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Common white collar crimes and associated penalties - I

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, white collar crime relates to the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. Some major characteristics of white collar crime, per the FBI, are deceit, concealment and violation of trust. It does not involve physical force or violence and the motive is related to obtaining money, property, services or personal/professional advantage.

Penalties for committing a white collar crime are based on the gravity of the actual crime. For example, some less-serious white collar crimes attract fines, home detention, community confinement and covering the cost of prosecution, while white collar crimes that are more serious attract penalties such as forfeitures, restitution, supervised release and even imprisonment. However, if a defendant admits to committing the crime and agrees to help the investigators, it is possible to reduce the sentence.

Some of the more common white collar crimes include insurance fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, money laundering and insider trading. In order to understand how the penalties stack up, one can look at the penalties associated with each one of these. This post will delve into the details of insurance fraud.

Insurance fraud can be split into two categories: soft fraud and hard fraud. In soft fraud, which is considered a misdemeanor, a person exaggerates the losses suffered and files an inflated claim. Penalties include fines, community service, probation and even imprisonment up to one year. In hard fraud, which is considered a felony, a person causes or fabricates a loss and then submits an insurance claim that is false. Penalties for these can attract jail time of up to 20 years, depending on the amount of money involved.

Penalties for insurance fraud are enough to bring about turmoil in the life of a person who has been accused of a white collar crime. Therefore, it is important for any accused to seek legal assistance at the earliest opportunity. A timely decision in this regard not only helps the accused protect his or her rights during prosecution but also provides an opportunity to find the most reasonable legal solution.

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