Other Types of White Collar Crimes
The term white collar crime encompasses a wide variety of criminal acts that are committed in a business or professional setting to achieve financial gain. This article provides general information about a few of the more common types of white collar crime: conspiracy, embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering. If you would like more information about these or other white collar crimes, contact Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell in San Antonio, TX, today to schedule a consultation with a white collar criminal defense attorney.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States), it is a separate federal crime for anyone to conspire or agree with someone else to do something which, if actually carried out, would amount to another federal offense. Basically, a conspiracy is an agreement or a partnership to carry out a criminal act in which each member becomes the agent or partner of every other member.
In conspiracy cases, the prosecution need not prove that the conspirators actually succeeded in carrying out the illegal act. This is because the essence of a conspiracy offense is the making of the agreement itself, followed by the commission of any overt act. An overt act is any action, even one which may be entirely innocent by itself, but which is knowingly committed by a conspirator in an effort to carry out the conspiracy.
To establish a case for conspiracy, the prosecution must prove that: two or more persons came to a mutual understanding to try to accomplish an illegal plan; the person willfully joined such conspiracy; and one of the conspirators knowingly committed at least one overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy or in an effort to accomplish the conspiracy’s objective.
Embezzlement is the misappropriation of the property of another by a person who has lawful possession of the property. One of the most common forms of embezzlement is employee theft. To establish a case for embezzlement, the prosecution must typically show that there was a fiduciary relationship between the defendant and the party who lost the property; the property came into the defendant’s possession through that fiduciary relationship; the defendant fraudulently assumed ownership of the property; and the defendant intentionally misappropriated the property. The penalty for embezzlement is generally determined by the value of the property that is misappropriated.
Tax evasion (26 U.S.C. § 7201. Attempt to evade or defeat tax) is one of the more common types of tax crimes. Essentially, tax evasion is the intentional and illegal avoidance of paying mandatory taxes to the government.
There are several different types of tax evasion. First, individuals can evade income taxes by failing to file a tax return or making false statements, such as fake deductions or not reporting income on a return or writing off personal expenses as business expenses so that they do not have to pay taxes on them. Another form of tax evasion is an abusive trust scheme, which is a scheme in which one purports to transfer money into another’s possession, but actually does not do so. The “transfer” cancels the taxes on the individual’s income. A third type of tax evasion is when businesses misstate income or expenses. This can be done in several ways. First, with respect to payroll, employers may keep tax withholdings for themselves and pay employees in cash or file false payroll tax returns. Next, it is possible for retail stores to find ways to avoid sales tax, such as failing to report sales tax reimbursement collected from customers.
Money laundering refers to the criminal practice of filtering “dirty” money or illegally obtained funds through a series of transactions so that the funds are “cleaned” to appear as if they were proceeds from legitimate and legal activities. There are three distinct steps in money laundering. The first is called placement, in which the ill-gotten funds are moved or placed, through deposit, wire transfer, money order or other methods, into a financial institution such as a bank, brokerage house or insurance company. The next phase is layering, in which the proceeds of criminal activity are separated from their origin through the use of layers of complex financial transactions so that tracing the origin of the money is difficult. The third step is integration, which is the “cleaning” of the money by using additional transactions to create the appearance of legally obtained money by purchasing assets.
The United States has several regulations aimed at curbing money laundering, including the Bank Secrecy Act (12 U.S.C. § 1951 et seq.), Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, The Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1992, the Money Laundering Suppression Act of 1994 and the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act of 1998.
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The phrase “white collar crime” encompasses a number of different types of crimes that are typically financial, corporate or economic crimes carried out by sophisticated means. In addition to conspiracy, embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering, white collar crime also includes offenses such as mail fraud, securities fraud, identity theft, counterfeiting, kickbacks, public corruption and insurance fraud. If you have a question about any of these white collar crimes, contact Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell in San Antonio, TX, today to schedule a consultation with a white collar criminal defense lawyer.
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