In recent years, a number of white collar crimes have been reported across business niches worldwide. Typically, white collar crimes refer to crimes that are non-violent in nature. They relate to offenses where trust, concealment of information, and deceit are committed by businesses or individuals connected to them.
Individuals or businesses commit white collar crimes for one or more of the following reasons-
- Saving money from authorities that should be paid towards taxes, licenses, and permits.
- Getting some form of advantage to secure their personal or business interests.
- Gaining property or money by concealing truthful or factual information.
In this article, we are going to look at the essence and meaning of white collar crimes in businesses. Additionally, we are going to discuss five important things that you need to know about them.
White Collar Crimes in Businesses: What they are all about?
A simplistic understanding of white collar crimes can be financial fraud, money laundering, stock market scams, insider trading, embezzlement, and fraudulent payouts or compensation.
When it comes to white collar crimes, the key thing to note is that it is committed by high—ranking and respectable individuals or businesses. The motive is ‘money’ or ‘property’.
The term ‘white collar crimes’ was first coined in 1949 by Sociologist Edwin Sutherland. The term borrows from individuals who are qualified, educated and wear shirts, ties and suits to their workplace.
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Again, you would note that normal crimes that are engaged with acts of violence is not something that you would typically associate with such professionals.
With technology and digital growth characterizing modern businesses, white collar crimes have evolved in different ways. This has made it difficult for lawmakers and enforcers to do investigations and get to the bottom of these crimes. If you need to know more about white collar crimes, check this resource.
List of 5 Important Things you need to know about White Collar Crimes
1. It is a Serious Criminal Offense
White collar crimes in businesses should not be taken lightly. They can result in jail time, imprisonment, financial penalties and more. Most importantly, individuals and businesses that are accused of such crimes suffer from a loss of credibility and reputation. Other companies might not hire someone who has been charged in white collar crimes.
2. Lawyering up is the best approach
White collar crimes can get technically complex. There are numerous things that you will be asked to do and present. In such instances, hiring a legal expert that specializes in such areas is the best way forward. Speak to a lawyer or a law firm that already has experience in this field. This will ensure you are well represented and can save yourself from harmful charges.
3. Scapegoating takes place a lot
A lot of investigations have revealed that even though business owners and ranking executives commit such crimes, it is the lower-level employees that are made scapegoats. In other words, the onus of the crime is placed on other employees who are not able to defend themselves in such situations. This is why hiring a good lawyer that can show cause is essential here.
4. Cybercrimes and Data Breaches classify as white collar crimes
In the last few years, a lot of white collar crimes that have been reported have been around cybercrimes and data security. Handing over company data or R&D material to a competitor is classified as white collar crime. Given the digital advancements in all business niches, protecting data is tantamount to a company professional. You can be reported for such offenses.
5. Criminal Tax Fraud Evasion is a Common Concern
Many legal experts that practice white collar crimes often state that tax issues and evasion come under the purview of white collar crimes. It can result in anything from fraudulent filings to maintaining offshore accounts that are helping in tax evasion in the country where you are operating a business or are a resident. This is a serious criminal liability.
The Final Word
Many people think that crimes like arson, vandalism, murder, extortion and kidnapping are what constitute criminal activities. However, even without doing any of these, you can be someone who is actively engaging and pursuing white collar crimes. Breach of contracts, agreements, and legal paperwork can also make you guilty of such crimes. If you have been accused of any such white collar crimes, your best way forward would be to hire a lawyer or law firm that can help you in such cases.