The term White Collar Crime was reportedly coined in 1939 by Edwin Sutherland, a legendary sociologist, and criminologist. He used it to describe crimes committed by “persons of respectability” or those with high social status. Today, the FBI commonly uses the phrase to describe a crime committed by business and government professionals involving deception, trust violation, trickery, or fraud.
More specifically, white-collar crimes in federal court may include money laundering, healthcare fraud, investment fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, corporate fraud, wire fraud, mortgage fraud, and securities fraud. Let’s take a closer look at the top three and most common types of white-collar crime.
1. Money Laundering Is Considered a White Collar Crime
A form of organized criminal activity, money laundering involves moving illegal proceeds through legitimate channels. It can be done for many reasons, but the main motive is to hide the source of funds. For example, if you are involved with drug trafficking, you might launder your profits through real estate investments. If you are stealing from your employer, you might use stock market transactions to transfer the money out of the country. This makes it very difficult to trace back where the money came from.
Here are a few examples of some of the biggest money-laundering schemes in history:
- In the 1980s, drug cartels were laundering billions of dollars each year by buying U.S. companies and using their cash flow to pay off other businesses and individuals.
- During the 1990s, Colombian cocaine cartels laundered more than $7 billion per year.
- During the late 2000s, Mexican drug cartels laundered about $20 billion per year.
Money laundering is a serious offense because it not only helps criminals avoid detection but also allows them to continue committing other crimes.
2. Healthcare Fraud as a White Collar Crime
Healthcare fraud occurs when someone intentionally causes harm to others by submitting false claims for payment under Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health care program. These programs provide medical services to people who cannot afford private insurance. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA), healthcare fraud costs taxpayers over $68 billion annually.
Healthcare fraud includes:
- Billing for unnecessary procedures
- Prescribing drugs without a valid medical purpose
- Making fraudulent referrals between doctors and hospitals
- Making payments for medical services, supplies, treatment, or equipment you did not receive
- Falsifying certificates of medical necessity to receive payment
- Lastly, misrepresenting diagnoses or procedures to maximize payments
3. Investment Fraud
Investment fraud is a white collar crime and refers to the act of deceiving investors into believing that they will receive returns on investment. An investor could lose money due to a scammer’s deceitful actions. Common scams include Ponzi schemes, pump and dump schemes, and pyramid schemes.
In a Ponzi scheme, an individual creates a business plan to make money by paying returns to early investors. The returns come from new investors instead of revenue generated by the company itself. The scheme collapses once a payout occurs for all of the money invested.
A pyramid scheme is similar to a Ponzi scheme, except there is no central person running the business. Instead, participants invest money into the business and earn higher compensation levels as they recruit more members. When the scheme collapses, those at the bottom level often lose everything, while those at the top level walk away with millions.
Pump and Dump Schemes
This type of fraud occurs when an unscrupulous person buys shares of a publicly-traded company at low prices and then sells them at high prices after making up positive news about the company.
Kenney Legal Defense Is Your Go-To White Collar Crime Defense Law Firm!
Have you or your loved one been falsely accused of committing a white collar crime? If so, Kenney Legal Defense can help. Our attorneys have successfully defended clients against charges ranging from money laundering to tax evasion and anything in-between. We provide our clients with aggressive representation based on years of experience helping people just like you fight back.
Schedule a FREE 30-minute phone consultation with our criminal defense expert, and let us review your case today.