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White Collar Crimes

Tim Anderson Law

What is a White Collar Crime

The term “white collar crime” generally refers to non-violent crimes of deception that are motivated by profit. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “white-collar offenses” are “non-violent illegal activities which principally involve traditional notions of deceit, deception, concealment, manipulation, breach of trust, subterfuge or illegal circumvention.” Some commonly charged “white collar” crimes include:

Bank Fraud

Bank fraud or financial institution fraud generally refers to a transaction in which a bank is deceived in order to obtain money or property. To prove bank fraud, the government must establish beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the defendant knowingly, executed or attempted to execute, a scheme or artifice, to either (a) defraud, or (b) through false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, obtain the monies or other property of, a financial institution; (2) that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud the bank or financial institution; and (3) that the bank or financial institution was then insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or chartered by the United States. Click here to learn more.

Health Care Fraud

Health Care fraud covers a variety of frauds in the health care field. Some of the most prevalent health care fraud schemes include: billing for services not rendered, up-coding of services (i.e., billing for more expensive service than the one actually provided), up-coding of items (e.g., billing for a motorized wheelchair when only a manually propelled chair was provided), duplicate claims for a single service, unbundling (i.e., submitting bills in a fragmented fashion in order to maximize the reimbursement for various tests or procedures that are to be billed together at a reduced cost); excessive services (services in excess of the patient’s actual needs); medically unnecessary services (services not justified by the patient’s medical condition) and kickbacks. The FBI has recently stated that health care fraud investigations are one of the highest priority areas of investigation in its White Collar Crime Program, ranking behind only Public Corruption and Corporate Fraud.

Insurance Fraud

The U.S. insurance industry consists of thousands of companies and collects nearly $1 trillion in premiums each year. According to the FBI’s Financial Crimes Report (FY 2007), the FBI is focusing a majority of its resources relating to insurance fraud on the following areas: (1) Arson Fraud Related to the Mortgage Industry Credit Crisis; (2) Insurance-Related Corporate Fraud, and Premium Diversion/Unauthorized Entities (e.g., insurance agents and brokers pocketing policyholder premiums); (3) Viatical Settlement Fraud (e.g., making misrepresentations on insurance policy applications to hide the fact that the party applying for a policy has already been diagnosed with a terminal condition); and (4) Workers Compensation Fraud (e.g., entities, which purport to provide workers compensation insurance, misappropriate funds without providing insurance).

Corporate Fraud

Corporate fraud typically arises in three broad areas: (1) falsification of financial information (e.g., false accounting entries, bogus trades designed to inflate profit or hide losses, and transactions designed to evade regulatory oversight); (2) self-dealing by corporate executives (e.g., kickbacks, manipulation of stock options, and use of corporate property for personal gain); (3) obstruction of justice (designed to conceal criminal conduct).

Securities Fraud

The most common types of Securities and Commodities Fraud include: (1) Market Manipulation(e.g., artificially inflating the price of stocks so that co-conspirators can sell their shares at a profit); (2) High Yield Investment Fraud (offers of low or no risk investments that guarantee unusually high rates of return (e.g., Ponzi Schemes — using money collected from new investors, rather than profits from an underlying business venture, to make lulling payments of high rates of return promised to earlier investors; and, Pyramid Schemes – where victims are induced to recruit further victims through the payment of recruitment commissions); (3) Advanced Fee Schemes (persuading investors to advance relatively small sums of money in order to be able to participate in a lucrative investment opportunity); (4) Hedge Fund Fraud(e.g., overstatement of fund assets, misappropriation of assets, miscalculation of fund manager performance fees, trading on insider information, market timing, and late trading); (5) Commodities Fraud (e.g., investments in precious metals or commodities sold based on fraudulent sales pitches claiming high rates of return); (6) Foreign Exchange Fraud (e.g., foreign currency trading firms that use false claims to induce investment in the spot foreign currency market); and (7) Broker Embezzlement (e.g., forging investor checks or transferring funds or securities without authorization); (7) Late-Day Trading (i.e., the illicit purchase and sale of securities after regular market hours).

What should I do if I am accused of or charged with a white collar crime?

If you have been charged with a white collar crime or you are being investigated for one, speak to a knowledgeable defense lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your rights, your defense, and the legal system. Contacting an attorney early on is critical. Early preparation by an experienced defense lawyer can increase your chances of a favorable outcome, including the possibility of you not being charged or of charges being dismissed. I represent clients charged with or under investigation for federal and state charges, and have extensive experience handling white collar cases.