The news recently has been inundated, perhaps more than ever, with stories of professionals committing high level crimes like embezzlement and fraud. These types of crimes do not cause direct injury in the way an armed robbery might, but they are still serious violations of the law.
Some people may know that these types of crimes are called white collar crimes. In most cases they are nonviolent and financially motivated. Most times they are committed by high level business professionals, politicians or government workers or other individuals with high social capital.
Anyone who is under investigation for a white collar crime should speak to a skilled attorney immediately. As we will see below, neither Georgia nor the federal government takes these crimes lightly and a strong defense cannot start soon enough.
Anyone intentionally using another person’s personal documents or information without legal permission is committing identity fraud. This can range from using a stolen debt card to make purchases to unlawfully drawing someone else’s social security. It is important to note that this does not apply to a person under 21 using a fake ID to purchase alcohol.
Anyone convicted of identity fraud will face up to 10 years in jail and up to $100,000 in fines, and potentially both.
Embezzlement occurs when an individual is trusted with an asset, such as money or property, and rather than using it the way they were instructed, convert it to their own possession. For example, an employer may create fake employees then give themselves the payroll that would go to the nonexistent worker. A cashier taking money from the till is also embezzlement.
Even misdemeanor embezzlement is punishable by up to a year in prison. A felony conviction comes with up to 10 years in prison.
A sudden influx of illegally gained money, from embezzlement for example, will send up red flags to the IRS and other financial institutions. Individuals often try to make the money look legitimate in several ways, though the strategies often boil down to trying to make the money’s paper trail hard to follow.
For example, a person may bring $10,000 of illegal money to a casino and convert it all to chips. They play for a little while, then convert it back to cash and claim it all as gambling winnings on their taxes. Money laundering is almost always a federal crime and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The federal government and Georgia state government both take white collar crimes extremely seriously. Anyone caught on the wrong side of the law will want to act immediately by contacting a professional attorney. Skilled representation will help to preserve their rights and their future.