White collar crimes are financial crimes that can include embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, or other crimes involving misappropriation of funds, deception, or schemes. While white collar criminals are often publicized as CEOs, wealthy top-ranking officials, and other persons in a position of power, anyone can commit a “white collar” crime. In recent years, insurance fraud has topped the charts of instances of white collar crime, falling only behind tax evasion, and more people than ever are being charged with these serious criminal offenses.
What Makes White Collar Crime Different?
Though white collar crime differs significantly from other types of “street” crime in many ways, it has two truly distinguishing characteristics. First, white collar crime always involves deception and usually also involves money. Second, while most crimes are charged at the state level, many, if not most, white collar crimes are charged at the federal level. Federal crimes are substantially more serious in terms of possible jail sentence, fines, and the impact of a conviction on one’s personal and professional life.
Federal laws govern any actions that occur interstate, that is, between the states or not solely in one state. Importantly, nearly all telecommunication (internet or phone) falls under federal law. Since most of our daily correspondence is over the “wires” such as via phone, e-mail, or other digital communication, these crimes fall under federal authority. This is especially true for the financial crimes of embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, credit card theft, identity theft, forgery, and other crimes that are facilitated through the internet, accounting software, or via the telephone.
Why Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud is a broad category of white collar crime that may include healthcare fraud, driver’s insurance fraud, or governmental benefit fraud, such as defrauding Medicare, receiving unemployment or welfare you are not entitled to, or accepting other benefits you may not qualify for. While it is not necessarily easy to fake injuries, it is possible to reach a settlement with an insurance company that wants to avoid litigation in some circumstances, even without a valid legal claim.
Note, however, that individuals that falsify insurance documentation, accept settlement funds without basis, or that falsify documents (such as bills or doctor’s charts) can face extremely serious consequences; some may even face contempt of court if these representations were made during court proceedings.
With rapidly growing technology, surveillance cameras, audits, and other technological tools can help reduce some instances of crime overall. However, with technology also comes the availability of software to disguise wrongdoing, means to replace and destroy a paper trail, and the ability to falsify records. White collar crimes coupled with an explicit attempt to cover up a crime will inevitably lead to additional charges, and increasing the possibility of federal or more serious charges being filed against you.
Have You Been Charged with a White Collar Crime?
Fortunately, there are many valid legal defenses to white collar crimes at both the federal and state level. Attorney Vikas Bajaj is an experienced California white collar crimes defense attorney that defends those that have been accused of everything from minor state fraud charges to federal money laundering or embezzlement scheme charges. To learn more about how he can help defend you in a pending white collar criminal investigation, contact The Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC today.