- Drug trafficking
- Complex financial crimes
- Health Care Fraud
- Foreign or domestic public corruption (usually perpetrated by those in power politically or in public office)
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. So when a criminal gets money by any of these illegal channels, they then face the dilemma of what to do with the money. Large deposits that cannot be accounted for can be huge red flags for authorities, and can prompt audits that land the perpetrators in prison. So these white collar criminals need to “wash” their money – i.e., find a way to bury the trail from themselves to the money, or find a method of making the money look as if it came from a legitimate source. There are many ways that they do this, and their methods can be quite complex and layered, even involving overseas accounts that are difficult to trace.
The term RICO is an abbreviation for the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. This Act deals with organized crime. So a RICO violation requires that the participants created an actual organization of some kind that is established for the purpose of carrying out criminal or illegal enterprises. Any white collar crime can qualify as the purpose for which a criminal enterprise or organization was created.
For example, Tony could start up a group of individuals that come together for the purpose of drug trafficking. So Tony brings other individuals on board to assist him in carrying out the activities necessary to run a profitable drug trafficking ring. Say he ends up “hiring” or using 20 men to assist in making this happen. There could be a network of street dealers who sell the drugs to individual buyers, then there would be those who transport the drugs from the source to the individual street dealers, then there are the large scale drug lords who cultivate or manufacture large quantities of drugs for wide-scale distribution, and on and on it goes. Every person involved in this criminal organization could be charged with, and prosecuted for a RICO violation.
Most of us know what bribery is, at least on a moderate or small scale. However, large scale bribery often blends into the corruption of public officials – as bribes are often used by businesses or organized criminal enterprises to influence public officials and how they do their jobs. In other words, any business or industry that stands to lose millions of dollars if a certain piece of legislation passes into law can offer huge bribes to officials who will be voting on that law – with the express intent to influence their vote.
Another example is an organized criminal enterprise that offers substantial bribes to law enforcement to look the other way.
Theft offenses that do not involve the use of violent force (like robbery at gunpoint) can fall into the theft category. There are essentially three types of theft in white collar crime. Embezzlement is the act of getting money by abusing someone’s trust – usually an employer. Any employee in a position of trust who steals items of value or money from their employer, even over a period of years, can be charged with embezzlement.
Blackmail involves threats of exposure, usually of sensitive information, unless the victim pays the perpetrator a certain amount of money. And lastly, extortion is the use of threats of harm to a person’s business or property unless a sum is paid.
These are but a few of the white collar crimes that one can commit, and it is important to contact a qualified Boston white collar crimes attorney if you have been accused of a crime of this nature. Even if you are not the primary focus of an ongoing investigation, you may be suspected of conspiracy and the tides can turn very quickly. If you are found to be guilty of criminal conspiracy, you may be found guilty for the acts of all other participants in the alleged criminal scheme.
The penalties for most white collar crimes include long prison terms, probation, community service, restitution, and other harsh consequences. When such life-changing consequences are possible it is vital that you take action to ensure your rights are fully protected. A skilled Boston white collar crimes lawyer at our firm is ready to help you protect your future. Call our firm for a confidential consultation immediately.