Being charged with a white-collar crime can have life-altering consequences. Your case could be heard in a Missouri court or you could face charges on a federal level.
What is white-collar crime?
Originally, the term “white collar” was coined by Edwin Sutherland in his 1939 speech to the American Sociological Society. He defined it as a crime that an individual who holds a highly respectable societal position commits as they do their job. Nowadays, white-collar crime is described as a form of non-violent crime whose end goal is some sort of financial gain. Rather than the use of force or threats, this sort of crime involves deception.
The following are some of the offenses commonly prosecuted as white-collar crime:
- Credit card fraud. This involves using another individual’s credit card or personal information to conduct unauthorized transactions. The card could be stolen or counterfeited. In Missouri, credit card fraud is considered a class D felony if $500 or more is stolen.
- Bank fraud. This involves an intentional act of attempting to defraud or defrauding a financial institution or fraudulently acquiring property held by a financial organization.
- Embezzlement. This involves the wrongful use of money or property by an individual tasked with its care. An embezzlement charge must involve a person who had lawful possession of certain assets who then used the property for personal benefits and to the detriment of the owner.
- Tax fraud. This involves an individual altering their tax returns details to avoid paying the appropriate tax amount. Claiming wrongful deductions, failing to report income and omitting important details can also be classified as this offense.
- Identity theft. This involves obtaining someone’s personal information fraudulently and using the details for financial gain.
Consequences of white-collar crime
These offenses often have severe punishments, including long prison spells — especially when charged at the federal level. People convicted of bank fraud, for instance, could be fined up to $1,000,000 and sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.
Since every case is unique, several factors affect the severity of white-collar crime penalties, including:
- Value of money or property involved
- Nature and scope of the crime
- Prior criminal history
- Number of affected victims
Being charged with a white-collar crime can be very serious. A lawyer can assist in navigating this situation and help you to combat the charges.