People have specific mental images when they hear the word “crime.” This might involve police tape, handcuffs, or violent crime, but the word extends to cover a wide variety of illegal activity that is also punishable by law and prosecuted by juries every day.
White-collar crime will evoke names like Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart, Enron, and even Al Capone. And while these are some of the most famous, highly-publicized, and sensationalized examples, white-collar crime is quite common in the United States.
That being said, accusations of white-collar crimes are serious. If you are accused of a white-collar crime, you need a seasoned attorney to help you through the process.
If you need a white-collar crime attorney in Winston-Salem, call our team at the law offices of Freedman, Thompson, Witt, Ceberio, and Byrd.
Let’s look at some details of white-collar crime.
What is White-Collar Crime?
White-collar crime is a non-violent crime. It is a wide umbrella of infractions that range from antitrust violations to insider trading. The term emerged around 1939 and became synonymous with a variety of frauds committed in various settings where the motivation tends to be financial.
The public often hears about the more egregious types of white-collar crime, but there are a lot of different types of illegal activity that fall under this category. However, just because they are not violent crimes doesn’t mean that they are victimless crimes. Thousands of U.S. citizens are affected by white-collar crimes every year, whether it’s small business owners, individuals, or corporations.
Some of the most common types of white-collar crime include:
- Corporate fraud
- Ponzi schemes
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Insider trading
- Healthcare fraud
- Money laundering
- And more
The law does not look kindly on white-collar crime, nor does it go easy on perpetrators just because it involves non-violent means. The FBI is the organization tasked with investigating and prosecuting these types of crimes. The FBI works with local and state law enforcement when it comes to investigations.
A Closer Look at Common White-Collar Crime
From insider trading to Ponzi schemes, the U.S. public is likely familiar with some of the most common crimes.
- Fraud: There are many different types and degrees of fraud crimes. Perhaps one of the most famous in history and one of the biggest financial frauds was committed by Bernie Madoff. The famous Ponzi scheme likely ran for decades and defrauded thousands of investors, taking with it billions of dollars. A Ponzi scheme is a type of investment fraud that uses the funds from old investors to pay new investors and convince them that they are going into a lucrative investment opportunity. Charles Ponzi—the namesake of the specific type of fraud— defrauded investors in the 1950s with the promise of a 50% return within a few months. These schemes often promise high returns with little risk. Instead, they simply empty investors’ pockets while the wrongdoer cashes in the checks.
- Embezzlement: Like fraud, there are different methods and kinds of embezzlement. Broadly speaking, the crime involves the theft or misappropriation of money or property from a family member, business partner, employer, or another person that entrusted the property to the person in question. The differing circumstance of this crime is the fact the person is entrusted with the property and then commits the crime. That is, the wrongdoer betrays the trust or agreement and takes possession of the property.
- Insider trading: Another highly-publicized crime is that of insider trading. Feature films that deal with insider trading and other financial crimes include Wall Street With Martin Sheen from 1987, Boardwalk Empire, and other Wall Street-related films like the Big Short and the Wolf of Wall Street. Insider trading specifically refers to trading on the Stock Market while privy to the private and confidential financial information that has yet to be made public. In other words, it is about selling or buying the stock of a publicly-traded company and benefiting because you have insider information that has yet to be made public.
Why You Need a White-Collar Crime Lawyer in Winston-Salem
White-collar crime is a specialized area of law that requires the experience of a knowledgeable attorney. Because these crimes often involve various parties, large organizations, government entities, or large amounts of money, an attorney is necessary to help people through the allegations and their defense.
Acquiring the services of a professional white-collar attorney can help you or others facing accusations by:
- Providing expertise and specialization. As mentioned above, these crimes are unique and have their own category in the books. To defend against white-collar accusations, an attorney needs to be experienced in defending these types of crimes.
- Discretion: If a company or small business is involved, you want an attorney that knows how to exhibit discretion and handle the case with utmost professionalism and expediency.
Facing White-Collar Crime Accusations? Contact a Trusted Lawyer
Facing white-collar crime accusations is serious. These crimes are more than likely federal crimes, which come with serious punishments and consequences. You want the best legal counsel available.
Have questions about white-collar crime defense? Contact the law offices of Freedman, Thompson, Witt, Ceberio, and Byrd.