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What exactly is white collar crime?

When we think of white collar crime, we usually picture executives from a large corporation wearing tailored suits while they're escorted out of the building in handcuffs. While that can often be true, white collar crimee can include any crime that uses deceit to achieve a financial gain. Essentially, the term white collar crime is used to differentiate from common theft or robbery.

Here are some of the most common types of white collar crime:

  • Tax evasion. Uncle Sam doesn't appreciate businesses and individuals who use tactics to get out of paying him. Tax evasion could be anything from transferring assets illegally to not being truthful on a tax return.
  • Embezzlement. Embezzlement means taking money that belongs to an employer or someone who has entrusted it to you. This could be a bookkeeper pilfering small amounts from company accounts or an investor using his client's funds improperly.
  • Fraud. Fraud is a broad category of crimes that can include insurance fraud, insider trading, mortgage fraud and more.
  • Money laundering. Money laundering is the act of "washing" illegally obtained money by running it through legitimate transactions. This series of transactions can make the money usable again and very difficult to trace.

The tough part about white collar crime is, unlike armed robbery or blatant theft, sometimes the perpetrators aren't even aware they are committing a crime. That is, until they get a knock at the door from the authorities. If that knock has come for you, you may want to consider building a defense by speaking with an attorney who specializes in white collar crime.

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