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What actions are classified as white collar crimes?

Accusations of fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and embezzlement are prevalent nationwide, including here in South Carolina. Charges of white collar crimes typically involve claims of financial gain achieved through deceit. Fraud can be committed in a number of different ways, one of which is securities fraud. It usually involves securities law violations, such as deceiving investors in stocks and commodity transactions based on false information, frequently resulting in losses for the investors. 

Other common types of fraud accusations include filing false insurance claims and so called Ponzi schemes, in which unsuspecting investors are defrauded by taking their money and using it to pay earlier investors rather that investing it and paying them from profits earned. Money laundering charges typically involve allegations of filtering illegally obtained money through a series of complicated transactions to create the appearance of money originating from a legitimate source. When false information on tax returns is suspected, or the illegal transfer of properties to avoid tax obligations, accusations of tax evasion may follow. Further, there are other ways in which tax evasion charges may apply.

Embezzlement can also take several forms, one of which involves self-enrichment of an employee by taking funds belonging to his or her employer. It can also involve circumstances where money placed in trust to another is taken by that individual. Investment advisors and legal entities are sometimes accused of using their clients' trust funds for personal enrichment.

Being accused of white collar crimes does not constitute a conviction. Accusations are not proof, and no conviction can occur without proof that meets the strict requirements of our criminal justice system, whether in South Carolina or at the federal level. A lawyer who is experienced in defending white collar crime charges can provide valuable guidance and assistance in confronting the accusations and pursuing a favorable result.

Source: FindLaw, "White Collar Crime", Accessed on Dec. 25, 2015

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