White-collar crime is more than that seen on popular TV shows North Carolinians watch. While the crimes are nonviolent, they have serious federal consequences. The federal government takes these types of crimes seriously because they are not victimless.
The FBI states the term originated in 1939 and covers fraud crimes. Government and business professionals have scammed Americans out of millions of dollars since then. With every passing year, fraud crimes become more sophisticated.
Corporate fraud damages the U.S. economy and businesses causing the crimes to be at the top of the FBI’s list. The FBI focuses its efforts on accounting schemes such as tax violations, false entries, late trading, illicit transactions and insider trading. They work in conjunction with the SEC and the CFTC along with local law enforcement officials to apprehend individuals.
Cornell Law School estimates about $300 billion is lost annually due to white-collar criminals. The majority of criminals are individuals, but the government has convicted entire corporations in some cases. Even the IRS helps monitor and enforce regulations on white-collar crimes.
Those convicted of a white-collar crime can expect to pay their own legal fees, fines and prosecution fees. Not to mention, they can face imprisonment, home detention, restitution, community confinement, supervised release and forfeitures.
Top ranking corporate officers are under the Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine and can face prosecution for crimes done within their organizations even those they did not have prior knowledge of. The corporate officer is responsible for keeping his business from committing fraud of any kind. Beyond the federal level, enforcement of these laws can come from state officials.