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Harsh Penalties Doled Out For White Collar Criminal Convictions

The term white collar crime refers to a variety of illegal actions that are carried out in the hope of reaping financial gains. Upon hearing this term, infamous names like Bernie Madoff and Jeffrey Skilling may come to mind. In reality, criminal charges related to illegal activities like tax evasion, money laundering, and identity theft often involve individuals who didn't know they were breaking the law, failed to realize the seriousness of their actions, or played a minor role in a bigger scheme or operation. In this post, we'll examine some of the more common types of white collar crimes.

A loathing of paying taxes is about as American as apple pie. Americans work hard for their money and no one wants to part with what often amounts to a sizeable percentage of their annual income. Consequently, some individual taxpayers may take matters into their own hands and fail to file a tax return or file a fraudulent tax return. In some cases, an individual may simply be following financial advice provided by an accountant or tax professional. Whatever the case may be, the Internal Revenue Service does not look kindly upon individuals who fail to pay taxes and may pursue criminal charges.

Be it gossip or some other tip to make our lives easier, we all love to get an inside scoop. This is often especially the case if that tip can save or make us money. When it comes to acts related to securities fraud, providing or acting on a financial tip could potentially land one behind bars. Additionally, investor fraud occurs when a business representative knowingly makes false statements with regard to the financial value or health of a company in an attempt to reap financial rewards.

Individuals who are facing criminal charges related to tax evasion or securities fraud would be wise to take such charges seriously. White collar crimes are often treated as felonies and therefore the penalties are harsh and may include time in prison, lengthy probation, and hefty fines and penalties. A criminal defense attorney can answer questions, provide advice, and help defend against criminal charges related to financial crimes.

Source: FindLaw.com, "White Collar Crime," 2014