Federal crimes are violations against the United States Constitution, overruling state law. Most criminal trials are held in state court, but for a crime to reach federal court, it must be of federal interest.
Finance crimes or white-collar crimes are not violent. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not victimless. They can wipe out someone’s life savings, destroy a business, cost investors billions of dollars, or even erode the customers’ trust in institutions. A finance crime can include card fraud, Medicaid fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, embezzlement/ bankruptcy fraud, bribery, or forgery. According to an Okaloosa County Criminal Defence Attorney, some examples of white-collar federal crimes include:
Under 18 U.S.C. § 471, falsely making, altering, or counterfeiting any obligation and security that belongs to the United States is considered a federal crime. The securities and obligations covered under federal law include reserve notes, bonds, currency, and treasury notes. The law makes it a crime to:
- Make, forge, or pass counterfeit foreign currency with defrauding intention
- Hold, publish, pass, sell, or attempt counterfeit currency with defrauding intention
- Buy, receive, transfer, or deliver counterfeiting currency with the intent to pass it off as a genuine currency
- Possess digital images, imprints, or impressions to create counterfeit money or sell them for defraud
According to the FBI, corporate fraud is one of the most common white-collar crimes in the United States. Individuals commit such crimes within their legitimate occupations and don’t see themselves as criminals nor consider their activities criminal.
Money laundering refers to turning ‘dirty’ money ‘clean’ by making money from crimes that came from legitimate sources. This allows criminals to avoid taxes, and prosecution, increase profits through investment, accumulate wealth, or fund other criminal activities. Generally, those who engage in white-collar crimes derive their proceeds through terrorism, health care fraud, complex financial crimes, narcotics trafficking, or international and domestic public corruption.
Criminals use tools to launder money, including real estate, financial institutions, precious metals, virtual currency, or international trade.
Mortgage and Financial Institution Fraud
Financial institution fraud occurs when criminals target credit unions, banks, or other financial institutions. Most schemes include compromising customers’ personal information and accounts. Sometimes, fraud can be highly severe, causing the failure of a credit union or bank. Separately, mortgage fraud occurs when individuals lie to influence banks’ mortgage decisions or if a homeowner is the victim of fraud. There are two mortgage fraud areas: fraud for housing and fraud for profit.
Intellectual Property Theft and Piracy
Unfortunately, intellectual property theft costs American businesses billions every year. Such crimes involve robbing companies or people of their inventions, creative expressions, and ideas. Intellectual property theft can include everything from proprietary products to trade secrets, software, music, and movies.
IRS Violations and Tax Fraud
Tax fraud is more than just a simple mistake, as it’s an attempt to get out of IRS obligations. The key to tax fraud claims is that an individual accused of the crime has intentionally or willfully committed acts to avoid paying taxes. Some examples can include preparing a false return, failing to file an income tax return, using a false social security number, or falsifying documents. While the penalties for simple mistakes could seem severe, those that apply to IRS violations or tax fraud convictions are even more severe.
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