What is White-Collar Crime?
White-collar crime is not an actual particular crime. The term dates back to the 1940s when the words ‘white collar’ and ‘blue collar’ were widely used to differentiate between clerical and manual workers. Today, white collar crime is often used to refer to non-violent, financially motivated crimes committed by government officials, individuals, or businesses.
White collar crimes involve intentionally defrauding a person or an institution for financial gain. However, some white-collar crimes are the result of honest mistakes such as filing errors, mixed-up documentation, and other similar circumstances. The consequences of these mistakes can be devastating.
In this article, we help you learn more about what white collar crime is, its potential penalties, and the different offenses covered under this umbrella term.
How Is White Collar Crime Defined in Georgia?
A white-collar crime refers to a type of non-violent crime that is usually motivated by financial gain. The defendant usually commits a white-collar crime to secure a personal advantage or to avoid losing funds or property. The Federal Bureau of Investigation succinctly sums it up as “cheating, lying, and stealing.”
Most white-collar crimes are characterized by the following:
– Unethical business practices
– A violation of trust
– Breach of fiduciary duty
What Are The Types of White-Collar Crimes?
White-collar crime doesn’t just refer to one particular crime. It encompasses a wide range of offenses committed by businesses, individuals, and government officials that may be charged under state or federal law.
Here are some of the most common types of white-collar crimes:
– Money Laundering: The Official Code of Georgia Annotated or O.C.G.A. § 7-1-912 requires financial institutions to strictly comply with the federal requirements for filing, record-keeping, and reporting. Money laundering happens when an individual or institution obtains funds illegally and tries to legitimize them through a series of transactions.
– Securities Fraud: O.C.G.A. § 10-5-51 defines securities fraud as the act of providing another person information about the value of securities to provide them an advantage when the latter is deciding to invest, purchase, or sell securities.
– Embezzlement: O.C.G.A. § 16-8-4 defines embezzlement or theft by conversion as the act of lawfully obtaining the property or funds of another person for an agreed upon purpose, but intentionally converting the funds for their own personal use.
– Identity Fraud: O.C.G.A. § 16-9-121 defines identity theft as the act of fraudulently and willfully using someone’s personal identifying information or documents without their consent.
– Tax Evasion: O.C.G.A. § 48-1-6 defines tax evasion as an attempt to intentionally defraud the state by filing false protests, reports, returns, or claims for a refund.
What Are the Penalties for White Collar Crimes in Georgia?
Although white-collar crimes are non-violent in nature, don’t be fooled into thinking that their consequences aren’t harsh. The state and the federal government thoroughly investigates and prosecutes charges of white-collar crimes. The penalties upon conviction are also severe.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, white-collar crime charges can be brought either as a misdemeanor or a felony. Here are some of the potential penalties for white-collar crimes:
– Money Laundering: This is often prosecuted as a federal offense if a bank or financial institution is involved. Those who are convicted of money laundering are typically sentenced to serve up to 20 years in prison.
– Securities Fraud: Those who are convicted of securities fraud are typically sentenced to serve 5 years in prison for each instance of fraud and are required to pay a fine depending on the value of the securities involved.
– Embezzlement: Embezzlement can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony. If it’s the former, the defendant is typically sentenced to serve up to 12 months in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $1,000. If it’s the latter, the defendant may serve up to 10 years in prison.
– Identity Fraud: Those who are convicted of identity fraud are typically sentenced to serve 1 to 10 years of jail time and are required to pay a fine of up to $100,000.
– Tax Evasion: Tax evasion may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, with up to 1 year in jail.
Facing Charges for White Collar Crime? Contact Us Today
If you need help with white-collar crime charges, speak with an experienced Georgia defense attorney as soon as possible. Any criminal charge can be devastating to your personal relationships, finances, reputation, and employment.
Our team at the Law Office of Andrew Schwartz is dedicated to aggressively protecting your rights and interests and ensuring the best possible outcome for your case. We have represented many clients facing white collar crime charges, and have successfully secured a dismissal or a reduction of their charges.
We do more than provide you with a knowledgeable Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer — we hold steadfast in defense of your rights as a citizen.
Reach out to us now and get your free consultation. We’re ready to fight for you.