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White Collar Crimes

Atlanta, Georgia White-Collar Crime Attorney

A white-collar crime is any non-violent crime committed for the purposes of financial gain. The term applies to a wide number of criminal offenses, but all of them typically involve deceit and are motivated by the need to gain or avoid losing money or to secure a business advantage. Although no one is physically hurt by white collar crime, the penalties for these crimes can still be steep.

Common Types of White-Collar Crime Securities Fraud

Securities fraud, also known as investment fraud, is when someone makes a false statement about a company or its stock, leading others to make decisions based on this false information. Securities fraud can take many forms. This can include:

  • Insider Trading: This is when someone with information about a company's financial status uses that knowledge to buy or sell stock before that financial information is publicly available. This is illegal because it gives them an unfair advantage over the rest of the public.
  • Ponzi Schemes: A type of securities fraud where people are deceived into investing money towards a nonexistent cause, with the promise of a significant financial return. A Ponzi scheme doesn't actually earn money - all of it comes from the investors.
  • Pump and Dump: A form of internet fraud, this is when someone artificially "pumps" the value of their owned stock through false and misleading statements in order to "dump" overvalued shares onto unsuspecting investors, causing them to lose money.

Although securities fraud is punishable under state and federal law, it is most often considered a federal crime, with a sentence of imprisonment for five years per each instance of securities fraud and a fine depending on the value of the stock involved. A person charged with securities fraud might also find themselves facing civil suits from shareholders or other people negatively affected.

Tax Evasion

Tax evasion occurs when someone attempts to avoid paying taxes they owe. Methods of tax evasion can range from falsely reporting one's income, committing identity theft, or providing false information on forms. It is worth noting that tax evasion is not always intentional. Many people charged with false income reporting underreport or misrepresent their own earnings entirely by mistake. This is especially likely when tips or gambling earnings are involved. Nevertheless, even an honest mistake can lead to accusations of tax evasion by the IRS.

Tax evasion can be considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year of jail time, a fine, and payment of accumulated taxes owed. However, if the offense is considered serious enough, it can be elevated to a felony or even tried in the federal courts.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is when someone is trusted to handle someone else's money or property, takes it for their own use by exploiting that relationship, and has no intention of returning what they have taken. Embezzlement is most often carried out in employee/employer situations, where the employee takes advantage of the authority their employer gives them over funds. However, embezzlement can happen in any situation where someone is trusted to watch over someone else's property.

There are multiple forms that embezzlement can take. This includes pocketing money from a cash register, using the company checkbook to create fraudulent checks, falsifying overtime records, tampering with the company payroll, misappropriating funds for personal use, or taking kickbacks.

Embezzlement can be a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor charge can mean a sentence of up to twelve months in prison and a fine of $1,000.00, while a felony charge is punishable by a minimum of one year and up to 10 years in prison.

Money Laundering

Money laundering occurs when someone filters "dirty" money, or money obtained through criminal matters, through a series of transactions with the intent of making it appear legitimately earned, or "clean". This allows the person laundering money to deposit large amounts of illegally obtained funds in the bank without drawing any attention their way. Once this is done, the seemingly legally obtained money can be withdrawn and used for whatever purpose the money launderer sees fit.

There are multiple ways to launder money, ranging from simple to complex. This can include using a legitimate cash-based business owned by a criminal organization, investing in expensive goods that can be easily moved elsewhere, breaking up the illegally obtained funds and spreading them over different accounts, or counterfeiting.

The rise of electronic banking and online payment services has led to the rise of online money laundering. Technology makes it easy for people to electronically launder money undetected, and online cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is more difficult to track. Anti-money laundering laws have been slow to catch up to this form of crime, since they were written to address money passing through traditional banking institutions.

Money laundering is considered a serious offense. If convicted, you could be facing up to ten years in prison, paying sizable fines, and paying restitution to the victims. If you are convicted under federal law, you may also be charged with a violation of Georgia's RICO act.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help

White collar crimes are frequently complex in nature and, depending on the circumstances, can even lead to government investigations. Their complexity makes accusations of white-collar crime difficult to defend against, and the penalties for a conviction can be immense.

If you or someone you love is facing a white-collar criminal charge, now is not the time to go it alone. You will need an attorney with years of experience representing clients like you on your side. Contact our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys at (770)-594-1777 for a free consultation and find out how we can help you with your criminal case.

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