White collar crime is a blanket term for any offense involving trickery or deceit for the purpose of illicit financial gain. In Michigan and across the United States, scams and white collar crimes occur every day.
Some of the most common white collar crimes include tax evasion, money laundering and embezzlement. Although violence is almost never a part of white-collar crime, people can lose everything they own in these sophisticated financial offenses.
Tax evasion is exactly what it sounds like: the misrepresentation of an individual’s or a company’s income for the purpose of intentionally avoiding taxes. This also includes hiding money in foreign accounts or claiming undeserved deductions or exemptions.
Money laundering involves taking funds gained from illegal activity and funneling them through some sort of legitimate pipeline. This disguises the funds and makes them seem to authorities like legitimate income.
Embezzlement is probably the most common type of white collar crime. Embezzlement occurs when a person who legally controls funds for a business or city misuses them to his or her own benefit. Embezzlement ranges from falsifying time sheets to using a company credit card to go on vacation.
When private citizens or business owners suspect they are the victim of a white collar crime, they will most likely start investigating for themselves. They will pore over bank statements and other financial records looking for evidence. When they find it, they will then file an official complaint with the police, who will consider the evidence and, if warranted, make an arrest.
Anyone accused of white collar crimes is entitled to a trial and an adequate defense. The smartest thing someone accused of a financial crime can do is hire an attorney and politely refuse to answer any questions without an attorney present.