When you think about white collar crime and who commits it, what immediately comes to mind? If you’re like a lot of people, you probably thought of a corporate executive, politician, or another member of the upper crust of society.
This association is likely built upon major stories like the collapse of Enron, the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme, and the more recent conviction of Martin Shkreli for securities fraud. When we hear about white collar crimes like these, they are almost always perpetrated by incredibly wealthy people who tried to mass an even greater fortune through skullduggery.
The thing is, one doesn’t have to be wealthy to commit white collar crime. If you thought you had to have a lot of wealth to even get involved in such a situation, you thought wrong! As it turns out, white collar crime is pretty common and almost everyone has the potential to do it.
Examples of White Collar Crime
Committing white collar crime is as easy as willfully putting incorrect information on your tax return. If you inaccurately report your income to the IRS with the intent to withhold tax, that’s tax fraud – a white collar crime.
We all dislike telemarketers, but we especially dislike phone scammers. These people either call or text others in an attempt to extort money from them. Not too long ago, there was a rash of phone calls targeting seniors where fraudsters pretended to be grandchildren in danger and in need of money. Alarmed seniors would wire money or purchase gift card codes for the scammers, hoping to help their loved ones.
These were all instances of wire fraud, which is any use of telecommunications (phone, texting, Internet, etc.) to defraud someone else – and yes, it’s a white collar crime, too.
Were You Charged with a Crime?
As you can see, anyone can be charged with a white collar crime if they are believed to be responsible for one. One doesn’t need to be wealthy to become a suspect, and wealth certainly doesn’t shield an offender from liability.
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