When one considers the various types of crime, white collar crimes oftentimes seem less serious than many of the others. Even the moniker “white collar” can evoke thoughts that these crimes are somehow “softer” or less harmful than things like assault, drug trafficking, or robbery.
However, the courts would beg to differ. Just because white collar crimes are nonviolent does not mean they are not serious affronts that carry severe penalties. Most white collar crimes have harsh maximum prison sentences as well as major fines and civil penalties.
In fact, the misconception that white collar crimes are not as serious as others is actually a trap that can make some people feel like committing financially motivated nonviolent crimes may be worth the risk.
Fraud is the act most often associated with white collar crime, and it comes in numerous forms. The broad definition of fraud is to intentionally deceive a person or entity in order to obtain financial gain or personal benefits. In this blog, we will break that down further and detail some of the common types of fraud.
Forgery of a financial instrument This type of fraud refers to the criminal act of creating, signing, or altering an item used in financial transactions, such as forging a personal check or signing someone else’s name to a check.
Credit card fraud This is any type of fraudulence with regard to credit or debit cards, such as using someone else’s credit card without authorization in order to obtain goods without paying or obtaining funds from someone’s bank account. It is often associated with identity theft.
Identity theft This crime refers to the purposeful use of someone else’s identity in order to gain financial benefits. This is a very broad crime and could range from stealing identifying information like a social security number in order to gain access to bank funds to improperly accepting government benefits that were intended for someone else.
Securities fraud The crime of securities fraud refers to illicit deception in the realm of the stock or commodities market for personal gain. Some common examples include purposefully giving false or misleading information to investors, or encouraging risky investments for inexperienced investors who do not understand the risk.
Mail fraud If you utilize the postal service in any way in order to defraud someone for your benefit, you will have committed mail fraud.
Wire fraud This is similar to mail fraud, but when you utilize some sort of wired communications such as telephone, internet, or television in order to commit the crime rather than the postal service.
This is a brief list that only begins to cover the various types of fraud. If you have been charged with any form of fraud, you will need an experienced and aggressive defense lawyer to protect your rights. It is not uncommon for fraud charges to result from misunderstandings, and there are defenses available to protect you from severe penalties, so please call The Medlin Law Firm today.