When people rank crimes based on how serious they are, violent offenses tend to top the list. People have a particularly dim view of criminal activity that leaves a victim injured or coping with a terrible loss of some sort.
When you compare wire fraud, embezzlement or other white-collar criminal offenses with murder or assault, those financial offenses may seem minimal. In fact, many times, people perceive them to be victimless crimes because the only party affected seems to be a business. If white-collar crimes are victimless offenses, then why do they carry such serious criminal consequences?
White-collar crimes affect everyone
When a worker embezzles tons of thousands of dollars from the company that employs them, their actions don’t just affect corporate profit margins. They may affect whether or not the company can afford to give cost-of-living raises to other staff members. Acts of wire fraud or mortgage fraud could similarly damage businesses, some of which may be very small companies.
Executives and owners of those businesses may take personal losses because of white-collar crimes. Employees, clients, customers and even vendors can all feel second-hand consequences caused by white-collar crimes that do not affect any specific person directly. Finally, on a macro scale, white-collar criminal offenses can have a negative impact on the economy. Large-scale Ponzi schemes, for example, could lead to millions of dollars in lost assets.
Don’t let prosecutors turn you into a scapegoat
All too often, people arrested for allegations of white-collar criminal offenses may not have known much about what actually occurred. Maybe you worked in accounting and simply performed transfers based on the verbal instructions provided by your supervisor. You never knew they were engaged in fraudulent activity, nor did you profit from it.
Those who do intentionally commit financial fraud and hope to get away with it often try to implicate someone else to avoid criminal responsibility for their actions. Your best chance of avoiding a conviction and moving on with your life may require a thorough review of the financial records allegedly tying you to criminal activity and an assertive defense in criminal court.
Understanding why white-collar crimes often lead to aggressive prosecution can help those worried about losing their freedom or their career because of accusations.